Monday, March 31, 2008

we need them now more than ever!!!!

found this at:

Sir Hans Sloane Bespoke Chocolates
Posted Mar 30th 2008 3:02PM by Rigel Gregg
Filed under: Dining, Services

"The Bespoke Chocolates service from Sir Hans Sloane is about so much more than just customizing a box of chocolates by ordering how many you want each of different available flavors -- they actually mix and make personalized chocolates just for you. As in no two patrons have the same formula.

My mouth is watering already.

The process starts with a series of interviews, followed by a series of tastings, and finally ending in the delivery of 60 chocolates made by master chocolatier Bill McCarrick in a handmade rosewood-and-maple inlaid box. Also included is a copy of the chocolate tasting consultations and a backup box of an additional 60 chocolates. YUM. $2400"


i don't think i could sell my CAR for that much money!

i loves my chocolate, but i'd rather spend money on more important things.
i truly need to increase my cussing vocab.

thank you, mb! ; )
The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating
trying something out here...


thank you for your patience
What is freedom? Freedom is the right to choose: the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice.

by Archibald MacLeish

WHY? well i could write a novel length post
but it really just comes down to it's the
right and just thing.

we are all equal. we should all have the same rights.
if i could get married anyone should be able to.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

been a long, long day.
we have 3 scholarship winners for the one award and now we must wait for the essays
from the 2nd. award which is open to a different group of applicants.

i'm tired and i'm thinking of just getting under the covers and channel surfing.
might just lull me to sleep later.

might not.
scholarship meeting later today.
all sorts of things to do.

back later.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

it's been a very upsetting day, so for a little relief
i thought i'd post something from one of my all time favorite films.

truly the masterpiece of bad films.
i can never watch this too many times.

well if this is true
and it looks as if it is.
got it over at :

then it shows just WHY we need to protect freedom of (any) religion!

Explicit religious discrimination by Christian Right group that controls the National Day of Prayer

"Task Force" linked to Focus on the Family excludes all but fundamentalist Christian clergy
by, March 27, 2008

The National Day of Prayer Task Force, which has been controlled for the past several years by Focus on the Family and allied right-wing Christian evangelical groups, stages thousands of prayer ceremonies around the United States on the first Thursday in May -- May 1st this year -- from which it excludes clergy and leaders representing Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, and even moderate evangelical Christians. Live news headlines
about the National Day of Prayer
"Prayer! America's Strength and Shield": Millions will gather to ... - Church Executive Magazine
Mar 25, 2008"Prayer! America's Strength and Shield": Millions will gather to ...Church Executive Magazine, AZ - Mar 25, 2008On Thursday, ...
Volunteers needed to help organize events for National Day of Prayer - Houston Chronicle
Plano changes ruling on City Hall prayer meeting - Dallas Morning News
National Day Of Prayer - Cameron County Endeavor
Plano, TX, prevents pastor from using council chambers on National ... - Church Executive Magazine
Letters from Plano, Richardson, Waxahachie - Dallas Morning News
"Prayer! America's Strength and Shield": Millions will gather to ... - Church Executive Magazine
National Day of Prayer is coming up - Elmira Star-Gazette
Religion digest - Chambersburg Public Opinion

A Task Force application document that coordinators of the day must sign states: "I commit that NDP [National Day of Prayer] activities I serve with will be conducted solely by Christians while those with differing beliefs are welcome to attend." (Emphasis added).

The Task Force calls itself "official" on its website (see screenshot below) and it instructs its coordinators to make their events appear to be official government functions, thus undermining the First Amendment's injunction against government-established religion.

In a document outlining the duties of its various levels of coordinators, the Task Force says that a duty of the state-level coordinator is to "[c]oordinate an observance at the State Capitol or in the [state capital] city that makes a public statement to the state government officials by being physically at the Capitol building and/or having them participate in the observance."

