Thursday, December 22, 2011

The War Between the States of Mind

We've survived worse conflicts than the 99%/1% issue we're experiencing now. But the common root is some people want to get their work done for free, or virtually so, and keep all the profits, and some want to support others in making an honest living and having decent lifestyles. Slavery's outa style by now, isn't it? Isn't it??!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

It Was Ever Thus

History lasts a long time.  We are not the first (or last) to be frustrated or frightened by mean, stupid, or rotten ideals allowed power by ignorance.  Hopefully, we are not the last to help each other along.

Here are two of my favorite poems, to wit:

The World is Too Much With Us 
William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn.

Emily Dickinson 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb -of me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Alms for the Poor?

What a coup! Catholics are buying bankrupt crystal cathedral mega-church.

(Although I'd rather see them spending their money on feeding poor people, stuff like that.  Still, I find this move very amusing.)

From the story linked above:

"'The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, California is buying Robert Schuller's celebrated Protestant Crystal Cathedral megachurch for $57.5 million, the LA Times reports. The spacious, light-filled house of worship is a "a monument of 20th century modernist architecture,' the Times writes."

Monday, November 14, 2011

People Before Profit

We live these lives, we humans, and the focus is askew. It's imperative that we focus on making whatever form of money our culture calls for so that we can have safety, comfort, security, maybe a little fun. I wish what we would care about most as a species is truly knowing our loved ones, and not so loved ones, to the finest detail of their personalities. And if we did that, we wouldn't fight over the food and water and comfort. Idealism. Seems so reasonable to me.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


I saw an article today stating (in a derisive tone) that many of the "Occupy..." protesters "live in luxury, in homes worth $500,000 and go to private schools." Among the conclusions drawn were that occupations were about getting in on fun parties. Allow me to explain: those who are comfortable are sometimes willing to sacrifice a little comfort for those who are miserable. Do the math: that's the difference between 99% and 1%.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Diamond in the Rough

I used to think a diamond in the rough was a diamond chip that was lost in the grass - maybe I equated it with the image of "a catcher in the rye." Then I went to a jeweler's with a friend who said, "show her the rough diamond!" The Jeweler showed me a diamond in the rough. Looked like a piece of broken glass, slightly worn down. How could she tell it was a diamond? She knew how to look at it.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Humans Before Profits

Would you like to know what the "Occupy Wall Street" protests are all about? Here's the statement:

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Technology Meeting

Spider is a miracle
climbing by slips on nearly invisible thread.
I can watch it and still face toward
the speaker at the front of the room who is taking no stance.
His boss on the sidelines shoots him a glance.  He leans on the podium asking for thoughts.
His empty follow up questions convolute our responses into null sums.

Back to the spider:
Three of us watching it, none presume to impede.
Down some and up several times it glides to a stop on the tabletop and walks.
Could the man beside me casually rest his arm down and smash it?
I reach over, “Do you mind if I save it?”
It crawls onto my fingers. I set it on the floor behind us at the baseboard.

“Somebody might step on him now,” the man says low.
But the spider disappears into a crevice.
We turn back to business and I get the feeling
that the spider might’ve wanted its web in the ceiling.
And the speaker, more vague with each breath since he started,
Had planned to say more but his thunder was thwarted.

Of the people, by the people, for the people: that's US

‎"America's representative democracy... the government of the people, by the people, for the people," said Lincoln, reminding us of our identity in 1863. Today, I wonder why so many dismiss the fact that WE (the people) ARE the government. We all have the opportunity to have our say, and elect our representation, except in one area of life: Corporations base leadership on the authoritarian model. You got yourself a little dictaorship there now, dontcha!? I'm not saying do away with corporations; I'm saying we need to make sure they follow the rules WE make.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

Remember when Wall Street crashed and we paid their debts for them and they never returned the favor of canceling ours?  Remember how we should have protested in the streets?  Wall Street is now occupied!  Spread the news, the media isn't yet.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Self Imposed Dramatic Tension: this episode, saving ideas for later

Today we have two videos that address the issue of procrastination. Watch these, then check your facebook, then check your email, then go get a sandwich, then watch TV, then go to the bathroom, then put your laundry away, then go to bed and start fresh tomorrow with lots of promises.

