Wednesday, May 31, 2006

When your vast love meets the harsh world, you've got to be smart.

Harshness is addicted to itself and will say, "Do you want to be vicious in way A, way B, or way C?"

You don't have to make the choice offered. The particular way you are smart is designed to make it possible to get some of your love over under around and through the harshness.

You've got to really listen to yourself to hear your smartness that harshness might say is dumb, that harshness might say is impossible. Harshness, the harshness addict, has limited knowledge, like all addicts, and doesn't see the whole world, but only itself.

You have smarts as vast as your vast love, and to find them you've go to be smart, just like you are.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

1. Remember people who died because of wars.

2. Think

3. Step 3 may emerge from Step 2.
People flirt with me on the bus, and I have no idea what to do. None. This didn't used to happen, like, say, five years ago and before that.

My mother told me in high school that different people look their best at different times in their lives and that high school actually wasn't the best time for that to happen, in the long view.

Well, yeah, but having people act like I'm cute now -- I don't have practice dealing with that. I mean, I don't want to marry these darling women on the morning commute, but freezing seems a little churlish and ungrateful. I am grateful.

And surprised. And confused, and entertained. I just need to figure out how to be polite. Especially because this focused smile stuff tends to happen in the morning, when I myself barely have any smile at all, focused or not.
If someone tries to get me mad and I do in fact get mad, I have gotten stupider on command.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Is God interested in theology? To look at God's output, God seems like more of an engineer/artist type.

Engineers, even if you have no idea of how they did it, there it is. You can understand that.

Theologians and philosophers tend to write in a way that is hard to get in that direct, instant way. One is not led to say, "There it is," but often to wonder, "Is there anything here that has anything to do with anything real?"

God seems fascinated by the material and quite good at it, too.
Historians are sort of like dogs in that they are most interested in other historians.

You go to a real history book by a real historian and right off you're in the middle of an argument between historians about whatever it is. Even if they talk about historians they basically agree with, they sniff around the other historian's work in great detail. They reference other historians' work. They have a much more distant and uninvolved relationship with the events that happened back there.

You just want to know what happened. Historians know it's naive to want to know that, but there is hope of taking that paper written by who's-it about the events in question and showing what's wrong with the paper.

"In the Language of Kings" edited by Miguel Leon-Portilla and Earl Shorris with Sylvia Shorris is an anthology of literature written in the languages of the Incas and the Aztec and the Maya from somewhat before when the Europeans came to now.

When I took an introductory ancient Mayan history course in college I was disappointed that it was about broken pottery and fallen down rocks. That's what you got in archeology, and then you guess from there. But it all starts with these bits and history.

What this teacher I noticed was totally not into was any continuity between the Maya around him who worked for him when he went on digs and the ancient Mayan, although the factual contiunity is obvious. He was snotty and had to be better than everyone, getting joy out of showing a class of 20 year olds that he knew more about his specialty than they did. Somehow that meant he had to pretend he couldn't learn anything from the Maya people around him every other summer.

I mean, he couldn't learn anything from them because he was incapable of learning from them but that's because of self-imposed or self-continued flaws in his wiring. There was much there to learn is what my bias says. The continuity is there in the body, the mind, the culture.

"In the Language of Kings," an anthology of centuries, shows the continuity that is there, you can read the continuity in the literature of the people who have been here longer by far than any other people.

It's about doing that people stuff, trying to figure out what it all means, trying to figure out how to get the divine to lighten up, falling in love with a person or a place, all done in ways particular to these people and these places and way human. Easier for me to get into than shard decipering and less amenable to barely concealed racism.

The people who put the anthology together did all this work, which often involved translation from the original to Spanish to English, out of love of truth, the truth of the deep and continuous history of these people. Continuous history, continuous making of art, continuous writing of literature.

Archeologists in the US are famous in Europe for being untrained in and unwilling to look at documents. They are trained in and only want to look at stuff, even though documents about the same period as the stuff might help a lot. The copies of the documents from the same period as the stuff are often copies from much later, so who knows how they've changed. Guessing how they've changed is another form of smart, just as guessing about the rocks and shards is a form of smart.

My Mayan history professor, Mayan ancient history professor, had this idea than humans originated in Central America, not Africa. His idea was that the lush growth of Central America covered bones older than the bones revealed in arid Africa. Human history started in the area he studied, in other words. The more time passes, the wronger than looks. I think it was an extremely unusual opinion at the time--I wonder if he had the guts to say it outside of a classroom full of youth.

If there had been some huge leading clue to proving him true and the local Maya near his sites knew about it, he never would have heard, would have truly input, any clues they gave him about that. If they said something about ancient stories say the start of it all was at blah blah place, he wouldn't have heard the words, but would have kept staring at his shards.

Beauty is a big feature in "In the Language of Kings," a king from way back wondering like the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius if it all means anything, wondering if he with all his privilege felt like it was pointless, what was, indeed, the point. Wondering about that beautifully, and a not privileged poet from now seeing the point in every leaf an stone, centuries apart, bound by a general place and cousinly culture, wondering beautifully, and for an English speaker, invisibly until all this work was put together in "In the Language of Kings."
A day that feels quieter than you'd expect considering how many of us there are.