Statement of faith required
The local Task Force coordinators themselves, must sign a Christian statement of faith. According to the Task Force's coordinators website, coordinators must include in their application a "statement of faith, confirming your commitment to Christ." The text of the statement is as follows:

I believe that the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of The Living God. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only One by which I can obtain salvation and have an ongoing relationship with God. I believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, his virgin birth, his sinless life, his miracles, the atoning work of his shed blood, his resurrection and ascension, his intercession and his coming return to power and glory. I believe that those who follow Jesus are family and there should be unity among all who claim his name. I agree that these statements are true in my life.
In an apparent effort to blunt the impact of its discriminatory operation, the Task Force uses the term "Judeo-Christian" a couple of times on the "about" page of its website. But it never welcomes Jews, saying, in its Official Policy Statement on Participation of "Non-Judeo-Christian" groups in the National Day of Prayer (emphasis added):

The National Day of Prayer Task Force was a creation of the National Prayer Committee for the expressed purpose of organizing and promoting prayer observances conforming to a Judeo-Christian system of values. People with other theological and philosophical views are, of course, free to organize and participate in activities that are consistent with their own beliefs. This diversity is what Congress intended when it designated the Day of Prayer, not that every faith and creed would be homogenized, but that all who sought to pray for this nation would be encouraged to do so in any way deemed appropriate. It is that broad invitation to the American people that led, in our case, to the creation of the Task Force and the Judeo-Christian principles on which it is based.
Elsewhere on its "official" site (see screenshot below this report), the Task Force tosses aside the "Judeo" fig leaf. The Christian orientation of the organization is more explicit on its fundraising page, where it requests donations to "bring the name of Christ out from behind church walls and into the public frontlines of all 50 states" and to "[k]eep our Christian faith and religious freedom in the public square."

On another page, describing the day, the organization states, "Christian leaders address the current year's theme and other areas of interest (i.e. education, youth, families, etc.)."

Proclamations from every governor
President Harry Truman established the National Day of Prayer in the context of the Cold War. In the 1990s it was seized upon by the religious right. Last year, the Task Force bragged that it had obtained a proclamation of the day from every single governor. (Please see our report on last year's National Day of Prayer here.) This year, Republicans in Congress introduced legislation to establish the first week in May as "American Religious History Week" to recognize what they claim to be the "religious foundation" of the United States.

The current chair of the Task Force, Shirley Dobson, is the wife of Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson. According to the Task Force website, the group "is housed in the Focus on the Family headquarters for convenience, so long as Mrs. Dobson remains the Chairman." In an apparent effort to distance the groups from each other, the website says that the business affairs of the two groups are separate, "and Focus on the Family is compensated for services rendered."

Last year the Dobsons observed the National Day of Prayer at the White House with President Bush.

JewsOnFirst is encouraging readers to help expose the discriminatory behavior of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. To get involved, please write us at or phone us at 310-553-1146.
Man Listening To Disc

by Billy Collins

This is not bad --
ambling along 44th Street
with Sonny Rollins for company,
his music flowing through the soft calipers
of these earphones,

as if he were right beside me
on this clear day in March,
the pavement sparkling with sunlight,
pigeons fluttering off the curb,
nodding over a profusion of bread crumbs.

In fact, I would say
my delight at being suffused
with phrases from his saxophone --
some like honey, some like vinegar --
is surpassed only by my gratitude

to Tommy Potter for taking the time
to join us on this breezy afternoon
with his most unwieldy bass
and to the esteemed Arthur Taylor
who is somehow managing to navigate

this crowd with his cumbersome drums.
And I bow deeply to Thelonious Monk
for figuring out a way
to motorize -- or whatever -- his huge piano
so he could be with us today.

This music is loud yet so confidential.
I cannot help feeling even more
like the center of the universe
than usual as I walk along to a rapid
little version of "The Way You Look Tonight,"

and all I can say to my fellow pedestrians,
to the woman in the white sweater,
the man in the tan raincoat and the heavy glasses,
who mistake themselves for the center of the universe --
all I can say is watch your step,

because the five of us, instruments and all,
are about to angle over
to the south side of the street
and then, in our own tightly knit way,
turn the corner at Sixth Avenue.

And if any of you are curious
about where this aggregation,
this whole battery-powered crew,
is headed, let us just say
that the real center of the universe,

the only true point of view,
is full of hope that he,
the hub of the cosmos
with his hair blown sideways,
will eventually make it all the way downtown
we NEED hope.
we need a sense of ourselves again.
sunshine. that is a welcome thing!

