Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Random late autumn thoughts


Let's get political. Again. Wesley Clark is speaking to the Commonwealth Club as I write. He's a 4 star general and apparently a Democrat because he disses the President. But he goes on to say that the various generals and officers in Iraq should not express their concerns about the way the war is going because they would be in violation of their oaths to defend the Constitution and apparently he has the idea that somewhere in the Constitution there is a requirement that all military people should be loyal to the Commander in Chief. Curious. How can one be loyal to the Constitution, with it's provisions for ridding the country of an incompetent President (incompetent in that they have broken the law) and at the same time have nothing contrary to say to that same person? In other words, if the generals know that the President is lying about just about everything going on over there, lying about the actions of our troops, lying about the ability of America to win, lying about the ability of the Iraqi's to defend themselves the US Constitution requires that they lie to the public and support the President because he's their leader. Jeez, I find that so freaking hard to understand. Tommy Jefferson thought the role of Commander in Chief trumped the obligation expressed by the Constitution to remove from office a President who commits crimes against humanity? Just too hard to believe.

Funny how fixing an election to become President suddenly elevates George's IQ 30 points and makes him a military expert. I suppose if he wore a gold hat and lived in Rome he could excommunicate sinners and drive out demons, too.

Just a short note today. Talking about memories, good and bad. People remember the same event differently at various points in their life. Sometimes changes occur within minutes of experiencing an event. I think I've written about the time I was hanging out in my apartment on Caroline Street with a friend watching the bar across the street. A fight fell out of the door and landed on the street with one man kicking another in the head as he slumped on the sidewalk. After the guy on the ground recovered enough to stagger off we began to discuss the fight and I discovered that she saw the kicker as one race and I saw the same man as a member of another race. Maybe five minutes had passed since the fight but neither of us saw the same fight. Who was right? Maybe both. Physics says that reality is in the eyes of the beholder. In my universe my father used to beat me for losing fights at school. In my sister's universe Dad never beat me. In my universe I spent a summer shooting a BB gun at frogs, lizards and bottles until I tried sawing the barrel short and ruining it. In my sister's universe I was never allowed to have a BB gun. Who was right? I can even recall the smell of the oil I used on the gun, but she doesn't see it that way. The thing is most of your actions are going to be colored by what you remember about events and if memory is that unreliable then how can your actions be counted upon to be the right ones? It's been proven so many times in so many studies that eyewitnesses are no damn good at recalling anything they just experienced, especially if it was a violent or otherwise exciting event, like a man getting the crap kicked out of him by a booted white guy/black guy. Yet we still rely on eyewitnesses to try a man for attempted murder and sending him to jail.

General Clark told a story about being told at some point that we were going to attack Iraq after 9-11. The Pentagon official that was confiding in him said that we needed to look strong and we needed to attack somebody back but the people who had attacked us were dead (and they were sent by our allies the Saudis) so George decided to attack Iraq, no doubt because Saddam had at one point “tried to kill my Dad”. Yet the people who knew that there was no reason to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people seem to have been led to believe that the Constitution required them to not speak up, to blindly obey the President and so we have become as a democratic nation war criminals. We, through our Generals, Congresspersons and appointees have attacked and murdered close to two thirds of a million admittedly innocent civilians. We broke some eggs to make an omelet. Although in point of fact we broke some eggs to make green beans. In George's universe it made sense at the time.

Oh well. Still haven't heard anything about the doctor talking to Jon's doctors. I suspect nothing has happened. I'm gonna try to get all of Jon's medical records because apparently we have a legal right to them. It certainly makes sense to have his family know his history in case we have to take him somewhere, like a new hospital and they need to know what he's been through. Anybody want to make a bet that they will try to stonewall me and not release copies? My plan, in part, is to explain that I am writing a book and I want to get the sequence of events in the proper order and compare the dates to, for instance, postings to this blog, or posting to the TBI support group. Then I plan to push for the neurologist to go back and explore why Jon stopped responding after those seizures. They told me there was no obvious reason for it, but at the same time they decided to abandon him because he no longer showed much responsiveness. Still, something must have triggered the seizures. What if, like the wounds on his back, the cause of the seizures was because they screwed up? Maybe they did something wrong, wrong meds or something? We'll have to see how they respond to my request. That will tell me something.

Solstice is this Saturday. Night of the Crone, shortest day, longest night. I hope I can find dry wood to burn, otherwise I might axe down a couple trees and burn them. I have a preponderance of spruce trees out back. If I can snowshoe out back far enough I might find a pile or two of pine logs as well. Neighbor Bob has a big pile of construction debris he said I could have but without a sled I have to bring back arm loads and that won't be much. Still, I will likely be the only one out there so it can be a small fire. Yeah, it's not like 20 years ago when everybody in the neighborhood would show up with beer, wine, peanuts and attitude. We'd burn to 2 AM or so and stagger off home. Now I light a small fire, heap up what wood I can pry out of the winter snow and burn through a couple three beers. Then I pack it up and move inside. A couple of times an old buddy would show up as I was breaking up the fire and we'd hang out for another hour or so but not so much lately. Maybe it's my breath or my grumpiness but they don't seem to come around much anymore. More than likely they simply don't know when the seasons change. Most of them are Christians and they don't seem to care about the orbits of the planets around the sun. I'm not entirely sure why I do, but it seems important to me to go out and acknowledge that there are patterns greater than myself and offering some wood, beer and time seems like a reasonable thing to do.

As we roll into a new year I hope everybody is safe, warm and fed. It's basic but upon that basic rock we can build a house to hold us all. So enjoy the snow, the cold and the warmth of your personal fire and maybe think of me out back sipping my drink and tossing sticks into the fire. I'll be thinking of you.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Visitors From a Previous Life

I have been informed that there are actually people reading this blog. Yeah, I may have mentioned this before but it sounds serious now. I sort of expected people to stumble upon this place and maybe read a couple of postings and move on but my sister tells me that she's encountered people from my past who have read about Jon and me and our various struggles, and of course my religious and political rants. That seems odd to me that I might not just be burning off rants to the ether, that people who knew me when I was someone else were following this tune. Very odd. See, the thing is I talk to myself a lot. Seriously, since retiring I find that it's just me, the chickens and Mok the cat pretty much all the time. So I talk to myself. I'm not a polite listener, either. I give myself more grief than my old dear daddy did. I get into arguments and then lose those arguments. But sometimes I do get into a interesting conversation and then if it goes on long enough I write it down. Then I try to recall where I put the paper so I can transcribe it into this space. That's the process. It breaks down sometimes but that's how this happens.

One thing I have noted is that no matter when I start typing Mok will appear at the door and ask me what's going on. I turn from the keyboard and ask, "What is it, sweety cat? What's up?" Mok then rubs against the door jamb and smiles up at me. "Daddy?" she says. "Daddy, can you come here a minute?" Well I'm a sucker for a furry face so I get up and follow her down the hallway. "What is it this time, Mok?" and she walks me to the food area and points to a bowl of wet food. "See? It's all yucky and dry." So I bend down and look at it. Yes, it is all dry on the corners and needs to be fixed. "Alright, Mok. Daddy will fix." Then I stir the food and sometimes mix some dry stuff into it. I set it back down and she checks it out. "Okay." she says and then walks to the door. "But I want to go out now." I open the door and she sticks her head out, putting her ears down slightly. "What's that?" she asks in that whining voice of hers. "That's winter, Mok. It happens around here if you recall. White and wet mostly for many weeks." She looks up at me accusingly. "Why?" she asks. She's not asking why it last so long. She's asking me why I did it. I happen to know that this conversation can last almost as long as winter itself so I have to draw the line. "Mok, it happens. I didn't do it and I most certainly did not do it to you. It's happening to me too. You have to deal with it. In or out. That's the choice. In or out." and I stand there with the door open for maybe a couple of minutes until she backs up and wanders off. This is the scenario many times a day. It beats watching the soaps, I think, but it does make it hard to type.

The chickens are easier to deal with. Talking to them is like talking to a group of old women. They murmur and mutter and shift on their feet but all in all just wait for me to get done with whatever I'm doing and go away so they can continue to gossip about what's going on in the yard. There's a skunk, for instance, living under the woodshed. I've seen her a few times, always at night. A couple of times I was confused by her black appearance and thought she was Mok. If the moon is out I can usually see the stripes but my night vision sucks so if it's dark all I see is a cat sized black blob and I think it's a cat. Which it is, in a way. A pole cat. I chat away to the cat, asking about this and that but not really getting an answer. I suspect it's a dialect thing. The embarrassing thing is when I bend down to pet her and she stamps her feet in protest and lifts her tail. Mok never stamps her feet. As I back away gently I quietly declare, "Nothing personal, Miss Kitty. Thought you were somebody else. I'm gone..." and you never run from a skunk, you back away with head down and then you turn and walk away. The chickens tell me there's a woodchuck under the potting shed but it's been years since I saw one and I'm not sure if they are right. The white tailed deer live out back in the blackberry brambles. They don't talk at all, they just either lay still or run. Two modes, like binary code. Off or on, in or out. There's a lot of binary in this complex world of ours.

George sees things in binary, too. Bad guys, good guys. very simple world he lives in with no consequences and no grey areas. He knows what he knows and you could put it all in a teaspoon.