I also wanted to show the scene from This is Spinal Tap where, after after Nigel has left the band, David and Derek are talking about having the "time to do the projects they've always dreamed of," and all they can come up with is Saucy Jack. I couldn't find it on youtube. I went straight to the task but to no avail then gave up. This is different than never starting. This is making an executive decision to move forward without accomplishing the intended task.

So then the question becomes, if I never start, does this mean I've given up? Give me enough years and the answer will be yes.

Better get to it then.

(Thanks, Ze Frank for both of these.)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Goofiness is next to Godliness... In this case it's also next to Anime.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Revisiting Albert Brooks/ The Early Years

The Flip Wilson Show was always funny to me.  We'll look at Flip later. I'm on an Albert Brooks bender right now.  Here's his ventriloquist bit.

The Famous School for Comedians Home Comedy Kit (2nd item): The Electronic Dummy: You don't need to be able to throw your voice: Buddy!

1972, Flip Wilson Show: Auditions for a new national anthem:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Internment of Americans of Japanese Descent

It was right there in the LA Times last May yet quietly slipped past most of us.  We know it was morally wrong to interrupt the lives of an entire population and force them into concentration camps. And it was unconstitutional. The truth came out last May: "...there was no evidence Japanese Americans were disloyal, were acting as spies or were signaling enemy submarines..." but this crucial piece of information was suppressed.

[Reprinted from Los Angeles Times.  Link to original article below and here.]

U.S. official cites misconduct in Japanese American internment cases Acting Solicitor Gen. Neal Katyal says one of his predecessors, Charles Fahy, deliberately hid from the Supreme Court a military report that Japanese Americans were not a threat in World War II.

May 24, 2011|
By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau

Acting Solicitor Gen. Neal Katyal, in an extraordinary admission of misconduct, took to task one of his predecessors for hiding evidence and deceiving the Supreme Court in two of the major cases in its history: the World War II rulings that upheld the detention of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans.

Katyal said Tuesday that Charles Fahy, an appointee of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, deliberately hid from the court a report from the Office of Naval Intelligence that concluded the Japanese Americans on the West Coast did not pose a military threat. The report indicated there was no evidence Japanese Americans were disloyal, were acting as spies or were signaling enemy submarines, as some at the time had suggested.

Fahy was defending Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, which authorized forced removals of Japanese Americans from "military areas" in 1942. The solicitor general, the U.S. government's top courtroom attorney, is viewed as the most important and trusted lawyer to appear before the Supreme Court, and Katyal said he had a "duty of absolute candor in our representations to the court."

Katyal, 41, who is of Indian American heritage and is the first Asian American to hold the post, said he decided "to set the record straight" Tuesday at a Justice Department event honoring Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

He said that two of the government's civilian lawyers had told Fahy it would be "suppression of evidence" to keep the naval intelligence report from the high court.

"What does Fahy do? Nothing," Katyal said.

Instead, Fahy told the justices the government and the military agreed the roundup of Japanese Americans was required as a matter of "military necessity." Roosevelt issued the order on Feb. 19, 1942, about two months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, which plunged the U.S. into World War II.

In 1943, the high court unanimously upheld a curfew imposed on Japanese Americans in the case of Gordon Hirabayashi vs. United States. And in 1944, the court in a 6-3 decision upheld the removal order imposed on Japanese Americans in Fred Korematsu vs. United States. The majority accepted the government's claim that it was a matter of "military urgency."

Scholars and judges have denounced the World War II rulings as among the worst in the court's history, but neither the high court nor the Justice Department had formally admitted they were mistaken — until now.

"It seemed obvious to me we had made a mistake. The duty of candor wasn't met," Katyal said.

Korematsu, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton, died in Marin County in 2005 at age 86. On Tuesday, his daughter Karen said she was grateful that Katyal had acknowledged the mistakes of his predecessor.

"It was a remarkable statement he made," she said. "It proves what my father believed all along — that removing the Japanese Americans was wrong and incarcerating them was unconstitutional."

Korematsu was sent to a camp in Utah, one of 10 in the country. California had two, Tule Lake and Manzanar.

Katyal said that last summer he was doing research for several immigration cases when he came upon some ugly, disturbing comments about Asians in 19th century briefs submitted to the Supreme Court. Chinese immigrants were described as "people not suited to our institutions." People from India were described as a "subject race."