Friday, March 28, 2008

an anti-war march...

March 29, March and Rally Information
Written by David Meieran
Mar 13, 2008 at 07:16 PM

12:30pm Music at the Software Engineering Institute

Phat Mandee
Mike Stout

1:00pm Rally at the Software Engineering Institute

Emcee: Francine Porter, Thomas Merton Center Antiwar Committee & CodePink
Rev. Denise Mason, Community of Reconciliation Church
Robin Alexander, United Elecctrical Radio and Mechanical Workers of America
Mel Packer, Antiwar Committee
David Meieran, Demilitarize Pittsburgh & Antiwar Committee
Vanessa Wills, Pittsburgh Students Against War & Lucy Story, Buddhism for World Peace
1:30pm March through Oakland

5th Ave. to McKee St. to Forbes Ave. to Schenley Dr. to Flagstaff Hill. SEE MARCH MAP ROUTE
Please keep the march safe for everyone - don’t fight with counter-protesters.

2:30pm Memorial Service Flagstaff Hill

Emcee: Molly Rush. Thomas Merton Center Co-Founder and Board Member

Music: Raging Grannies
Rev. Kyoki Roberts, Zen Buddhist Temple

Rev. David Herndon, 1st Unitarian Universalist Church
Sr. Barb Finch, Sisters of Saint Joseph
Rev. Dr. Randall Bush, East Liberty Presbyterian Church
Rev. John Bender, Pittsburgh Mennonite Church
3:10pm Closing Rally at Flagstaff Hill
Emcee: Francine Porter
Helen Gerhardt, Iraq Vet (Army National Guard)
Art Young, Black Voices for Peace
Debbie Whitfield, Military Families Speak Out & Gold Star Families Speak Out
Rosa DeFerrari, High School Students Against the War


mr. coffee

yes, my trusty friend, my mr. coffee machine
died this morning. (sob)

thank the fates above that it made it's last pot
even as it gasped it's last glurrgle!

now, i can and have, done without a lot over the course
of my life but i can't, i WON'T
do without my coffee!

so while i was out getting energy efficient curly light bulbs
for my mom, TAH DAH, a new coffee pot magically
appeared in the shopping cart.

who am i to turn down a miracle???? ; )

the Pgh Bloggers Guild have deemed Monday, March 31, 2008 as a day for blogging about the proposed "Marriage Protection" Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution.

i'm blogging!

why? well, i'll tell you a little story about why.
back when i was in catholic grade school i was pretty well clueless
about a lot of subjects including gay. in fact, when kids at school said things about the subject(and that wasn't often. keep in mind i'm 56)i truly thought they had made up the whole thing!
clueless, i told you!

anyway, when i was 16 i met and got to know some people that were(and still are, i'm sure)gay. guess what?
gays and lesbians are just like everyone else. yep!
some nice, some not, some funny, some serious and on and on.


even if i had NEVER EVER met a gay person in my life
i would still believe and argue for them to have the exact same rights as everyone else.


because they and we and everyone ARE everyone else.

it's the right thing to do.
friday- joke day!!!!!

A monster and a zombie went into a funeral home. 'I'd like to order a coffin for a friend of mine who has just died,' said the monster.
'Certainly ma'am,' said the undertaker, 'but there was really no need to bring her with you.'

Thursday, March 27, 2008

still raining...

(only neruda could write of onions and make it a sensual experience to read )

Ode To The Onion

by Pablo Neruda

luminous flask,
your beauty formed
petal by petal,
crystal scales expanded you
and in the secrecy of the dark earth
your belly grew round with dew.
Under the earth
the miracle
and when your clumsy
green stem appeared,
and your leaves were born
like swords
in the garden,
the earth heaped up her power
showing your naked transparency,
and as the remote sea
in lifting the breasts of Aphrodite
duplicating the magnolia,
so did the earth
make you,
clear as a planet
and destined
to shine,
constant constellation,
round rose of water,
the table
of the poor.

You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are
more beautiful than a bird
of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
unmoving dance
of the snowy anemone

and the fragrance of the earth lives
in your crystalline nature.
I wish you all this kind of love...