I seem to recall a time in my life when binary worked for me, but that was long, long ago. We used to have a simple formula for when things got slightly more complex, back when I was being a Viking guy in the SCA. House Ramshead was a group of like minded individuals who liked to dress up in 7th century clothes and go to tournies and revels with others like us and pretend we were not who or when we were. Ramshead had this slogan: if you can't drink it, eat it or screw it, hit it with your mace. The mace is a short metal club used for prying armored guys out of their life. I always liked it and have a couple even as we speak. I taught Jess how to throw Lady Janis, the first mace I owned. She's spiked and flanged and weighs about 7 lbs. You throw her like you toss a bowling ball, using hip, shoulders, wrist. Hard to explain in writing but Jess could hit a beer bottle cap from about 15 feet. The chunk of the mace slamming into the tree stump is just a great sound. I like to think it sounds like it would slamming into a man's chest. "WHAT?" you ask. Yes, I like to think about how the mace really would impact a human and why not? We know what they look like down through the ages and we know that maces were the preferred weapon of kings and bishops but we stopped using them pretty much these last few hundred years and rumors have come up which deny the mace's place in history. King Tut used a mace. The real King Arthur likely used a mace. Bishop Odo used a mace. I used a mace to open beer bottles until the spike got short and thick and started breaking the necks off. The academic in me is curious about what would happen if I tossed the mace good and hard at a man wearing Kevlar. It was designed to go through steel chest plates, see and Kevlar is designed to stop little bitty bullets flying at high sped, but I bet they never took a flying mace into account when designing Kevlar. I'd be willing to bet on it. I think it would go through the plastic and pin the vest to the guy's chest with a pleasant and profound THUNK. And then the object of my fear would be far less fearful. Gotta think ahead.

Let me give you an example of the sort of pseudo Viking guy I was. I know this man named Jon, not my son but one of the reasons Jon is named Jon. He was like me, a student of the middle ages and curious about things. He also liked the mace, probably still does. So we went down to his basement one January night, sipping mead and chatting about that THUNK sound. I suggested that a mace thrown into a shield would disable the shield and make the man vulnerable. Jon wasn't quite sure but willing to test the theory. We first held the mace while one of us beat on it. No doubt the vibration was a pain! A man fighting a mace man would be unhappy for sure with his arm feeling tingly and strange, almost numb. But that wasn't good enough, so I strapped on a sword. yes, I own swords and so does Jess. Mine is prettier but she inherits all my gear so she's not jealous. I don the sword and Jon puts the shield against a post in his basement. I pick up Janis and take a stance. Jon says, "Begin!" and I toss Janis and draw the sword in one move. Janis drives into the thick plywood shield with a nice THUNK and I am in a new stance with the sword drawn and ready. Jon goes over to pick up and put on the shield. The idea was that a man would be forced to fight with a shield attached to a 7 lb mace as well as deal with a 24" steel shaft hanging out of the shield. Jon lifted up the shield and said, "Uh, William, we have a problem." I thought I'd broken the shield or something but he turns it around and shows me. Janis's spike is protruding about 2" from the back of the shield, exactly where the man's forearm would be. "My gosh," I say. "It seems," Jon said, "that the fighter would be stapled to his own shield. And probably sporting at least one broken bone." He lifted the shield/mace up and felt the weight and balance. "I think we can safely say that a man facing a mace would be incapable of fighting any further if the mace man can throw the mace like this." Now, the reason we did this experiment was because in the Bayeux Tapestry showing the invasion by William the Conquerer there are battle scenes showing arrows, spears and maces flying through the air. I've had many people tell me they thought that the people tossing their maces were in a panic, throwing away their weapons and running away. Nonsense, I said. No true mace man throws away his mace, clearly they are attacking the shields of the opposing group. Then they draw their swords and attack the man. I think that our experiment in the basement showed that to be a real possibility and that changes the way you view the tapestry story.

History can change the way you view the Now if you try to understand it. Often in history a man leaves his kingdom to a son who is not up to the charge. A war results, many people die and the kingdom goes through some changes. Sometimes the people rise up and do the changing, sometimes it's another army. This has happened so many times you would think that kings and Presidents would see that just because the fruit of your loins is bright eyed and loyal doesn't mean they can do the same kind of work you did in creating this kingdom of yours. In fact you and your son have almost nothing in common but a name. But you fight to make a nation and then you give it to your moronic son who has never fought for anything but another drink or the virginity of an unwilling gal. The your kingdom goes to crap and all because you were unable to see with a clear vision. Now me, I know that Jon could not take over my house and work because the poor kid can't even blink his eyes when you ask him to. In fact, if we lived in the 7th century Jon would be long dead from fevers and infections. Back in the 7th century if you took a mace to the head you would go into a coma, bleed in the brain case and die from the pressure. It would be over in a few hours at best. But now we can fix the infections, mostly, and shunt the blood into the abdomen via a plastic tube in the brain case. We can do everything to make that body live for years. We just can't make the brain heal.

Neanderthal man used clubs, or wooden maces. When a Neanderthal took a mace to the head they would go into a coma. If the pressure in the brain started going up the shaman would take up a flint or alabaster tool and make a hole in the brain case and let the pressure out. Then they'd replace the bit of skull and fold the scalp back over the hole. If things got infected the shaman would apply a paste of comfrey, goldenseal, and other herbs. If a fever broke out the shaman would do some more herbs and maybe go into a trance. Once in the trance they would go to the spirit plane and look for the person's spirit. Chances are they would not be far and they would be confused after that hit to the head. Often the spirit thinks that the spirit plane is the place to be and the shaman may have to wrestle it or argue with it and try to make it go back to the patient. It might require dealing with spirits of infection as well. Those are life forms which live in a wound and try to be the primary life form there, but that will result in the death of the host body so you have to convince them to move on. If everything goes well the shaman comes out of their trance and the person lives many more years. We know this because there have been skulls recovered from Neanderthal caves with healed over bits of skull which seem to have been used in a healing operation and unless we are mistaken, most likely were removed to release pressure in the brain, and it worked because the wound was healed.

Primitive men did not wear three piece suits or hunt for fun, but they were not as primitive as a man who has the choice of killing hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children or ignoring an insult to his father and chooses to kill the women and children. In the course of this killing spree there are about 24,000 men and women who have been slammed about so hard by IEDs or mortar rounds that their brains have been mashed by the brain case. their brains swell up with pressure and if the pressure is not released, they either die or go into a deep coma. Nobody tries to rescue their spirit. Nobody goes into the spirit plane to argue, wrestle or reason with the spirits involved. Nobody even considers the pressure in the brain, the damage in the brain structure and the resulting effects on their ability to reason, to think, to talk or to do anything other than stare at the ceiling counting spots. The reason, you see, is that George has ordered that traumatic brain injuries not be diagnosed as such, because such injuries takes decades to heal. The military considers the actions and behavior of the brain injured vet as signs of depression or personality disorders. If they are diagnosed as personality disorders frequently the vet is discharged as an unworthy killer of women and children and is sent home to bleed internally and die, or to recover some functioning and deal with the various dead parts of the brain by standing at street corners carrying a thermos of coffee and yelling at passing cars.

After the Viet Nam debacle many vets came home addicted to drugs because either the military gave them so many opiates that they needed them every day, or because the problems of undiagnosed brain injuries were so mind altering they needed to get numb. Might also be the scenes of women bleeding on the ground, children screaming with missing arms and men staggering around holding dead babies. That might be upsetting them. They aren't as strong as George who sleeps like a dead baby, no dreams, no regrets, no experience in the real world.

This is the season of Persephone, of Inanna. The Earth Mother descends to Hell and the world gets darker, colder and apparently mostly dead. The parts of the world that burrow down into the Earth are still alive, just comatose. In the spring she will arise and flowers will bloom again. It's a great circle that has been wheeling around the heavens forever and will wheel around hundreds of thousands of years after George, his father and the vets are dust under our feet. She rises in the spring and leaps across the fields, her white tail flashing, her eyes bright and alert. She comes out from under the woodshed, under the kiln shed and digs around the compost for worms and bugs. She rises to the tops of the trees and sings a song of life and love, of eggs in a nest, of children flying away. She stands in the woods watching her children play in the sun. Next year she will go down again, but always she returns to the light. Things die and are reborn. The sands are soaked in blood and then they are covered with flowers. You can't stop her, nor ignore her because you are part of her form, part of her life. When she stops living, everything stops living. This is why taking life is a sacred act because it involves the Mother of us all. You don't do it thoughtlessly or out of ignorance. The good news is that like so many Mothers before, she is forgiving of our childishness. She knows we will grow up or fall down and in the end the wheel rolls again and we are born again to a new form and a new life. This makes each life a gift and we should show gratitude for that life by treating our brothers and sisters as good as we would be treated. When you pass by the vet on the street, mumbling and angry, remember that they were in hell and came back. They have been touched by the divine and are themselves sacred. Their vision is not like yours. Consider this as you walk by thinking your clear thoughts, moving those intact legs. Don't forget to thank Mother for it all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

From the Washington Post:

"On Monday, President Bush expressed deep concern about the Russian actions. "I am particularly troubled by the use of force by law enforcement authorities to stop these peaceful activities and to prevent some journalists and human rights activists from covering them," Bush said in a statement.