He then looked into the history of the World War II internment cases, including documents revealed in the 1980s. Peter Irons, a professor at UC San Diego, had found reports in old government files that showed the U.S. military did not see Japanese Americans as a threat in 1942. His research led to federal court hearings that set aside the convictions of Korematsu and Hirabayashi. Congress later voted to have the nation apologize and pay reparations to those who were wrongly held.

Katyal said he decided it was important to publicly acknowledge the mistakes made in the solicitor general's office. Hiding the truth from the justices, he said, "harmed the court, and it harmed 120,000 Japanese Americans. It harmed our reputation as lawyers and as human beings, and it harmed our commitment to those words on the court's building: Equal Justice Under Law."

Hirabayashi is now 93 and living in Canada. His memory of the World War II years has faded, said his nephew Lane Hirabayashi, a professor of Asian American studies at UCLA. "I know Gordon would be very pleased by this. He didn't know at the time that government prosecutors had distorted evidence. However, he knew in his heart that mass incarceration was unconstitutional," he said.

"I thought it was good and very long overdue," Irons said of Katyal's statement. "This was a deliberate, knowing lie by Fahy to the Supreme Court. For the government's highest counsel to make that statement now is quite noteworthy and admirable."

A year ago, Katyal became the acting solicitor general when Elena Kagan was nominated to the Supreme Court. He had made a name for himself in legal circles in 2006 when took on the case of Salim Hamdan, who faced a military trial at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He won in the Supreme Court, which struck down the military commissions because they had not been authorized by Congress.

But that victory in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld earned him some critics in the Senate — and it may have cost him the chance to win Senate confirmation as solicitor general. This year, President Obama passed over Katyal and nominated Deputy White House Counsel Donald Verrilli Jr. for the post. Katyal said he would step down when the Senate officially confirmed Verrilli.

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Until that day I have to believe"

This is one of my favorite songs ever because of the way it turns toward hope.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Our Check was Delayed, he said, because he had to Crack a Lobster

My my mom and I went to a well known chain-restaurant (known for the color of its lobsters) for dinner last night. The waiter took a long time to bring us our check.  I was pretty sure he'd left the building. But he did come back, and he apologized, "Sorry, I had to go crack a lobster."

You have an idea how old I am, right?  My mom's the proper 39 for her age.  She paid with a gift card she'd got from my brother and sister in law, and when I mentioned the birthday in the waiter's presence he said,  "It's your birthday?"  She said it was a couple of weeks ago.  He gives the "hang on a second" gesture and says, "I think I can do something for your birthday," and hurries off.

I'm expecting cake and a candle. She's expecting about the same - maybe ice cream.  We're hoping they don't sing. The waiter comes back with a second waiter.  They're both clean cut looking boys in their chain restaurant waiter white shirts and black slacks, but no dessert, no candle.  The second waiter perches his arm in a casual embrace of the top of my mom's side of the booth and leans in.  The first waiter stands at the table.  After a brief debate we acquiesce, their desire beginning to sour to embarassment.  I 'm thinking maybe these kids are into musical theatre and want to grab any chance to perform. They fairly adequately sing "Happy Birthday" the second waiter working in a little melodic twisting which might construe as harmony if there were the distraction of a flame and a treat and a magical wish.

We politely say thank you and clap. They dash away.  As my mom and I are wondering what that exactly was, the second waiter comes back and slaps a round business card on the table. My mother tells him he has a nice voice and with his thanks he says he's in a band and points at the card, "Check it out!"  My mom asks if the other waiter is in the band, too. "Oh, no - he can't be in it," and he's gone like a phantom.

I take the card, put it in my purse. I am expecting a Josh Groban wannabe or an American Idol belter with the strategically ripped jeans, something women among older generations generally would like. Later, I check the site - the kid's full throttle mega punk complete with the monsterous gutteral throaty roar and the percussive antithetical melodies that all jam together the same kind of rupture that is obviously happening to the boy's vocal chords.

So what's the motivation?  Was it a dare?  Was it a test of our kindness?  Did they offer us a birthday too soon and did the manager refuse their request to offer us a complementary cupcake?  Did the second waiter have henchmen after him, threatening him with baseball bats if he came home with any of those little round cards in his pockets?  Did they think we'd come to a show?  Did they think we had connections? And did they actually believe they think they'd charmed us into using them?!