How To Dance In The Rain

It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb.. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him.
I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.

On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife.

I inquired as to her health. He told me that sh e had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease. As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.

I was surprised, and asked him, 'And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?'

He smiled as he patted my hand and said, 'She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is.'

I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, 'That is the kind of love I want in my life.'

True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.

With all the jokes and fun that is in e-mails, sometimes there is one that comes along that has an important message. This one I thought I could share with you.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

I hope you share this with someone you care about. I just did.
'Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.'

this made my morning. so, thought i'd share.
i've known people like this. i was lucky to have had them cross my path for a moment or two.
gee, big surprise, rain!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

an e-mail i replied to.
thought you might be interested or wanna play along.

50 things about me...

1. Do you like blue cheese? no

2. Have you ever done heroin? no

Are you on crack? no (CHOCOLATE, YES )

3. Do you own a gun? depends

4. What flavor do you add to your drink at sonic? Haven't tried them yet

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? yes

6. What do you think of hot dogs? don't eat them anymore

7. Favorite Christmas movie? a christmas story

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coffee

9. Can you do push ups? you are joking aren't you???

10. Age ? emotional or actual???

11. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? don't really have a favorite (yet, there's ALWAYS HOPE!)

12. Favorite hobby? CEMENT ART

13. Favorite Actor? ANTHONY HOPKINS

14. Do you have A.D.D.? No. (WAIT, OH LOOK, A KITTY...!)

15. What's one trait you hate about yourself? PHOBIC DRIVER. I HATES IT, HATES IT I TELLS YA!

16. Middle name? ANN

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?



18. Name 3 things you bought yesterday/today:




19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?




21. Current hate right now? PRIMARY COVERAGE!

22. Favorite place to be? NO WHERE REALLY

23. How did you bring in the New Year? AT THE OWL'S HOOTY HOOT!

24. Where would you like to go? INTO THE WOODS WITH SOME BROWN CHICKENS

25. Name three people who will complete this?

26. Do you own slippers? YES

27. What shirt are you wearing? PINK SWEAT SHIRT(YES, LAR, PINK)

28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I HAVE, I SLIDE, NO FUN!

29. Can you whistle? I CALL IT THAT. OTHER'S MIGHT NOT

30. Favorite color? BLACK

31. Would you be a pirate? no.

32. What songs do you sing in the shower? None

33. Favorite girl's name? DEANA

34. Favorite boy's name? MICHAEL

35. What is in your pocket right now? NO POCKETS

36. Last thing that made you laugh? OH, WOULDN'T YOU LIKE TO KNOW...

; )


38. Worst injury you've ever had? BAD PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION

39. Do you love where you live? PRETTY MUCH. NO CHICKENS THO!

40. How many TVs do you have in your house? 3, AND A SMALL B&W FROM 35 YEARS AGO(STILL WORKS!)

41. Who is your loudest friend ? HEATHER

42. How many dogs do you have? NONE (THAT SUCKS!!!)

43. Does someone have a crush on you? DOUBTFUL

44. What is your favorite book(s)? ANYTHING BY NERUDA OR BUKOWSKI

45. Where were you born? Pittsburgh, PA

46. What is your favorite candy? chocolate

47. Favorite Sports Team? steelers

48. What song do you want played at your funeral? IN MY LIFE BY THE BEATLES (AS I'M SCATTERED AROUND YOU CAN HUM IT)

49. What were you doing 12 AM last night? THINKING

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? I'M COLD( i'm also not telling!)!

seven thousand eight hundred and sixty two

7,862 from may of 07 til today!

yep. that's how many visits my little bloggy has had
since i started to have a site meter.(i have 2 different ones now)
i am clueless as to how many before then.
i am clueless a lot but that's another tale!

i never really checked the total before.
not too shabby( i think )for an odd little poetry + me(delightfully mad tho i am)blog!

thanks to everyone that came by, accidentally or on purpose and for those of you
that stayed. i've met some truly unique and terrific people that have given me as much if not more than i gave them.