"The freedoms of expression, assembly and press, as well as due process, are fundamental to any democratic society," he said. "I am hopeful that the government of Russia will honor its international obligations in these areas, investigate allegations of abuses and free those who remain in detention." "

This is an incredible statement from a President who sent the police in Florida to break up peaceful, legal street protests. Speakers and protesters were arrested by the police and confined in cages by the hundreds. Many were reported to have been roughed up by the police for the apparent crime of disagreeing with Bush on fair and free elections. At the command of the Bush family tens of thousands of voters in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states controlled by the Republican Party were denied their right to cast ballots based on fraudulent charges of having felony records, names that resembled names on terrorist lists and other bogus charges. Many of the people denied their right to vote were from districts which tend to vote Democratic and similar voter dumping was conducted in other important states controlled by the Republicans. It is clear that the actions were designed to control the results of the election and give those states to the President. Since the 2000 and 2004 elections it has been established that these actions were in clear violation of election laws and if brought about by the request of the President are clearly impeachable offenses. The officials charged with overseeing and protecting the results of the elections claim confusion and misunderstanding as the root cause of dumping properly registered voters from the rolls, however it should be obvious that Democratic voters were targeted for the express purpose of fixing the results of the election.
The most alarming aspect of these stories is that the Congress, which is charged with impeaching the President for illegal and unconstitutional actions has remained mostly silent and uninterested in fulfilling it's obligations under the Constitution. This implies that both major political parties are involved in the destruction of the electoral process and the creation of a rotating dictatorship with the President being selected by the leadership and given absolute power over the rest of the country, including the unconstitutional suspension of the right of habeas corpus, the gutting of FISA, the establishment of a system of secret prisons controlled by the President, the authorizing of torture of prisoners, and the unconstitutional assertion by the President through signing statements that the laws passed by Congress and signed into law by the President nevertheless do not apply to the President, his appointees or anyone else he so chooses to protect from the legal system. This assertion that he is above the law is in itself such an assault on the system of Rule by Law essential to our republic that it effectively creates a dictatorship out of the office of the President and is obviously an impeachable offense.
Apologists claim that in time of war laws must be trampled to "protect" our citizens, but the founders of this Republic expressly limited the power of the President in peace and in war in order to protect the democratic core values of our political system. This is why only Congress may declare war and call up an army. The President is merely expected to direct the operation of the war with the caveat that it be done according to national laws and international treaties. Since WW2 the powers which control the political parties have carved away those restrictions and protections in order to create and control an all-powerful office of the President. Increasingly America has come to resemble those other dictatorships such as Pakistan, Iraq and Russia with the rule of law cast aside to permit rule by dictate based on hunches and dreams and Biblical passages by an alcoholic, drug addled "born-again" sociopath who claims divine guidence in launching wars of aggression and expansion around the world.
The world cannot allow this trend to continue. For their own protection the nations of the world will be forced to confront this aggressive and militaristic America. The one bright side, if there is one, is that the insane fiscal practices by this President of unlimited spending coupled with huge tax cuts for the wealthy have gutted the American treasury, forcing the government to rely increasingly on loans from China, Japan and others. As the power of the dollar plummets and the murderous occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan continue to stack up bodies of innocent women, children and men the world will be forced to cut off our funds to wage war and perhaps even to begin dumping American dollars, causing the complete collapse of the American economy. The argument that the world "needs" America only works if the world is not afraid of America and it's dangerous and destabilizing escapades around the world. When we become too dangerous for the rest of the world to allow they will act to stop the American war machine and it's imperial minded President. The lower classes will suffer greatly from this disaster while the ultra rich will simply move their dollar accounts to Euro based offshore accounts. You should be aware that all of the political leaders of both parties are millionaires and all have international financial dealings. If America collapses our so-called leaders can simply move to Dubai. You and I will be left to repair the damage and bury the dead.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Winter in the north country: white, grey and tan. Out the window I see the elm trees, still broken from the Valentine's Day ice storm. Old buddy Phil says he'll come over and cut them up for me sometime, maybe when the snow pack is deeper so he can walk on the slope safer. Phil loves to climb trees with a chain saw hanging from his belt. he even went out and bought the gear: boots, harnesses and ropes. I have to say he's good at it. He can drop a tree within a couple feet of where we need it. I do have a slight problem with his enthusiasm, though. Sometimes he gets cutting and he fails to recall which trees I want only slightly chopped up, like say an ash or oak. Most folks want them cut to 18" for stove burning, but I bonfire or I sculpt wood, so I want it left fairly long. Phil worries about my back, I guess, so he cuts them nice and short. I suppose since I don't yet own a re-saw or big band saw it makes sense but since the trees have to age before re-sawing I'd like to have the option of stacking them to dry. He's looking out for me, though and I do appreciate it.

We put out salt for the deer sleeping in the back yard, also some feed. I'm hoping they will continue to hang out in the brambles as they make nice paths and eat some of the brambles back. They're like goats who don't cry all the time for Mama. It is odd, though, later in the year to be picking berries in bushes that smell strongly of musk. There's a red fox family out there too and a skunk lives under the woodshed, so we keep pretty busy. So long as Pepe doesn't feel the need to spray me he/she can live under the woodshed all they want. Somebody seems to be living under the kiln shed, though, and the area around the kiln seems to be settling at one corner and that ain't good. I poked with a metal bar and I think I found the tunnel but it might be one left from the Mother of All Woodchucks. I killed her with chlorine gas. Yeah, pretty nasty stuff but nothing seems to be working and she/he was way too big for the Havaheart trap. So I mixed ammonia and chlorine in a milk jug and turned it upside down in the tunnel mouth. Just like WWI or Saddam in Kurdistan. Bad company.

I'd like to comment a bit on the strange case of the Missing News. I read a great deal online. I read Reuters, BBC, NYTimes, Washington Post, Huffington Post, AP, and any links found that direct me to the original news source. Considering that there are people dying "in my name" out there, I want to know why. It used to be I would turn on the PBS station first thing in the morning. Now instead of BBC I get Barney. So I turn to CNN and I get a ditsy bimbo with possibly a high school education chattering away about Brad and Angelie or a skateboarding dog. So I turn to the other CNN and get a less ditsy bimbo with a college degree chattering about her blog, her emails, her contests and the weather guy. That leaves me with channel 6 with two drunks staring at each other and talking about the last story they read. Channel 10 has decent news coverage and a weather guy who seems rational. Channel 13 is like 6 only without the staring. At this point I know all about the weather. I know the polls on the election. I have seen the sound bite of the day and the secret word for Robins contest of the day. But I have no idea what we are doing to end the war, why we are not impeaching the war criminals in Washington, or what the rest of the planet is doing. So I go online and read and follow the news. Imagine a life before the internet... oh yeah, the networks used to broadcast the news. So let's talk about Walter Cronkite.

Back in the day we could turn on the TV and listen to a man of some considerable veracity tell us what was going on in the world. Walter would tell us about world events with a calm, intelligent manner and we knew that if it was in fact important he would lift an eyebrow or pause at a key point. He did not have a partner to read every other line on the teleprompter. He did not have a newsletter or contests. What he had was our trust. Now, oddly enough he seems to feel that he needs to speak out from time to time even after retiring to the old newscaster's home. The reason is exactly what I described before about my search for the news. Walter seems to feel, also, that the government is working very hard at disinformation, lies and misleading and conflicting public statements by various voices in the administration. In other words he seems to feel that the News should also be the Truth. What a quaint idea. An educated public having the tools to understand the issues that impact on us all could very well be expected to make intelligent choices. We might even understand how badly our system of government has been shredded to the benefit of a handful of wealthy businessmen. That might make the public actually get out and vote and even demand that the votes get counted. Ooooo. That one scares the tiny mind in the White House!

I remember watching Walter remove his glasses and painfully announce the death by assassination of President Kennedy. Dad came home for lunch and I told him and we watched on TV while they searched for the lone gunman. That was the last time our government changed hands by the act of a single lunatic. Now it changes hands with an entire team of psychologically
damaged individuals handling the "news" and determining when to stop the vote counting to ensure their picks make it in. Actually I suppose that since they count some of the votes we still can call it an election, but many of the votes counted were placed there into the machines before the election, so it's a hard call to make. Walter always made me feel like an American and when he and Dad were in the room with me watching the car drive off with a screaming Jackie and Secret Servicemen hanging onto the doors I felt connected and involved. Now, watching Robin babble about her newsletter and her videos while flashing vast amounts of thigh I have to say things have degenerated rather a lot. Maybe Walter had good legs or not, but he never flashed them at me and he never had contests to win posters of him. I like legs, don't get me wrong. I have always liked looking at legs attached to good looking women, but I have found in the last 50+ years that women who show off their legs tend to not have a good opinion of men and by and large have experiences to illustrate how easy it is to distract and confuse them. I was distracted enough to marry two women based on their nice legs. Not at the same time, mind you. I was not that distracted. But legs are bad things to judge by, it seems, when what you are judging is credibility and intelligence. Maybe even sanity. Walter was very sane and seems even more so, but in the last years CNN has shown more legs and skateboarding animals and less news worthy of a Cronkite raised eyebrow. The metaphor might be watching an animal sinking into the LaBrea tarpits. The news goes slowly into the black ooze, bleating out it's cries of terror and passing out posters of long legged bimbettes. Walter takes off his glasses and slowly pinches the bridge of his nose while mumbling under his breath something about "assholes".

The cold war is starting up again with no white hats to be seen. Israel still gets it's billions of military aid from a country sinking deep into the black ooze of fascism. The world continues to seek another way to help the helpless now that America has abandoned the sense of ethics which Walter honed to perfection and which the President and his cabal of war criminals has never understood or valued. The old Soviet Union may be somewhat dismantled but like a company taken over by new management it simply regroups, re-imprisons and rearms, happily secure in the knowledge that they will all make a lot of money while doing absolutely no work whatsoever except for occasionally signing their name. What a great life. They learned Fierce Capitalism very well, but then it's not that different from the way Stalin ruled on the left or Hitler on the right. It's easy to teach cruelty, not so easy to teach ethics. Usually you teach by example, ala Jesus or Ghandi so it should be no great surprise that as we torture, murder and lie the Russians are once again setting up shop and fixing elections, torturing dissidents and murdering ex-spies. So we're all one big happy family, except the Iranians who are building bomb shelters and squirreling away their retirement in Swiss accounts.

Walter takes off his glasses and wipes away a big salty tear. He looks up at the cameras and says in that wonderful voice of his, "The Republic is officially dead. Nobody knows when we shall see the likes of Her again. May the Deity have mercy on our souls."

