Monday, January 29, 2007

Wrong on so many levels

Apparently these folks have never heard of the golden rule, karma or common decency.

I just don't care how righteous you feel, planning a party to celebrate someone's death is just wrong.

On my blog-versary, this is not my first choice of blog topic. Why or why could this story not have come out yesterday? Oh well, enough...too tired to fight it.

Open note to the Cubans in Miami:
Here it is, get over it.
You have been living in the U.S. for over fifty years now. Your kids don't want to go back; you don't either, if you are really honest with yourselves.

Get over IT.
Get OVER it.
G-E-T O-V-E-R I-T.

If you want any of us to take you seriously, do something that is not vengeful and vindictive. Mourn your lost love, if you must, but show us something, anything that isn't wrapped up in having lost power and possessions, to prove that we should care.

I just want you to dig deeper than your pity party for a moment and see if there is anything else of substance there.

Yikes, this is harsher than I meant it to be; it's been a long day.

Maybe try reading the articles that went with the last two blog entries and see if there is anything there that resonates with you. Does it make you think that maybe turning the other cheek is more than just a cute saying those people in your church use to adorn their holier-than-thou speeches?

I think I should stop now, it's not getting any better.


wow...two years...time flies

Sunday, January 28, 2007

More courage

Courage in tragic situations inspires me more than anything I can imagine.

This is certainly not taking the easy route. This is not crying in your bath water.
He spent 20 years addicted to alcohol and 14 years to drugs, but he turned his life around. Now, at 48, he spends nearly all his waking hours helping other battered souls, including fathers right out of prison, and drug and alcohol abusers, and fighting the violence that claimed his sons.
It's not just making lemonade out of lemons. It's the selflessness that impresses me. And the lack of self-pity, I imagine.

It's so easy to be bitter and self-absorbed. Too easy. It's much more difficult to see outside oneself, to use pain to make a learning experience for other people.

Ask me who I respect. It's a difficult question I have been puzzling about for a long time. (I've been meaning to blog about "respect" for a while.)

Clearly, those who, in the face of tragedy, pain and suffering, turn their energy to healing others win my respect every time.

At Lamar's funeral, Fuller handed out 250 business cards to young people. He told them he was there for them if they needed him as a father figure.
He's heard from half.
"Sometimes," he said, "I think maybe, just maybe my children were sacrificed for me to be there for so many other children, that maybe I had to lose something close to me to be able to gain a lot more and to give a lot more."

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Heartbreaking Courage

Though I wish that loving honesty about very difficult subjects were "factory installed" parenting skills, I have to admit that I am continually impressed and surprised to see the courage to be honest with your children.

I don't know if these folks would be as readily able to talk to their children about politics, sex or life in general, but I suspect that this experience will make them all treasure honesty more than your average bear.

Perspective is a magical thing. Here's to Aimee and her wonderful family. We all have something to learn from them.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My ideal schedule

Wake up -- early

Have tea/breakfast -- early enough

Exercise -- run, yoga, something, ANYTHING
Meditate -- just 10 or 15 minutes to set the tone of being in the moment

Get ready for the day -- shower, dress, primp -- for those of you who wonder, primping is usually what gets the short shrift

Walk to work -- or wherever I am going

Not be hurried or hassled all day

Walk home

Exercise -- yoga or run, whichever I didn't do in the morning.

Are there enough hours in the day?
Do I have the discipline and dedication to make this more than an ideal?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Is it any wonder?

Is it any wonder that so many people live in fear of being ridiculed? Bullying, it would appear, is not only to feared and expected in middle school. One only has to turn on the tv to be regaled with non-stop ridicule.

You could argue that these folks were asking for it by showing up to this audition, afterall, this is not the first year of the show. But, cruelty for cruelty's sake appears to be the order of the day. Any pretense that this was about finding talent has been dropped.

It's about making fun of people.

This is what I have suspected all along.

We can't expect children to stop bullying and ridiculing and reacting to this cycle of VIOLENCE (yes, I said it, this is violence) when the adults of the world find this entertaining.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Happy Birthday to you

In honor of Martin and all that he stands for in our history, and, hopefully, in our future. I wish that every year we would celebrate our memory of him by hearing his words or reading his words. To that end, I give you some of those words.

Happy Birthday Dr. King!

"The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding. It seeks to annihilate rather than to convert.

Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue.

Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers."
My favorite of Dr. King's writings, letter from a Birmingham Jail, should be required reading of all Americans.

For more inspiration, here is the full text of Dr. King's speech about Vietnam, I have a feeling he would have have a few choice words to say about Iraq.

Some excerpts, in case you don't have time for the whole speech, but please try to make the time:
Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nnviolence when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.
One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the callling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Common Valor

It should not be thought of as uncommon valor when someone sees another in need and does what he/she can to aid that person in need.

It should be the common reaction.

The man who jumped down to save the young man from being killed or dismembered was reacting in what is clearly his common reaction. He did not think of himself. He did not think of his daughters. He thought of that young man, knew there was something he could do, and did it.