A Fairy Tale

by Amy Lowell

On winter nights beside the nursery fire
We read the fairy tale, while glowing coals
Builded its pictures. There before our eyes
We saw the vaulted hall of traceried stone
Uprear itself, the distant ceiling hung
With pendent stalactites like frozen vines;
And all along the walls at intervals,
Curled upwards into pillars, roses climbed,
And ramped and were confined, and clustered leaves
Divided where there peered a laughing face.
The foliage seemed to rustle in the wind,
A silent murmur, carved in still, gray stone.
High pointed windows pierced the southern wall
Whence proud escutcheons flung prismatic fires
To stain the tessellated marble floor
With pools of red, and quivering green, and blue;
And in the shade beyond the further door,
Its sober squares of black and white were hid
Beneath a restless, shuffling, wide-eyed mob
Of lackeys and retainers come to view
The Christening.
A sudden blare of trumpets, and the throng
About the entrance parted as the guests
Filed singly in with rare and precious gifts.
Our eager fancies noted all they brought,
The glorious, unattainable delights!
But always there was one unbidden guest
Who cursed the child and left it bitterness.
The fire falls asunder, all is changed,
I am no more a child, and what I see
Is not a fairy tale, but life, my life.
The gifts are there, the many pleasant things:
Health, wealth, long-settled friendships, with a name
Which honors all who bear it, and the power
Of making words obedient. This is much;
But overshadowing all is still the curse,
That never shall I be fulfilled by love!
Along the parching highroad of the world
No other soul shall bear mine company.
Always shall I be teased with semblances,
With cruel impostures, which I trust awhile
Then dash to pieces, as a careless boy
Flings a kaleidoscope, which shattering
Strews all the ground about with coloured sherds.
So I behold my visions on the ground
No longer radiant, an ignoble heap
Of broken, dusty glass. And so, unlit,
Even by hope or faith, my dragging steps
Force me forever through the passing days.
thinking about what i should do first around here!

back later.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

saw this over at my friend's blog

hey, it's the gang at the owl's!

can you spot me?? ho ho ho!

bless 'em!
ah yes, those were the days. no wonder i'm a few clowns
short of a circus kiddies!

a few of my favs and all from the same time frame of my high school years!

(tho the last one was at 17 right after i graduated )

i spent last evening reading a few poems from
a few of my poetry books. i've given up , for the moment, putting my poems into some sort of a book form. just too painful since i can't seem to be able to write anything that i feel passes for a poem.
blessings on those sweet souls that have written suggesting ways to break free of this block. so far tho, nothing has come except a few lines, a few thoughts.
i find myself more occupied with the primary and the election, with family and friends, with trying to come to terms with myself, past and present.
now, in the past, this would be more than enough to fill my file drawer and the files in it, with outlines and lists and all sorts of goodies. not now tho.
now, it seems like i am trying to protect myself. hurting myself more by trying to stay safe than by opening up a creative vein and bleeding a little more.
i can not have been bled out yet. a poetic vampire just feeding off of the words of others. can i?
god, i really hate this.
22 but sunny, hey, i'll take it!

Monday, March 24, 2008

a little update on me.
yep, i've showed you my shoes and new glasses, my robe and cats and even squid cooking so
why not my new mouth guard??

yep, i've been grinding my teeth and clenching my jaw at night for
far, far too long and now it is annoying and painful and so
i decided to get a mouth guard. one more woman in the family going
to bed looking like a boxer in the ring! (lovely thought huh?)

no males by the way in the family seem to need one, hummm?
i'll just leave that one alone. shhh!

well last night was my 1st. experience with the mouth guard.
what a night, but by morning it seemed to have begun to feel less like a
mouth full of truck tires and my jaw didn't hurt.

as to the grey hair growing in-
less and less of the blonde color and more and more silver.

thank god! i never felt comfortable as a blonde. no matter that others liked it
once they got over the shock. i think i will like the grey and silver.

so, that's my big personal update.
now if i could just come up with a damn poem!


by Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful --
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

my little sweetie
and the easter eggs she colored.