George spits out a pork rind and calls in Condi. "Condi, get somebody in that station and kill that bastard!"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

New template, new everything except for the old posts. Here I sit with finger exposed for the world to bang into. The screw tip is just barely exposed, I think. Oh, you don't know what's going on? Well, let me tell you something me boy-o. In the course of having my body attack itself, call it "old age" I managed to have one finger joint go over to the enemy. A staph infection set up base in the knuckle, eating away at the cartilage until there was only about a half of one side left and the bone was hollowed out. There was a mass of odd tissue created and lots of pain and pressure but in the struggle to survive I managed to meet Dr. Byrt, a great hand surgeon who, even though he said he had never seen a finger go so badly nevertheless was able to painlessly scrape down the bone spurs, remove the inflamed tissue and carefully fit a stainless steel screw into the bone all the way through the joint (such as it was) and into the next bone, securing the finger in a never ending assertion that we are "number one!" Whoppee ducks.

Yeah, the finger has a scab at the tip which may or may not be the tip of the screw, it's kinda hard to see. In theory they can remove it once the bones have grown together. Of course this makes wedging clay even harder and working on the throwing wheel very hard and, it seems, walking around cleaning house very difficult, unless you find driving your wounded hand into a shelf or book edge a fun experience. I can find lots of things to bang into it seems. Who knew? But Dr. Byrt was wonderful and anybody needing surgery in the Saratoga/Albany area should look him up. He's a serious guy but works like a machine made in Sweden and is very careful about hurting you. Speaking of hurting it seems that people who get migraines may be predisposed to suffer more in painful situations, like an inflamed finger joint. We appear to be more sensitive to pain. Great. Couldn't be psychic or a great lover, no we had to be more sensitive to pain. Which is why when Daddy smacked me in the back of the head it felt like a baseball bat. Pappy, you listening up there? I really was hurting even though you swore it was a tap. I am, in fact, not a wimp, I am a neurologically complex individual. IN point of fact Dad was probably also in more pain than your average person but since he self medicated with booze it didn't show up as much.

A TBI caregiver sent me the name of a doctor who specializes in PVS people or minimally conscious individuals. I contacted the doc who said he was more into slightly other topics but turned me onto another doctor who works actively on people like Jon. In the same batch of emails was a note from a doctor Sandlin Lowe, who wanted me to call him. I did so and lo and behold, this guy does brain mapping and the like and agrees that we have not really tested Jon fairly to determine where his consciousness is. He suggested a couple of simple tests which would help determine where the blockages are. In other words we test one circuit at a time with reactions to cold and pain and see if there is enough there to create a mind or something. If Jon cannot move willfully he will nevertheless have reflexes if the connections are there. Well that was exciting so I contacted Dr. Zelek, the neuropsychologist working on Jon. He's the guy who says Jon is vegetative because he does not respond to the doctors, his brain has shrunk, his EEG is abnormal and it's been 7 years. Well Doc Lowe says the EEGs are abnormal because that's normal for TBI patients. He says the atrophy of the brain doesn't mean much per se except that Jon has parts that are going away and they may or may not have much impact on his ability to think. I had told Lowe about an incident where I was talking to Jon about making jelly and he licked his lips. On the next visit I suggested to Jon that he do it again so we could have a code: licking lips means yes, biting lower lip means no. No reaction from Jon. So, I suggested instead I drop some lemon seltzer on his tongue for something to taste. I moved toward him with a straw containing a couple of drops of seltzer and the boy shut his mouth tight and quickly turned his head away from me. Now in order to do this Jon would need to know about seltzer, it's flavor potential and choose to not accept the drops! Zelek thought it was reflex and Lowe agreed with me that it indicated something else, like consciousness, especially since I did not even touch Jon to get the reaction. So now Dr. Lowe is planning on communicating with Zelek and the rest of Jon's crew and see if we can really test Jon for consciousness. We think he is drifting in and out of minimally conscious states and vegetative states. Which is still more promising than simply vegetative. So we may yet get some more stimulation and therapy for Jon!! Yay!

Pretty good Thanksgiving all in all. My old pal Larry's brother is sending more of the LPs Larry left me in his will. I need to call him to go over more titles and artist names, seems Jerry doesn't know much about the blues. I'm also trying to see if we can get Larry's photos and see if I can put together a collection worthy of publication. Might be nice as Larry spent his life making pictures and now they are just sitting in a box somewhere, or maybe several boxes and computer hard drives. I'd love to do something nice for Larry, get his name known more and show the world what all he was able to see and record. He had such a good eye.

It's difficult writing that Larry "had" a good eye rather than Larry "has" a good eye.

Well the back is still busted so I'm cutting this shorter but the rest of the news is that Jess has a new apartment with doors on the bedrooms and once she finds a room mate she will be set. We sent down some furniture with her and things are looking good. I don't think it's possible to be more proud of her than we are, she's doing so well. I do wish Larry were around to see all this but I suspect he is watching over the girl like he did when he was walking around. I bet if he had had time to write an up to date will he would have left her one of his sports cars or something. His will was dated 1976! Not long after Teddy was killed in fact, must have shook up the man enough to write one up. I didn't get around to it until Larry died and then I put one in the safe giving Margaret everything I owned, although Jess wants the sword, maces and helmet. She already co-owns all my tools.

After getting a staph infection and losing a finger joint I begin to worry about my osteoarthritis in my neck. What's the chance one of those joints is going to go south on me? Yikes. I think it would be good if Margaret knew reikei and we worked on each other before going to bed, but knowing us a mutual session might be too distracting and we'd be making out after a couple of minutes! 8-) Yeah she has nice hands and I'm a sucker for a pretty face. What she sees in me I don't know but she says I make her laugh. Lots of people say I make them laugh but she's the only one who goes from laughter to kisses, thank goodness. What a strange life. Yes, thank goodness for Margaret. Nobody was ever as lucky as me, finding her so far away from my old home and giving me a new wonderful home up here in the trees and streams of upstate New York. Now if I can just knit all the parts back up and stop falling apart.

Sorry if some of these posts repeat old news but I find it hard to recall if I wrote something in an email to somebody, thought of it while in the studio or put it down in this blog a few weeks ago.

Now I gonna sing my "Do-dee-doo" song!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I need to get back to this idea of the senses creating consciousness. To begin with, use of the term "creating" immediately creates a duality and a linear condition, which while not inherently evil, still is but one of several options. To create you have a creator and you have a creation, you have the uncreated, you have linear time, a done, doer and bypassed. You have a single event, although it may be linked to a series of related events, each parcel of moment is but an event and consciousness is the event horizon as possibility passes into history and memory, and in the minds of some, the uncreated again. The quality of an event horizon is that nothing passes beyond it. That defines it, the moment at which communication ceases. I have circled my son's silent form for close to seven years now at an event horizon which seems to be shrinking. All of creation in motion tends towards un-creation. The consciousness of non-motion cannot be conscious of any of the rest of creation, because to pass from unawareness to awareness is to cross an event horizon and that is what defines motion. Thus, everything that moves is alive because consciousness changes as relates to the rest of the world, that is, the rest of the creation is understood to be changing. Most people have an understanding of "alive" as "like me" in some way. Nobody can think of themselves as being "not alive", although they may say they are dead tired or dead in the water, it is understood that they still expect to see the next few moments through and perhaps the rest of their lives. But "alive" simply refers to the changing nature of the universe as energy passes to mass and mass becomes energy, like a worm sliding through soil life passes through creation. The worm is conscious and the tunnel is memory, but sometimes the memory is flooded out, the worm stops moving, but at second glance we see it is still changing as cell release potions and tiny life forms slice, dice and trot off with chemicals. Slowly the worm becomes the earth that some future worm passes through.

The worm is the same form as the point of the tunnel, but the tunnel only retains the most extreme form of the worm as it passed and pushed it's way through the soil. So memory only retains extremes of some form or another. The edges of an event are capable of shrinking so that you may recall there was a cake but not the color, the flavor, or the feel. But physics affirms that reality is subjective, though it fails to be objective about the consciousness that must affirm reality. For the most part people who pass as physicists base their reality on some sense or another. They stare at symbols and other analogical moments and write new ones down or type combinations into a keyboard. They choose each moment in a tunnel of consciousness. The worm is attached to an electrical, magnetic field that passes through the earth and informs the life forms who are conscious of it what the rest of creation nearby is doing. Like if it's wet or if a foot is coming down, the worm knows when to tense or perhaps to pray.

Perception through the senses is what passes for existence for most people as they tunnel vision their way through life. If we could feel the earth's magnetic field the way so many life forms can, or see the ultraviolet that so many life forms can, we would see the world as alive, vibrant and changing and all of it connected in "visible" and "invisible" lines. We would see the connections so vividly and intensely that when one form passed from "alive" to "not alive" it would be such a subtle shift of perception that we would hardly be conscious of it, and in my case means that I never stop talking to the dead, even after Halloween. I never stop offering them substance and subsistence, words of encouragement and awe. It just seems to be another day, another night, another page of symbols on a screen of bright white light.

Jon is in his bed, eyes wide open, pointed at the ceiling. The tiles like a Tetris field, are spotted with a non-changing pattern of black and white, black dots in a field of white. Consciousness changes but the field of black and white does not. Hundreds, thousands of black dots, some larger, some with bits of paint, bits of dust. With no short term memory, the tunnel filled with immovable debris, how many times would a person count the same dot? How many times have you thought the same thought, driven the same piece of road, touched the same thing, seen the same bit of wall or ceiling? I have a program that will upload pictures from my camera in seconds and will mark duplicates. When I touch the "upload" button, that pattern on the screen that changes before me and takes those duplicate perceptions, memories, away, and the pictures that are left are each a unique image of a moment in time. And my folder is compressed. If all your duplicate memories were compressed away, how much of you would remain? Your self consciousness would change. Change is life, so you'd know you were "alive", and every moment is unique as you pass through, to, and from, life.