"Crack a lobster," indeed. "Go get loaded while on break," more like.

Note: I really wanted to turn the phrase and say something about smoking crack, but if they'd been smoking crack they'd've forgotten altogether to come back.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.  - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Not so Much Who, as What

Aside from trying to get into bars when I was underage, or getting caught making a traffic error, I've never been asked to prove who I was.  And aside from getting my social security card, or passport, I've never had to prove my place of birth.  And aside from the times I was hired to teach English at public institutions, I've never had an employer ask to see proof of my degrees.

I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wouldn't Fit in a Haiku

The feel of a moment in a day stays with me
sun shining through tall grass in an afternoon
air silent light breeze grass says hush
dinner was coming along later I remember
holding the precious eternity of the fleeting now.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Cesar Chavez Day!

"Perhaps we can bring the day when children will learn from their earliest days that being fully man and fully woman means to give one's life to the liberation of the brother who suffers. It is up to each one of us. It won't happen unless we decide to use our lives to show the way."
 – Cesar Chavez

"He fought for the farmworkers' right to form their own union, demanded that the workers have lunchbreaks, access to clean drinking water and restrooms..." (from the video)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Overheard: Popularity Contested

A herd of 18-24 year old males walking by:

Guy 1: "And how cool are ya if you got facebook messages poppin' into your phone every five minutes?"

Guy 2: "And 99% of 'em are 'leave me alone.'"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

He Says "No Nukes is Good Nukes" Too - and he's been there!

I just read an article that skillfully minimizes the hazards of nuclear power as it pays lip service to the dangers.  This is as scary as fallout, though not literally (yet, at least not outside Japan at the moment). 

I Googled "No nukes is good nukes" and found this insightful article from Robert Scheer, who's obviously not in somebody's pocket and has done his research.

"I know there will be an attempt to sell us the argument that the odds of a catastrophic earthquake and a catastrophic tsunami occurring together in an area containing a nuclear power facility are incredibly low, that the Japanese plants in question were of inadequate design and, as in the case of Chernobyl, that 'human error' was at fault. Despite the earlier accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, there was a strong tendency to present the Chernobyl disaster as a warning sign not about nuclear power in general but rather the particular failures of a rotting Soviet economy.  After the Japanese experience, such cavalier dismissal of the intrinsic problems of nuclear power is no longer plausible."

Read more from Robert Scheer, and his reflections on Chernyobyl, humanity and our charming combination of ignorance and hubris.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Sun is Right There, Every Day, Without Fail

Today we talk about nuclear power, which makes us powerless beyond belief, and at the end of this post, a little reprieve. The second video has horrific images, so if you already understand why today we have fears about the effects of nuclear radiation, you can skip it. The first video is what my and my parents' generations were told. It felt like a lie because it was, but a lot of people believed it because it could be received as comforting, and that was enough!

"Sometimes a mutation can be a good variation - an improvement over the parents. If you'll be honest with yourself, face the fact: you'll proably realize that your principal worry ought to be that your offspring will look just like you."

Nice and easy to live with, the above, yes? Wouldn't it be nice if only it were true. The following images are disturbing. The video shows some of the birth defects caused by radiation exposure:

But there have been alternatives all my life that have been pushed to the side in favor of high profit energy sources like oil and nuclear. Here's an example of what can be done (but nobody makes money) note the Newfoundlander with the soda cans:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

All You Need is Love

All You Need is Love sung in 156 countries, all edited together in a lovely way. It's a campaign for AIDS awareness, but also a good general reminder that we focus on bringing out the goodness in humanity for all reasons.

Monday, February 28, 2011


You can't trust corporate America, and you can't trust the government, so you have to trust your conscience. How do you trust your conscience?  Know yourself. How do you know yourself?  Know your mind, know your heart, know your soul.  Know these aspects by study, practicing empathy, getting to know others as deeply as possible and learning all of the above with honesty, tact and compassion. Then, if someone tells you to do something you know is wrong, there will be one less blindly complicit human being and one more length of stride toward creating a world to be proud of.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Freedom from What, Exactly?