she was busy taking them out of the carton
so the pic is blurry but she was too proud of her egg art
( colored AND with dora stickers )to slow down long enough to say "cheese"

happy easter

Friday, March 21, 2008

been tagged by kona

4x4 meme

4 jobs i have had

1. baby sitter

2. shampoo girl/hair dresser

3. proof reader/ book binder

4.poet/ cement artisan

4 tv shows i actually watch

1. countdown

2. boxing after dark

3. mythbusters

4. cities of the underworld

4 places i have been

1. new jersey

2. the 1964 world's fair in new york

3. washington dc

4. gettysburg

4 foods i like

1. chocolate

2. pizza

3. bread

4. homemade manicotti

anyone that wants to play, go right ahead ; )

The theme as always, is the Separation of Church and State,
it is a reminder that the Government should keep out of religion, and Religion should keep out of the government.
you can believe whatever you choose and i will defend your right.
i could just ramble on or rant, but why?
we've all heard the arguments, pro and con.
so, all i can say is please, take a look at the countries in this world,
times past and present, that have a state sponsored or favored religion.
then imagine that your heartfelt belief was the minority belief, the outlawed belief
the persecuted belief.

unfair, isn't it. hurtful, right? scary? deadly,
could be.

it could be you.
you betcha BABY!!!!

today's jokes brought to you by bob!

What looks like half a cat ?
The other half !

What happened when the cat ate a ball of wool ?
She had mittens !

What do you get if you cross a cat with a parrot ?
A carrot !

How do cats eat spaghetti ?
The same as everyone else - they put it in their mouths!

What is a French cat's favourite pudding ?
Chocolate mousse !

What do cat actors say on stage ?
Tabby or not tabby !

What did the cat say when he lost all his money ?
I'm paw !

How do you know if you cat's got a bad cold ?
He has cat-arrh !

How do you know if your cat has eaten a duckling ?
She's got that down in the mouth look !

What do you get if you cross a cat and a gorilla ?
An animal that puts you out a night !

Thursday, March 20, 2008

World's best-known protest symbol turns 50

By Kathryn Westcott
BBC News

It started life as the emblem of the British anti-nuclear movement but it has become an international sign for peace, and arguably the most widely used protest symbol in the world. It has also been adapted, attacked and commercialised.

It had its first public outing 50 years ago on a chilly Good Friday as thousands of British anti-nuclear campaigners set off from London's Trafalgar Square on a 50-mile march to the weapons factory at Aldermaston.

The demonstration had been organised by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) joined in.

I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya's peasant before the firing squad

Gerald Holtom
Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded DAC that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. The "Ban the Bomb" symbol was born.

He considered using a Christian cross motif but, instead, settled on using letters from the semaphore - or flag-signalling - alphabet, super-imposing N (uclear) on D (isarmament) and placing them within a circle symbolising Earth.

The sign was quickly adopted by CND.

Holtom later explained that the design was "to mean a human being in despair" with arms outstretched downwards.

US peace symbol

American pacifist Ken Kolsbun, who corresponded with Mr Holtom until his death in 1985, says the designer came to regret the connotation of despair and had wanted the sign inverted.

Anti-Vietnam protesters at a rally in New York
"He thought peace was something that should be celebrated," says Mr Kolsbun, who has spent decades documenting the use of the sign. "In fact, the semaphore sign for U in 'unilateral' depicts flags pointing upwards. Mr Holtom was all for unilateral disarmament."

In a book to commemorate the symbol's 50th birthday, Mr Kolsbun charts how it was transported across the Atlantic and took on additional meanings for the Civil Rights movement, the counter-culture of the 1960s and 70s including the anti-Vietnam protests, and the environmental, women's and gay rights movements.

He also argues that groups opposed to those tendencies tried to use the symbol against them by distorting its message.

How the sign migrated to the US is explained in various ways. Some say it was brought back from the Aldermaston protest by civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, a black pacifist who had studied Gandhi's techniques of non-violence.


In Peace: The biography of a symbol, Mr Kolsbun describes how in just over a decade, the sign had been carried by civil rights "freedom" marchers, painted on psychedelic Volkswagens in San Francisco, and on the helmets of US soldiers on the ground in Vietnam.

The peace sign was adopted by the counter-culture movement
"The sign really got going over here during the 1960s and 70s, when it became associated with anti-Vietnam protests," he told the BBC News website.