Monday, October 22, 2007

How many people, do you suppose, blog on during something which will prove historically significant and miss the moment? I bet in the future when someone travels back in time to the hour when John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas they will be typing away about which blues artist was playing at a local pub and totally miss the asasination. We tend to get on over some detail that we find interesting. Like, for instance, it turns out that every personality who died tragically in the 1990's had said "fish" within fifteen minutes of their death. As more and more data is incorporated into online databases and more and more clever darlings are jacked in and think of pithy questions to ask the system it will be so interesting to see what comes out on the other side. Think about it, suppose you could ask the Akashic (sp) record to reveal the number of politicians who ran for public office in the first 2 decades of the 21st century who actually told the truth about their objectives and obligations and were honestly out to do good for the general public? What a bummer. Better to think your senator was really trying for you but couldn't get past 'the machine'.

The image is of an old mariner dragging his feet through the wet sand, pulling a laden net up past the tide line, dragging bits of wood, small jellyfish, kelp and sand along while the sea tries to drag it all back home in the deep. We try and haul and drag, and try again to get that cargo, that catch, back where we can use it to make our life something less than subsistence. In the end we get what we get, nothing more nor less. Isn't that so much like life in general? It would be great to think that if we had the phrase or tune or spell, we could make something great happen, something small like a life spared or a letter never delivered. But chances are things have their own momentum. This inertia of the universe is like a sleeping camel on the shifting sands of time. It's hooves dig in instinctively and the beast moves on, but without purpose and without guilt. For most folks, this is life.

But for a few, for a rare few, life is a race of doubts and gambles and hides and seeks. You move about the world thinking that you're doing pretty good and then something happens to you and it all goes on hold. Then you DO something to make it smoother, to make it do better, to make things happen. That's such a bad idea. People notice when you do something and then they get back at you, they DO things at you. They make you sad. Then you pop open a frosty can of Foster's and take a deep, long sip and suddenly it all makes sense. Yup, the idea is to catch a slight buzz from LIFE and not let it distract you from certain TRUTHS until the END, when it's all up to the rest of them anyway. And then you count your chips and decide what you're gonna do until the missus comes along. Usually this involves beer and watching people doing things they think are clever. That's a lot of fun. Not in a bad way, mind ya, no, it's just fun watching them try to pull it off. Then they move on and so do you. That's life.

I like to watch trees become earth, especially trees that I have climbed or touched in some way. Limbs fall, leaves slip and slide... bark becomes a radical element and falls away... then it's all dirt and you can plant tomatoes in it. Ah life, it tastes so good with a touch of lemon pepper or sea salt.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I took the plastic splint off my finger just now because I figured like any living thing it needed to breathe a bit. Well, it doesn't smell like a living thing, or completely healthy anyway. My finger smells like my son.See, when you are a caregiver to your child it is up to you to monitor their health, and the lizard brain part of us knows that smell is a powerful indicator of conditions out there. Somebody hands you a child and you will sniff the air even if you don't realize it at the time. So here's a way to share: take a pair of cotton socks and put them on. Put on a pair of sneakers, old or new, it doesn't matter. Now wade in a piece of natural water, and by that I mean like a stream, pond or ditch. Walk around for a day in this foot gear and then sit down, take off the sneakers, take off the socks and then bring that foot as close to your nose as possible and sniff. That smell of saturated flesh and bacterial growth is the smell of a person who keeps their hands clinched due to contractures of the tendons, like for years at a time. I roll a washcloth, dry, and stuff it into Jon's grip so instead of clinching hand, he's clinching something else, something dry and pretty sterile.

What's happening to my finger with that plastic splint and tape is the water stays in place, the water extracted from my finger itself and the water in the air. The skin has more than it can handle and conditions melt down, like when you invade a country, disband it's army and police force and open all the doors. Like that. It stinks to high heaven, but it also stinks to hell. It basically smells all wrong, even if you don't know what could make it right, at least you know something's wrong.

What would be your self image if you yourself smelled different and wrong? How would YOU feel if in front of you were two hands all twisted and shrunken, oblivious to your suggestions? One of my fingers is swollen, stitched, stinks and is the wrong color. But I know, in my heart, that it is healing, because in large part I have faith in my doctor. He knows my name, he jokes with me and he is careful when he handles my hand. Oftentimes Jon is spoken to by another name because his forms show his full name but there is no space for the name by which he used to be called. When you are trying to call forth a demon or a god you need to know their true name. When you are trying to catch the attention of and cooperation of a person it would seem obvious that you should use the name they most identify with. For instance, a metaphor: my finger smells like a well worn, damp sock just released from a sneaker. The skin is white and peeling off here and there and too pink elsewhere. If I call it "My Finger" I don't really feel comfortable because it neither acts like my finger, nor smells like my finger. It's in the right spot, but all else is a question mark. When my son looks down at his body or at a mirror if they have one there, he sees a strange contortion of a person, ageless and twisted, nothing like the drumming, dancing, driving, dog-loving young man who left to work in Arizona over 7 years ago.

I have to be patient for my skin to heal, but my finger will always be bent and different. They tell me nothing can be the same after such a trauma and I have faith they are right about that. I understand how such things can happen, even to nice guys like me and my son Jon.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How shall I put this? It's about hypocrisy and it's about truth. Not Truth, nor certainly not TRUTH but just a direct correspondence between what is known and what is revealed. Take for example if I say "There is a car." If you can confirm that there is in fact an automobile not right where the speaker is, but elsewhere in space or time you could say "That's true." Now let's say that as you confirm that truth you note in a peripheral way that there are also many other cars not exactly where the speaker is and we have to face the "a". If the emphasis is on the "there" and the finger of the speaker is directed in line with a red car parked nearby there would be no doubt about the truth, but if the emphasis is on "a" then there is an element of untruth, for in fact there are 6 cars, all different colors, makes and models. That's how you get deniability. In a moral sense a childlike mind would offer one truth while retaining in the back pocket a copy of that other truth, knowing both truths to be aspects of a larger truth. The neighborhood in which the six cars park is bristling with small children playing unattended on and off the street. To debate internally over the position of a car or the color of a car is to watch in horror as children are struck down and killed, or worse. To be ethical one would address the environment and full content of available truth. "There's a red car about to hit those children!" would be an excellent example of an ethical truth.

To point to an image taken from an orbiting camera of three trailers parked in the desert and say "Those could be biological laboratories cooking up toxins to spray on American cities!" is a moral choice, a moral truth. The speaker knows that although they could, they most certainly are not, but they could be. In fact, if the speaker had the opportunity to have such labs exactly there, he would. Because the Creator of the Universe has placed in his hands the chance to free the Holy Land and trigger the Final Days. Naturally the reward for doing all this would be great, even eternally great, but the speaker allows himself to think that this is a moral truth, one that will bring about far greater good than the small harm it causes. This almost works as an ethical truth if the speaker is so ignorant of the nuances of the intelligence behind the image that he or she cannot know of alternative realities. A very stupid and ignorant mind, like a child's, would make such a statement and trigger not the Final Days but just miserable, deadly days like so many millions before when people speak or act who are not so much child-like as abused child-like or even autistic and abused child-like, because they would do so knowing that the deaths of millions are possible and the deaths of hundreds of thousands most likely. They would enable such death for the good of a select few and the horror of hundreds of millions world wide.

Partial truth delivered in knowledge of more detailed, nuanced truth is a lie in an ethical system. In a moral system it might be a revelation, as when a mind imagines a truth in spite of all that is around it which is known to be true, but the ultimate source of that truth is above truth and is itself a higher order of truth, a TRUTH above all others. That being the given, naturally the truth becomes a revelation, an empowerment to overcome adversity, such as inconvenient truths or shades of truth. A addict of TRUTH will do anything to wring out of truth that which it craves: a high, a bliss, a rapture.

In some universes such truth is perceived as madness.

Strip away the links to our own heritages and examine the story of how Moses first enters the world of men. His birth was a copy of a story told many times before and since of a miraculous birth, seemingly a gift from Nature Herself, not really important because it can't be confirmed anywhere else by any other means.It's possible the man himself never even heard the story. Then there's his entrance to the main stage when he murders an Egyptian, a fellow Egyptian, actually, as "Moses" is not a Hebrew Name, but an Egyptian. So this Egyptian murders a man and frightens his servants and/or slaves so much that he has to hide in the desert. Later he returns and uses that fear to bind them to him and he takes away the man's servants/slaves and they become his. His word is Law, even unto death, and he provides them with a religion in which he is the sole authority. He demands strict adherence to his commands and tells a world view of domination, even global domination with death around them for all who will not obey him.

In some universes such TRUTH is perceived as madness.

The truth about America is complex as a human brain. Some things we can never know, but aside from the Hollow Earth Societies and political parties most will agree that religious incompatibility brought the founders of this nation to this land. Because the people who came were looking to build a New Jerusalem and bring Heaven to Earth, we can be sure they were looking at a Truth rather than a truth. They prayed all the time and in time they preyed all the time. They ate meat, they killed to survive. They suggested that the natives might be the lost tribe of Israel and then proceeded to slaughter them by the thousands with disease, bullets and deceit. It was genocide and in time it was not only sanctioned by the government but financed by the government as policy, even up to the 1900's. That's when the vast concentration camps, called "Reservations" were protected by the government, managed by the wealthy for the benefit of the few. Before the casinos, when the deserts and wastelands were home to millions of native people. They sold pottery by the roadsides, bought by galleries and sold for thousands, the old women lived their lives in clay huts eating beans and corn and squash, all gifts from the Goddess.