As the rich get richer, they get smarter with marketing.  How else could the fashion industry make so many people think that $200 jeans made by Chinese slave children are better to have than cheap ones you can get for $21.99?   Remember always, as those of us who were alive in the sixties still can, that corporate backing is the push behind Republican politics - and the subtext of, "keep the government out of my life," is "I don't want rules that stop me from doing whatever I want, regardless of the effect my behavior has on anybody else." 

Freedom has more to do with being civil to others and sharing responsiblity than it does with letting the people who own the most own ever more without paying a proportionate share of taxes or being held accountable to the rules the rest of are bound to.  It's a falsehood to claim that deregulation (for one example) represents some form of freedom.   Well, I guess in some ways it does represent freedom - freedom from the American Dream.

Separate but unequal: Charts show growing rich-poor gap
by Zachary Roth

"The Great Recession and the slump that followed have triggered a jobs crisis that's been making headlines since before President Obama was in office, and that will likely be with us for years. But the American economy is also plagued by a less-noted, but just as serious, problem: Simply put, over the last 30 years, the gap between rich and poor has widened into a chasm."

Monday, February 21, 2011


Listen to Neil Diamond's classic, I Am I Said with a subtle twist, as performed by osullivus mattox virtuous in special sessions, December 2010.
Iamisaid by jeanosullivan

This recording made under terms of fair use to evoke discussion about dynamics of volume and the messages carried through presentation, for educational purposes.

Monday, February 14, 2011

King Queen of the Road

Photo: Larry Sterling (w/graphics added)
Listen to Roger Miller's classic performed by osullivus, mattox, virtuous in special sessions in December, 2010.  Recorded under terms of fair use as a prompt for discussions on musical phrasing as well as the sociology of gender stereotypes.

King Queen of the Road by jeanosullivan

vocals and guitar, osullivus; vox-trombone, mattox; drums and percussion, virtuous.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Dog Alone

The dog across the alley barks in distressed repetition
I feel sorry for her
but am getting mad at the same time.
Sharp edged it hurts my ears.
My instincts are to save her
From harm, alarm, fear
But it's just that she's alone again, again
again, again.  How?

I would throw some food over the fence to make her stop
But would they think a neighbor had tried to poison her?

The other night I opened the window,
turning off the lights, and yelled, 'QUIET!"
so loud my voice echoed through the darkness.
I could see kids playing in a yard a couple of houses down
freezing in mid-frolic
repeating perfectly intoned whispers of my shout
as their mom ushered them inside.
So now I don't yell  "QUIET!" anymore,
although the dog did stop.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Think This is a Good Song

A good song, a nice bike ride, a fireplace and full moon, a seashore and sand, a galaxy and clay, just some of the elements of an ideal day. I Think This is a Good Song. Featuring the trio: osullivus, mattox, virtuous playing an original score.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

From the Category: Backward

Think about it: it wasn't that long ago that in Alabama two men could walk into a bar and within just a few minutes one would be served a beer and the other would be murdered.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told a church crowd just moments into his new administration that those who have not accepted Jesus as their savior are not his brothers and sisters.
This guy just shifted the hate over a little, that's all.  And, as it was before the Civil Rights Movement, he seems to think there is nothing wrong with his approach.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday!

"And another reason I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we are going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demands didn't force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them.  Men for years now have been talking about war and peace. But now no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "I've Been to the Mountaintop" April 3, 1968.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Le Ballon Rouge

Et le Ballon Rouge!
(in four parts)

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

Paddle to the Sea

On Film Day at school in the 1960's, we learned about art, history, safety, what to do in a nuclear blast, good table manners, how to revere a new book, and we got to see this film, "Paddle to the Sea."  It's a story of innocence and good luck - and geography.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Friday, January 07, 2011

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Finding a Voice

It's the story of the golden voiced homeless man in Ohio.  Usually these "amazing talented person!" videos turn out not to be amazing.  This one turns out to be amazing.

"This clip speaks for itself -- literally. The Columbus Dispatch discovered a homeless man along Ohio's I-71 claiming to have 'the God-given gift of voice,' and what began as your everyday viral video has exploded into a life-changing experience for one man. Yesterday morning he was a panhandler; today he's the most in-demand voice personality in the world..."

Read the story. Watch the videos.  Here's a guy who gets sober, finds his spiritual path, focuses on the good, and does not fade away.  Not everyone who does the above survives or thrives, but here's one who is having a good upswing, and that is pleasing.