My favorite part of the AP article is when he describes how he didn't think about his own safety until much later:
Meanwhile, Autrey said the impact of the risky rescue was sinking in. "It's all hitting me now," Autrey said. "I'm looking, and these trains are coming in now. ... Wow, you did something pretty stupid."
The NY Times article, of course, offers many more details. Maybe I am just overly emotional, but it made tears roll down my cheeks. Once again, the naturalness with which Mr. Autrey performed his heroism is plain to see:
Mr. Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker, said he knew something was different when he showed up for work later on Tuesday. His boss, he said, bought him lunch — a ham-and-cheese hero — and later told him to take yesterday off. Then yesterday morning, as he walked to his mother’s apartment in Harlem, “a stranger came up and put $10 in my hand,” he said. “People in my neighborhood were like, ‘Yo, I know this guy.’ ”
My absolute favorite part, however, is his suggestion to his fellow citizens:
Mr. Autrey had some final words: “All New Yorkers! If you see somebody in distress, go for it!”
How many times have we walked away knowing that there was something we could do?

How many times have we just done the right thing when instinct told us what to do?

I don't know about the difference between small town and big city values. I think it has more to do with how you see yourself in relationship to the world. I am not sure if you can truly teach it. You mostly learn it by seeing people you respect living this way.

I always think of my father who likes to talk to people doesn't know, picks up strangers on the street and once brought home a homeless man to stay at our house. My mother is never sure that my dad is doing the right thing. My dad is always sure.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

other news sources report...

From old faithful, aka NYTimes, over the past few days. There's plenty of good stuff here for a rainy day of newspaper reading!

I started by putting them in chronological order, but this is a MUST read. It is easily a three hanky story. A new mother (and NYTimes editor) reflecting on the loss of her fiance in Iraq, and the 200 page journal he created for his son, in case the father did not return. We should read everything like this and every other remembrance of the soldiers who have given their lives. I do not agree with this war, but I honor all the soldiers who are there, planning to go there, have survived, and especially those who have given their lives.

I could write a book on school reform, but I won't; suffice to say, it's a new year, but our challenges remain nearly the same as they were when NCLB was first authorized. What will the re-authorization hold?

It would appear that Chile has some lessons for us beyond the fact that they can elect a female president while we still debate whether or not one should run in our country.

Here's a year in review that doesn't make me gag: the deals of the year. Who knew business news could be so entertaining??

Reviewing an accidental governor as we re-invent the accidental president. I wonder what kind of retrospective will be written about our accidental governor; though his ascendancy can hardly be described as accidental. I am quite sure that it was all very careful planning and spending; and I doubt anyone will have very much to say about him in 50 years. I hope!

Oooh... I hardly ever want to be in Las Vegas, though I did enjoy the spa trip, and I wouldn't mind visiting my sister. But, I think it would be fun to see the unveiling of the new What does this say about my tastes and sensibilities??

YIKES... this is a scary story of power, denial and destruction in Los Angeles, and it's not about the Dahlia (which, I may add, I am still slogging through -- not a recommendation, but I actually paid for it, so I am going to finish it!).

The title of this piece, Second Thoughts on Gays in the Military, from a very unlikely source, is more provocative than it is substantive. You have to get several paragraphs in before he will admit to having second thoughts now, and his reason? Well, you should read it, but let's just say, DUH? or maybe: You think?? It's the world we live in, but I am still trying to figure out if I am the crazy one or if it's everyone else.

Almost there, I swear...just a few more stories...don't give up yet.

Deeply troubling story about closing local libraries for the afterschool hours to keep the hooligans (namely children, middle school students in this case) out.

Panel in NJ is trying to do the right thing about the death penalty. I guess there are a few others of like minds.

In case you were wondering if it is useful to keep studying (anything) into on.

no news is stupid news

It's really a wonderful thing to have news on demand; at least it is for news junkies like me. But on the days when easy news is not available (note, not all easy news is stupid), stupid news rules the day.

Here are some excellent examples of truly stupid news:
-Pat Robertson's predictions for 2007: given Pat's predilection for hyperbole and uncontrolled fundamentalism bias, no one needs to know what Pat thinks will happen in 2007.
-Lou Rawls Jr Sues Marvin Gaye III: ok, don't even bother with the link, whatever it is about, the headline tells you all you need to know: this is a useless piece of quasi-information.
-Inventor Creates Ping Pong for Three: once again, there really is NO need to read this article, though there is a picture. If I lived in Hawaii, I might be tempted to create useless pieces of entertainment as well.

There is something to be said for real reporting. One of the things that needs to be said is that it takes time. It requires a genuine interest in finding out something about a particular subject. It costs a little more than most news outlets are willing to pay.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Starbucks is dropping trans-fat from its goodies as of tomorrow in San Francisco. Do you think that will extend to Oakland???

This is JUST what I wanted for the New Year.

Just kidding.

If you want to know what you are getting into, you do have to check the site for the local goodies.

It's never happy news, but it is better to know what you are putting into your body than not to know. Right??