So we were founded by slave owning, wealthy businessmen as a corporation of wealthy like-minded individuals who would forever more dictate the lives of the masses, the non-whites, the wmoen, children, slaves and animals. It was to be Heaven on Earth. We went to war with our neighbors to take their land and own their slaves. We bought on the cheap, rewrote our history, and let go of rights one painful, difficult step at a time. But, like any good tug of rope, the movement of rights vs rules goes back and forth and we enter a time again when the leader of this corporation has been granted by other like-minded wealthy individuals the right to enslave individuals in secret prisons, even citizens, without oversight of any kind. These people may be tortured, killed or abandoned in some foreign land. They may number as high as the President deems appropriate and none may question this, nor expect answers from the President or his assigns.

In some universes this is perceived as a rotating dictatorship. Insofar as there are freedoms in such a place, there is the freedom of ethical anarchy and flexible moral restraints. The Law of the Land creates the Land of the Lawless. There is Rule, but not rules. There are decisions, but no debate. There is TRUTH, but no truth.

To understand all this and say nothing, do nothing, is hypocrisy unless ones says nothing and does nothing for the rest of one's life.

In some universes this is perceived as Slow Death or even soul death. It's rarely sought by so many so eagerly in this country today.

Friday, September 21, 2007

So what started as a bump on my finger turned into a major fooforall. Doc Izzo thought it was going to be a cyst on an arthritic joint so he put me on Celebrex. A month later the thing is bigger and starting to hurt. Eventually we go to urgent care and they are nervous. They suggest a hand specialist. Next day the pain is about a 9 and the finger looks more like a sausage with the bump a noble rider on his off-color steed. We go to the ER in Saratoga, not a great choice according to the rumors but the closest one with morphine. They let me in, check out the monster and decide to cut. They swab it with iodine and slice it open after one shot of novocaine. Nah, I need 4-5 shots I say, I'm mostly immune to novocaine. To hell with that they think and cut away. Blood pours out but no expected pus. Hmmm, they say, and debate which needle to thrust into me. I suggest more pain meds and they chuckle, thinking I must be so stoned from the one dinky shot. No, I am hurting. They select a 18 needle and drive it into the joint, looking for the mythical pus. No such luck. Well they drill and poke and no pus so they put some bandages on it and suggest I see a hand doctor.
Next day I go see Doc Izzo and after freaking out a bit he wants me to see a real specialist. So I went to see the local hot-shot orthopedic guys. The first man walks in and says "Jeez! What is that?" well, that was disappointing. I said, "You're not supposed to say that. You're supposed to say Oh, that! We can fix that right away." Well he examines it and decides it might have started as a mucous cyst but it had moved on. He calls in another doctor who goes thru the "Jeeez!" phase and they both decide to bring in Dr. Byrt, who is top dog with hands. He looks at it, freaks a bit, says he never saw anything like it and says "We have to get that taken care of, we'll schedule you for surgery tomorrow morning!"
Next day I go to the surgery center, which is a lovely building with high ceilings and windows. I get called in, dress in the gown and toddle off to the OR. Doc Byrt is there and he introduces the team, I lay down and he shoots me several times with something, maybe novocaine. Then, unlike the ER nurse, he waits for it to hit! Yeah, he doesn't want me to hurt. What a concept. It takes about 15 minutes for him to open the finger, dig out the weird tissues, scrape the bone spurs away and sew me up. The only discomfort was the scraping part when I could feel the vibrations and think about the bones being laid out in the air. Not fun. They splint me up and away I go home.
This morning I went back to the Doctor's and brought him a jar of elderberry jelly, which I understand is his favorite and which I just made from the berries down the street. We check out the stitches on the finger, they look okay, no swelling or redness and I asked him about the distinct bend at the end of the digit. "Is that ever going away?" I ask. "No." He says. "Dang." says I. Then I go my merry way and start typing the story up. I'm not sure about the exact sequence of visits and days because I saw so many doctors, but this is about the whole story. I'm pretty sure that a simple problem was worsened by the ER probing and slicing, but I can't prove anything so it doesn't matter except that I will likely go to Glens Falls ER next time and see if they can understand "I am mostly immune to pain meds, give me lots!"
Now I just have to deal with the bag of elderberries and the bag of wild grapes in the context of there being so far no stores carrying pectin to make jelly. I may extract the juice of at least the elderberries and use it to make mellomel, or fruit juiced mead. I did that last year and it was great.
I hope the finger heals fast, as I don't intend to visit Jon with a wound on my finger. I know he has MRSA, or did, and one of us might infect the other. I could lose a finger and he could lose his life, such as it is. Next week I plan to have him taste the elderberry jelly and if he responds I want to try other flavors on his tongue and see if I can get him to lick his lips when I talk about the jelly. If he responds then maybe we can get him to lick his lips on demand. That would be a good start on communication, and on showing the docs that he can still think, he just can't move.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I write about the War sometimes because I know that a good part of Jon's problems could be addressed if we weren't spending $12B a month on killing babies for profit.

It's hard to understand how, but I read that Democrats are claiming that the troop reduction of 30K is because of things they did. They expect credit for a partial success. Amazing. This cabal of supersized egos are participating in the dismantling of a 200+ year old Republic and they want credit for watching Bush do what he had planned to do months ago. The idea that Pelosi could take credit for anything above dressing herself is staggering. She's an idiot fighting a psychotic by tossing cupcakes. There's a very good chance this whole stack of cards could implode before too long. Eventually the Iraqi's themselves will be screaming at us to leave and it will be difficult to make a case for continuing the occupation after that, but we will. Hillary or someone like her will make the tough decision to continue killing people over There so we don't lose lives over Here. But they are already over Here and getting ready to start planting roadside bombs any day now. How can we stop them? They might be Us.

If we get a real President, one actually elected by the People, we might pull out of the Mideast, out of the role of Supplier of Weapons to the World, stop protecting Israel from itself, and focus on rebuilding a democratic republic, or God forbid, a Democracy here at home. Im der Homelandt. Seig Heil. Don't hold your breath. I am very interested in finding out what was the deal that turned Pelosi over to the Dark Side. Power? Destruction of some embarrassing photos? Money? Or is she just so stupid and naive she thinks sitting with Bush and smiling is leadership?

4 million people displaced. A trillion dollars more or less blown on killing and destroying. Thousands of Americans dead, tens of thousands of Americans terribly wounded, some for life. Hundreds of thousands of civilian men, women, children, babies, all dead. This is Bush's idea of success. Which God would admire this carnage, reward His good follower? Yahweh for sure, but also Shiva, Satan, Mars... there's a lot of gods who are into blood and death. George has assured himself a seat in the darkest, coldest region of Hell. He probably expects to be made a Duke of Hell, certainly Cheney is already one. It's all sad, but not unexpected. The worse it gets the more it falls into that category of history that is labeled "inevitable". Power to the privileged few, apathy of the masses, keep them scared, keep them ignorant. It's only people who can think critically, are well informed and who understand the dangers of not caring about others who can see the way out, but they have no power. The survivors will know the dangers. I just wish I knew that the enemies of the State, what we used to call Congress, the Executive and the Supreme Court, will someday really understand the magnitude of their crimes. I think George knows. He's looking more frightened as nothing he does (that involves more slaughter) seems to make our enemies weaker. He has no idea where he is or what he is trying to kill. 5,000 years of war in that region, for centuries blood has flowed down the Tigris and now it's American blood, gallons of it. No wonder Ishtar is waking and furious. If only George had been sober during world history class.

I wonder what we will call the remnants of America? I wonder if we will be allowed to remain in the U.N.? Probably best if they put a concrete wall around us and prohibit anyone from doing business with us. That should make the world safer for awhile.

The Blues ain't nothing but a good man feeling bad.

America ain't nothing but a good concept gone bad.

America ain't nothing.

Fly the flag upside down, this is a national disaster.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Man it's been a busy summer. Got rid of the older Volvo, the 'newer' one has 180,000 miles on it. The gardens have been expanding with all those plants fighting for space. I tend to plant in such a way that some plants have to relocate, like my bugleweed is a ground cover and other plants try to get in or overshadow it, so it sends out runners and looks for a better neighborhood. I also like to plant a shitload of sunflowers of all sizes and colors. Not only are they great looking but when the chipmunks eat the heads they lose some seeds and we get new sunflower next spring. The thing is since they are usually hybrid flowers, the children flowers are often very different, not unlike humans.

The other thing I did was go get my left sciatic nerve burn in half with high frequency radio waves. Now I don't get a blast of pain down the leg every time I move wrong. They eliminated 90% of my pain in the left leg in three sessions! Of course now I can feel my right leg much more, but the pain there tends to be more local, like a white faced hornet in the middle of my calf.

Recently I developed a mucous cyst on my left index finger. I have osteoarthritis in my hands and that joint was the lumpiest. Well the damn thing grew, got infected, grew some more, spread down the hand. Finally Saturday I went to the urgent care place and got it looked at. They gave me antibiotics and said I needed to see a hand doctor. Sunday the pain was so bad, in spite of my pain meds for the back, and we went to the ER. They were very nice and got me right in because I was close to screaming. I gave it a big 9 on the pain scale. They shot me with Novocaine, ignoring me telling them that I am mostly immune to the stuff and I would need like 9 shots to get numb. Then they sliced it open and got about a half cup of blood. I couldn't look, I'm such a baby. Margaret looked for me. They took a needle looking for pus, driving it into the wound while I gritted my teeth and gripped the side bar of the table. No pus. So they talked it over while I shook and whimpered on the table. Then they got a bigger needle and drove it into the joint! Well I tried not to alarm the guys waiting in the front room so I ground my mouth shut and screamed bloody murder. Remember that one shot of Novocaine? Might as well been given an aspirin. They wrapped it up with antibiotics and said go see a specialist. Monday we went to see a specialist and he put me on the mother of all antibiotics and told me to come back in a couple of days. So, today I go back and the swelling and pain had retreated to just that finger and just the last two joints. He said we should "stay the course" so I asked him what he thought about Iraq? He grinned and shook his head. I said I have an "Impeach Cheney?" cap and I wear it down town but nobody wants to talk to me about it. Either they are all afraid of secret police or they all agree with me.