As the combat escalated, he says, so did the anti-war protests and the presence of the symbol.

"This, of course, led some people to condemn it as a communist sign," says Mr Kolsbun. "There has always been a lot of misconception and disinformation about it."

As the sign became a badge of the burgeoning hippie movement of the late 1960s, the hippies' critics scornfully compared it to a chicken footprint, and drew parallels with the runic letter indicating death.

In 1970, the conservative John Birch Society published pamphlets likening the sign to a Satanic symbol of an upside-down, "broken" cross.

While it remained a key symbol of the counter-culture movement throughout the 1970s, it returned to its origins in the 1980s, when it became the banner of the international grassroots anti-nuclear movement.


The real power of the sign, its supporters say, is the reaction that it provokes - both from fans and from detractors.

In the UK, the sign is still associated with the Ban the Bomb movement
The South African government, for one, tried to ban its use by opponents of apartheid In 1973.

And, in 2006, a couple in suburban Denver found themselves embroiled in a dispute over their use of a giant peace sign as a Christmas wreath. The homeowners' association threatened them with a daily fine if they didn't remove it.

The association eventually backed down because of public pressure, but a member told a local newspaper it was clearly an "anti-Christ sign" with "a lot of negativity associated with it.".

A US soldier patrols a village outside Baghdad

CND has never registered the sign as a trademark, arguing that "a symbol of freedom, it is free for all". It has now appeared on millions of mugs, T-shirts, rings and nose-studs. Bizarrely, it has also made an appearance on packets of Lucky Strike cigarettes.

A decade ago, the sign was chosen during a public vote to appear on a US commemorative postage stamp saluting the 1960s.

The symbol that helped define a generation of baby boomers may not be as widely used today as in the past. It is in danger of becoming to many people a retro fashion item, although the Iraq war has seen it re-emerge with something like its original purpose.

"It is still the dominant peace sign," argues Lawrence Wittner, an expert on peace movements at the University at Albany in New York.

"Part of that is down to its simplicity. It can be used as a shorthand for many causes because it can be reproduced really quickly - on walls on floors, which is important, in say, repressive societies."

And can its success be measured? Fifty years on, wars have continued to be waged and the list of nuclear-armed states has steadily lengthened.

But the cup is half-full as well as half empty.

"There are many ways in which nuclear war has been prevented," says Mr Wittner. "The hawks say that the reason nuclear weapons have not been used is because of the deterrent. But I believe popular pressure has restrained powers from using them and helped curbed the arms race.

And the symbol of and inspiration for that popular pressure, says Mr Wittner, is Mr Holtom's graphic.

Peace: A biography of a symbol is published by National Geographic Books in April.

look what i found in the yard i share with my neighbor!

that's my foot next to these huge mushroomy things.
i swear, they were not there the other day!

happy birthday!

and thanks.


the picture
this little guy was from last year.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

raaaiiin, rainrainrainrainrain!
War Profit Litany
by Allen Ginsberg

To Ezra Pound

These are the names of the companies that have made
money from this war
nineteenhundredsixtyeight Annodomini fourthousand
eighty Hebraic
These are the Corporations who have profited by merchan-
dising skinburning phosphorous or shells fragmented
to thousands of fleshpiercing needles
and here listed money millions gained by each combine for
and here are gains numbered, index'd swelling a decade, set
in order,
here named the Fathers in office in these industries, tele-
phones directing finance,
names of directors, makers of fates, and the names of the
stockholders of these destined Aggregates,
and here are the names of their ambassadors to the Capital,
representatives to legislature, those who sit drinking
in hotel lobbies to persuade,
and separate listed, those who drop Amphetamine with
military, gossip, argue, and persuade
suggesting policy naming language proposing strategy, this
done for fee as ambassadors to Pentagon, consul-
tants to military, paid by their industry:
and these are the names of the generals & captains mili-
tary, who know thus work for war goods manufactur-
and above these, listed, the names of the banks, combines,
investment trusts that control these industries:
and these are the names of the newspapers owned by these
and these are the names of the airstations owned by these
and these are the numbers of thousands of citizens em-
ployed by these businesses named;
and the beginning of this accounting is 1958 and the end
1968, that static be contained in orderly mind,
coherent and definite,
and the first form of this litany begun first day December
1967 furthers this poem of these States.