So I can't work in clay because of the botulism in it, I'm on 3-4 times the normal dose of pain meds so driving is problematic. I'm finally taking enough to kill the pain, but who knows what it's doing to my kidneys! I can't go see Jon because I might infect him or he might give me his MRSA, or highly resistant to most antibiotics bacteria, in which case I might die or he might die. Either way it sucks.

The tomatoes are ripe, as are the grapes, although I haven't seen too much wild grapes. I have ferrel concord grapes. The elderberries have been magnificent this year, huge black clumps of berries! I made some jelly and gave a lot away and I plan some more elderberry mead, maybe grape mead or even a mix. When I went to the ER for my hand my finger tips were stained purple from pulling off elderberries and the nurse gasped and said she thought it was some terrible disease. Well it did look odd.

We are changing furniture and making the house more Danish modern with a mix of country cottage, since this little cracker box of a house is really a cottage. Margaret found a great sectional couch in Craig's for $100 bucks! It's teak and in fine shape, although the cushions smell strongly of urine. We bought some new couch foam cushions and now Margaret's going to sew up some covers. It's great having two couches because we turned them at an angle, so as to NOT make the TV the end all and be all, and we plan to move all my dvds into the guest room. That's the dinky room where the previous owners stuck their kids.

And that's what I have been doing lately. That and taking photos of my art so I can up load it here. I have a studio filled with greenware but I can't fire my noborigama until I hook up a propane burner to let me use propane for 12 hours and finish with 4-6 hours of me tossing in wood and salt. If I could get a helper I could fire much longer, especially if they had an intact spine.

Well that's it. Next time I can use my left hand and I will discuss more significant doings.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

This is something I started writing awhile back and I figured I'd post it and see how it reads...

I'm looking out the window at one of my neighbors, an army reservist who did some ungodly amount of time in Afganistan and Iraq and came back with one arm intact. The guy used to tinker a lot, work around the house, now they don't have much hope for his rehab because he just wanders off and putters, one handed, around his property.

The other day I saw him dragging in long branches from the ice storm and piling them into brush piles, maybe for the rabbits to play in or something. This day was different, he looked different. Then I spotted what he'd added to his arm, the stump of which now sported a small electric hedge saw and he was using a battery pack to power it as he sliced through the brambles and branches until he reached the larger branches, whole trunks of elm toppled by the weight of tons of ice last winter. Most were at least 6 inches across. Sorry, neighbor, time to call in the big boys.

Then he walked back to his big white truck and fiddled around in the back. He turned around and was now sporting a small 2 cycle chain saw, about 14 inches. Sorry, trees. He's back! And in a few minutes he had chopped and sawn his way around the debris pile, making order out of chaos. I could see how he had pilled up kindling against the winter, how fence posts and garden posts were stacked up to dry, and the brambly stuff was piled up for the rabbits. When he needed to switch to a different tool he would walk back to the truck until he eventually had finished the job. The chipper attachment bothered me, but he must have been wearing ear plugs because he never blinked or flinched, not even with the big stuff.

Now I'm afraid to talk to him when I see him in town. He wears his army issue arm in town and I find myself staring at it. My wife thinks I'm being rude and my attempts to explain don't sound very reasonable. I did try this morning to talk to him, but he just wanted to talk about solar rechargable oil-cooled tools and appliances. He went on about all the panels he had around his property, all wired into a box in his house, in his garage, even down by his fish pond, for the extension trimmer he built. He showed it to me. Don't get me wrong, I like ingenuity and stick-to-it-ness, but he began to sound like a salesman.

That's when I thought about my other neighbors, what a great bunch of guys and gals they all are, mostly. But also somewhat easily influenced, especially with tools and toys. I know soon one of them will slip up and have their arm replaced with a 4 cycle Stihl/Lumber-King Sawmill all powered by methane, also locally produced. Propane heating grills and flame throwers for weed control while making a great burger! I can almost smell the smoke.

This could be such a bad summer, and it's already just begining.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Imagine, if you will, a little bit of sculpted jelly. Shape it as you will, name it if you want. Now drop that figure into a vessel of clear material so that the first rests about half way from the bottom. Now consider if you will what we have here. The figure, if cognizant of anything other than itself, nevertheless cannot see the material in which it is suspended. So it appears to float, at least to itself, because we can see the vessel. But the vessel might very well be aware of itself and the things around it, and if so, what would be it's view of the universe. And so on to the air around the vessel and the very blood in my veins. But if any of it makes sense, then it all makes sense, but it all depends on your senses. As you walk through the crowded air you touch so many very aware beings about which, no doubt, you are mostly ignorant. Except, maybe when you get a virus or infection. Maybe a tumor.

So this little figure of a being is swishing it's arms and looking around, and maybe has a sense of some 'other' out past space. Eventually it becomes pretty darn sure we are watching, maybe some thought comes to it, some sense of presence.

It turns slowly around, twisting and flailing away, but of course the invisible material matches it's temperature and bends no light, so... No matter how hard it moves, we are always there, watching, for as long as it can remember.

And now what does the invisible material think of all this? Has it been supporting the carved figure, invisibly, all along until suddenly there we all are, and only a few of us know most of the whole reality. Or at least the limited number of relationships I've willing to consider. Just a handful of gods and only one mortal. But if you recognize symbolically that the invisible supporting material is Feminine and the vessel itself becomes the Grail. It's amazing. But I digress. The gods, though, watching all the time just doesn't sound like me for very long, so you know I will have to touch or tap the vessel to see what happens. Tapping the vessel would have a bucket load of symbolic significance as well. The list goes on and on. Small wonder some folks freak when they start laying it all out. That is, the matter of relationships both known and unknown, the awareness or not of the so-called individuals, for at some point, just like tapping the vessel, I would be compelled to mention how much water I have in me, how much in the air around me. What if you suspend yourself in warm pools and think of cold pools, or little figures in panic, running endlessly through the very material which suspends and defines it. Even the vessel must be changing if entropy makes any sense. And change is life, so there you go!

So I will leave you with the thought of you considering a being suspended by an invisible, loving, and protecting existence, in a clear vessel, and the reflection of yourself on it's surface, oddly not distorted at all.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

There's a song in Johnny Cash's "Cash" album called 'Sam Hall'. It's based on an old old song about a man going to be hung for a terrible murder. One of the lines Johnny sings sounds exactly like Dad when he was singing similar songs to us, often following us around the house singing loudly, making up lyrics and generally acting like a drunk at a wedding reception. Man, I sure miss those concerts now. "My name it is Sam Hall, Sam Hall. My name it is Sam Hall, it is Sam Hall. MY name it is Sam Hall and I hate you one and all. I hate you one and all, damn yer eyes!" Seems curious, doesn't it? Yet Daddy didn't hate anybody, unless you count bigots and fools. Still, he didn't take crap from anybody either. "Well, the sheriff he came too, he came too. The sheriff he came too, he came too. Well, the sheriff he came too and he said, Sam how are you? Well, Sheriff how are you, damn yer eyes!" Dad spent time in prison, hard time, and he came out sounding like he had actually tried to get some good out of it, some kind of better attitude.

I see old men from time to time who look just like Dad. They're big in the gut, white haired and deliberate in their actions. They act like men going somewhere, taking no grief from anybody until they finally drop dead either lifting something too heavy or just pass out in their naps, leaving behind sons and wives but not too many close friends. They were just too ornery. Lately I seem to see them more and more, in stores and at gas stations. I think maybe they were there all the time, but now that I see them in my bathroom mirror I see them more on the street.

Dad went tiger hunting once, in India. It was during the war, WW2, and Dad was stationed in Calcutta or some big city like that. He and his buddy had been refining work on their still that Dad had designed. They decided it would be great fun to take a tiger skin home so they took a jeep and a couple of machine guns and went into the jungle looking for big cats. They were not brave men, just stupid according to Dad and they had a hard time finding tracks. I bet Dad thought that since he was a Kentucky born tough guy he'd be able to track a tiger through the jungle but they never found any tracks. Dad said they sobered up after a few hours and as they were getting into the jeep to drive back to the base they noticed a huge tiger who'd been standing a few feet away quietly watching them look for tracks. They jumped into the jeep and high tailed it home without firing a shot. He seemed a bit embarrassed by that admission years later and being Dad did not pump up the story with any crap about shooting the cat and leaving the skin or anything. He sadly admitted that sober and tired their only thought was to get away from the beast before he stopped being amused at their antics.

Dad bought a baby once. He was in the market place and a woman was trying to sell him stuff he didn't want. He got tired of it all and held out some coins and offered to buy the woman's baby. "Oh, no, Sahib! NO!" she said. He added a couple of coins to the handful and she suddenly thrust the baby at him, grabbed the coins and scampered into the crowd. Seems the baby was a girl and not very valuable to a poor family. Dad kept the baby in the barracks and the men took care of her for a few days and then they took her to an orphanage nearby. She would be about 60 years old now and probably never knew that for a few days she was an American.

Dad claimed to never get lost, being a surveyor and all. One time we were at friends having a barbecue and the parents were drinking hard, as they did back then. After midnight Dad and Mom got us in the car and Dad insisted on driving home. Mom never won that kind of argument so she would say, "Just don't kill us, Bill." Dad drove off into the night. Several times Mom asked him where we were going and he always insisted that he knew perfectly well where we were and to leave him alone. Suddenly he stopped the car. The headlights seemed to shine off into space. He got out of the car and walked ahead a few feet and stopped. Mom got out and joined him. It seems that the dirt road we were on that wound round the mountain just ended. There was nothing ahead but stars. Dad said, "Well, the last time I was on this road it went somewhere!" He insisted on driving down the mountainside because there was no turnaround and we had to back down the road until we got to the main road and Dad was able to get us pointed in the right direction. For years Dad insisted that somebody had changed the road. I'm not sure they hadn't.

I've seen a fair amount of men that reminded me of Dad but none of them had the same quality of stories that Dad had. He was a rare man and it hurts my heart when I spot some old coot at the gas station filling up his truck's tank, glaring at the credit card reader through his reading glasses. I bet he has some stories to tell if you asked him, but I bet he never hunted tigers in the jungles of India.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Somehow today I started thinking about Good and Evil. I'm not sure I can recall why, but I think it had to do with this story about a Holocaust denier vs a Holocaust historian. The thought was, that the denier was evil because they asserted something that was wrong, that they asserted that the Holocaust had not occured, whereas the historian was good for the inverse reason. Anyway during the debate they talked about the need to always remember so that such a thing never occurs again. To which I said (to the radio) that we should therefore have a series of memorials and holidays to never forget the genocide which helped birth this nation. We had a stated purpose of killing every man, woman and child who opposed our dominance, who asserted that we had to right to build upon and farm their ancestral lands. They were evil and so we had no need to remember their genocide. Even if the few survivors might like to have us remember our crimes, they are descended from evil and therfore are tainted. At least that's the way it reads in the Old Testament. Nevertheless, I began to think about how people who are the rankest evil never think of themselves as such, never get up and say "I'm doing something evil today, I am a bad person." Even if they know everyone around might think so, they still rape, murder, burn, eat and so forth in the full faith that what they do supports some form of Order. We did all that and are doing all that today even as we speak. Little nameless 14 year old girls are being raped and murdered in Iraq, in our name. That has to be evil. And so good would be to oppose that evil, and opposed we are. They destroyed two, maybe eight buildings and somewhat over 3000 people to oppose our position that we are supreme leaders of the world, in part because the Soviets are bankrupt in too many ways. That's a bit problematic when one looks at our history and national bank accounts. But I digress.

I decided, finally, that Good was that which supported life. Thus, Hitler was acting in Evil when he ordered the Holocaust because it destroyed life. In fact lots of life. Our bombing of Dresden and Bagdad and Hiroshima and Nagasaki was evil, too, for that same reason. There is quite a bit of both evil and good in the universe. For instance most of my cells are taking in energy, growing and splitting and otherwise contributing to life. So my body is good. I drink beer and sometimes smoke, so I am evil as that hurts life. I fathered two children, so I am good, as that promoted life. I grow gardens, so I am good. I digest, so I am evil. I walk on the earth, so I am evil. I expell carbon dioxide, so I am good. I expell carbon dioxide, so I am evil.

Get my drift? It's not as easy as it seems. Calling something Evil or Good based on finite things not capable of shades of value, just doesn't effectively cover the issue.

It's not a word game or a logic puzzle. It effects whether someone lives or dies, and the manner of both. If we agree there is both evil and good in all things then we can agree not to destroy life in the name of protecting life. It doesn't balence out, it's just evil. There is no greater good than good itself, and somehow machine gunning down a small town of old men just isn't part of any greater good, it's just lacking in all elements of good.

The Catholic church got all upset about a chocolate Jesus but chocolate promotes life and so is good, at least more good than priests raping little boys, which is not a creative act. To be part of some evil is not to be evil itself. Thus, all Americans need not apologize for the genocide of the Natives, but should never forget, so that it might never happen again. The thing to never forget is not the dates and times and numbers of dead, but that it was promoted as a greater good that merely looked like evil because there were dead bodies involved and burning homes. But loss of life and deliberate taking of life must be evil and there can be no greater good when death is involved.

The day after the greatest destruction in our schools since forever... or so they say. Again you get sucked into the problems of Good and Evil, and again I find I can see how a mind can find Good in recklessly killing random and selected people where they can not prepare, nor defend, a reckless but not brave act, and in the minds of many people, a sane mind, a good boy.

The radio show host asks how do you find any sense to this? Those who can trully see sense are busy preparing to beat his score and the ones who have no idea are like lambs in the pasture, cows in the field, bottles on a fence. We are busy doing what we see as important, like raising things to eat and piling up rocks. Eventually we learn to ride and we use that skill to ride over and hit someone from above. Took awhile, but some sick bastard figured that out. 32 dead. more or less. Yet the President is horrified! and oddly enough, up til now, for all the hundreds of thousands of people who died with bullets and shrapnel, and concusive force, walls of houses and so forth...I would expect by simple arithmatic that the President should by now be so horrified that he would be unable to move a finger, because every time he sneezes, six people die. When he scratches his leg, a dozen die. He should be frozen with guilt and fear, but he's not. He's detached and aloof and able to see the greater good. Just like Jim Jones and Adolf, and the rest of them various tribal leaders. They only see the greater good, which is, mostly, what the voices inside them say is right and good. Sometimes they get touched in special ways and then a whole city might burn. Meanwhile some of us have learned to chew a cud while others have slipped off and gotten small.

Suppose you had a rich idiot, a drunken slob of a born again, back-sliding bully of a twerp and his father got elected governor. Suppose for the most part you could control this jerk and get him to use his father's money and power to set you both up, all of you up in a real nice sweet situation. The great thing is, nobody can get hurt, except the poor slobs at the end of the food chain, but hey, that's mother nature, right?

Actually it is Mother Nature, but so is the entire circle within a circle so that eventually the poor slobs are doing fine and the twerp and friends, such as they are, are nailed down to a sad fate as an aside in history: At this point the influence of America on the world stage effectively ceased to be... it's citizens were far too busy "following the money" and finding out how a nation as huge and wealthy as the United States could be penniless, in fact owing trillions of dollars to the new superpowers, China and India.

So what comes around goes around and so forth, like the flu, like a pandemic, like a fad.

I suppose it might be like being a jellyfish and getting caught up in a wave where some guy is breaking a world record. Maybe you know that overhead some guy is ding something great, or maybe you don't, but meanwhile you are swimming the swim of your life trying not to end up on the sand way up there where the water hardly ever goes. You're too busy to see the fine details, to pain attention to the form of the wave. Too bad, because it's lovely. It's good. But it might take a jellyfish to it's death. Thing is, the surfer most likely never at any time during their record breaking experience included the desire to screw up that damn little jellyfish. So nobody set anybody up, they just got there.

But somebody got there with guns and extra ammo, a plan, and a final, totally controlled finish. Where could he have learned such an admiration for the thought and action of killing as many people as you can, people you don't know, or who you do... but people who cannot stop your destruction. Like you were a god, or a hero. It's just a shift in perspective and an abandonment of some basic cultural and biological rules. Like killing babies, or screaming students in their classroom.

I'm having a hard time telling the difference between his bullets killing the innocent and our bullets killing the innocent. The blood is always the same color.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I'm supposed to start working on Aphrodite soon, as in yesterday, but somehow the thought of working at Skidmore again has me apprehensive and nervous. Maybe if Regis hadn't set me up right next to his wheel, in front of all those students I could handle it but I am quite shaky and disturbed. I think it's the studio, but it could be fears about the exhibit itself. Yesterday I called them to let them know I was starting the work and they told me I might not have to do it, that there may not be room for any more work. It's strange, because Aphrodite was the first goddess piece they said they wanted, and they got all excited about it. Now they may not need her. I have to get Ishtar to the studio somehow and get her fired. That has me nervous too. What if the arms break, or the sword snaps off? The firing itself I'm not too worried about if they start slow and 'soak' the kiln for a couple of hours at low heat. It might very well be the fact of working in front of people, even if those people have more than enough to do than watch what I'm doing. It is, after all, the end of the school year.

Yet my hands are shaky, I have butterflies in the stomach and can't think very straight. There's a lot of issues: the students bump things, steal things, make noise. I like some classical music going on in the background but otherwise quiet time. Can I focus in a public setting? What if the thing fails near the beginning? I'm used to having a shit fit, tossing the clay in the bucket and then pouting in my chair slugging down a Fosters while I contemplate what went wrong. Can't do that at Skidmore for sure. Then there's Regis. What if he treats me like a student again and lectures me on my choices? I keep remembering him slashing my Osiris because he insisted I had made a mistake on the arms. He doesn't understand my reasoning, why I change scale and realism, how one thing slides into another. He likes consistency because he's a potter. Alice is one of the few sculptors who work at the studio from time to time and all her work is classical, perfect and clear. My is more disturbing and at times slightly nightmarish. Regis might not 'get it' and then we'd have to waste time and emotion talking about it.

I'm likely being paranoid. They may all be so busy they'll ignore me, but it still feels like trying to work in a subway. The problem, of course, is that my kiln is not ready to use and trying to move Aphrodite in my car to Skidmore for a firing would be inviting disaster. What to do? I suppose I should 'suck it up' and just go start the damn thing, even though the museum won't use it, somebody may buy it and some gallery may show it. Still I will miss my music and wingback chair and the occasional Fosters.

Maybe I can look for tires for the car today and start later at Skidmore. Maybe if Margaret comes to check things out, like tomorrow or Sunday... maybe then I'd feel less threatened. Oh well.

It might be that I am backing off my meds and I have been using them long enough that I have a slight case of withdrawal. That sounds very feasible. Jumpy, twitchy and nervous. Yup. That could be withdrawal. Crap. Grab some clay and work it out. I should build a mask expressing my disappointment over the exhibit. Go buy a beer. Something.

I'll let you know how it turns out.