December 1, 1967

that's all i can say.
rain, mild then boom,
32 and snow showers tonight!


back later when i finish bitching.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

good words. good thoughts. sen. obama's speech...

Constitution Center

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

"Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slave owners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters....And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about...memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins. "

before anyone makes up thier mind about obama's preacher
i think you owe it to yourself and the country to read this article.

Frank Schaeffer

Obama's Minister Committed "Treason" But When My Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero
Posted March 16, 2008 | 04:23 PM (EST)
rain again, freaking rain.

but i did write a line or two, an idea, for a poem. that makes 2 quasi-thoughts!

Monday, March 17, 2008

i have to admit i have never heard of this singer
but i just loved it from the commercial for the computer.
so, i went looking.
now, for better or worse depending on how you feel when it comes
on your t.v.

to say that this is one of my most favorite poems, for many reasons, is
to not say enough.

I know why the caged bird sings

by Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to claim the sky.

But a BIRD that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
And the trade winds soft through
The sighing trees
And the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright
Lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged BIRD stands on the grave of dreams
His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with
A fearful trill of things unknown
But longed for still and his
Tune is heard on the distant hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom.
isn't this beautiful?

just came in my mail.
it's a robe made from "vintage" (used)
saris. all silk and floats like a cloud on the spring breeze.

i have my heavy fuzzy winter robe with the stars but the black
kimono i had for ages tore and no way i can sew the old silk.

so, i saw this for sale and bought it.
i can't wait til the evenings get a little warmer!

don't forget.

THIS THURSDAY wear a sweater in honor of our own beloved MR. ROGERS.

what a wonderful, wonderful human being he was.
beautiful beautiful morning.
cold, but truly spring sunlight out there!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

today is the st. patrick's day parade in pittsburgh!

this is for my aunt betty. the bravest irish lass i know.
she married into this itailan family! ; )

Friday, March 14, 2008

"I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue…."

yes, he did answer the questions about his pastor's remarks to my satisfaction!

yes, i know i'm a sick little puppy! ; )

The Lockless Door

by Robert Frost

It went many years,
But at last came a knock,
And I though of the door
With no lock to lock.

I blew out the light,
I tip-toed the floor,
And raised both hands
In prayer to the door.

But the knock came again.
My window was wide;
I climbed on the sill
And descended outside.

Back over the sill
I bade a 'Come in'
To whatever the knock
At the door may have been.

So at a knock
I emptied my cage
To hide in the world
And alter with age.

a note to my choice.

just as i was saddened and disappointed by the weak response
to ms. ferraro's statements. i am disappointed in the weak response that you
have had so far to your pastor's remarks.
tho i know personally, i would hate to be judged by some of the statements and actions of a few of the priests i've had at churches i used to belong to
AND it is a little hard to confront a priest or any person of the cloth
still i expect an explanation from you better than i've heard so far.

thank you.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Duck and the Condom

Two honeymooning ducks are staying in a hotel. As they are about to make love, the male duck says, “We don’t have any condoms. I''ll call room service.” So he calls and asks for condoms. The receptionist says, ''''OK sir, would you like to put them on your bill?'''' ''''No,'''' he says, ''''I''ll suffocate!''''

April Come She Will

P. Simon, 1965

April come she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain
May, she will stay
Resting in my arms again

June, she'll change her tune
In restless walks she'll prowl the night
July, she will fly
And give no warning to her flight

August, die she must
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold
September I'll remember
A love once new has now grown old

details here if you want to participate or learn more.

55, 55, going up to 55!

hey, i might have to forgo the turtlenecks today! ; )

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

heard this on the radio today. takes me back!

Life Is Fine

Langston Hughes

I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn't,
So I jumped in and sank.

I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn't a-been so cold
I might've sunk and died.

But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn't a-been so high
I might've jumped and died.

But it was High up there! It was high!

So since I'm still here livin',
I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love--
But for livin' I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry--
I'll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!