A day to move quietly and notice new ways to move.

Friday, May 26, 2006

It feels complete and yet excludes everything you are.

So you make a veneer that matches one of the ideas people around you have of what humans can be. You learn to present the veneer while being who you actually are inside yourself. Maybe sometime you meet other humans where you can show more of who you are.

Or, you try to eliminate who you actually are and truly be one of the ideas people around you have of what humans can be.

Or, you just be who you are openly from the beginning in a place where it is totally not what people expect. I can't believe that that would work.
The little kid on the bus was sitting on his mother's lap so that his face was right under hers. They looked exactly alike, except she looked worried and he looked happy.

His big sister, maybe eight years old, sitting next to them, also looked happy. So the mother is able to use her worry to make a shelter where they can find happiness.

One reason the little kid was happy was he was learning to talk, a skill of destiny for him

He generated syllables endlessly and joyfully. I didn't understand a word, except that I did. "The bus! The people! The clothes! The colors! The sun! We're moving! We're stopping! Wow!" The hymn of now.

Monday, May 22, 2006

You heal slowly, and you heal.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Zooming by the news I see the headline, "New Orleans Election Too Close to Call."

Someday I've got to get it. I believe in democracy, meaning I believe in the wisdom of the people.

The people, world wide, are saying, "don't see the difference between these candidates, don't much like either one."

Close elections are a huge trend. There was the nasty but I have to admit close presidential election of 2000--I like to talk begatuvekt about how that election was resolved, but however it was resolved, it was close. Italy and Germany have lately in 2005 and 2006 had very close elections for national leader done in the parliamentary style that took a bunch of talking to resolve.

Politican reporters like to view elections in terms of the fierce believers at either end, but fierce believers like me are unrepresentitive of the times. These close elections are not generally caused by a dead heat between masses of passionate supporters but by a near-tie between masses of lukewarm voters who don't love any of the choices.

I'm hanging way out on the liberal edge of the liberal party in my country, and I can easily see almost any election I know anything about in terms of vast and important differences.

The people, who I work for, whether they know it or not, who I believe in, whether I agree with them or not, don't see big differences that they care about.

All the time I spend follwing the insider stuff of politics, especially of presidential politics, I've got to sit with that, learn from that.

One presidential election or another I was intensely consuming the newspaper on the bus and a man who was dressed to do hard physical work said, "You into to election stuff?" I said yes. He said, "You're real interested in rich people, huh?"

That's one clue. I'm sure there are many others. I gotta know more about from whence cometh the indifference and repulsion of the presented choices.

I tend to know a lot about what newsfolk say about the run up to the presidential primaries, much of which is revealed to have nothing to do with ongoing reality. Political reporters gotta write in that time period, but I don't have to read it.

I could spend more time noticing ongoing reality and how it might relate more to democracy, to the people, to giving the people power.

"Democracy in American" by de Tocqueville really is a terrific book, just like they say, and in modern translation it's easy to read.

When people talk about it now, they talk like the big word in the title is America--this French guy came over and toured America and wrote down his thoughts.

But the reason he toured America was democracy--the big word in the title for him. America was hugely bigger than anyplace else that had been a democracy and he wanted to see what was up.

He said in his book essentially--"I like democracy--I hope it's going well in the USA. But whether you like democracy or not, it is what is coming, so pay attention."

He wrote about no individual elections. He wrote about things that looked different to him that to him looked like a result of the country being a democracy. Like the people had a tendency to form lots of organizations and clubs; he hardily approved. Like the people paid a lot of attention to what was happening in courts and sued each other a lot; he almost disapproved.

But he grokked democracy by paying attention to ongoing social processes. If I spent the time I usually, in a presidential election year, spend reading speculation far in advance of anyone whosoever voting paying some new kind of attention to ongoing social processes, I'd be way ahead.

And, yes, many books that are supposed to be great are very trying to read but Democracy in America, in a recent translation, almost rocks. It's amazingly good, amazingly easy to read and amazingly current.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Are we here? Tourist season is here; I give directions more. Often to things that are right there.

I point, they look, they don't see that that is it.

Because maybe

1. They see too much. Out of all the buildings they can't see that that's the building. Out of all the jumble, they can't sort out what is a bus stop.

2. They thought they knew what it looked like and it doesn't look like that. This morning I was directing a woman to a bus stop that was right there, catty corner across the intersection. One of those SF bus stops that our a concrete stand, curb high, after the first lane of traffic. She couldn't see it. I unwisely used the San Francisco word for such things "Island." It didn't look like she expected a bus stop to look

I told her what to do. Cross this street. Then cross the other street most of the way but not all the way. Stop where all those people are standing most of the way across the street. The bus will stop there.

She got it.

3. They didn't expect someone they asked for directions to talk like me. Like, I might slip up and make some passing observation about something or other. No. Just give them what they want.

People being confused about something about the way I talk can be a reminder of the life long lesson--don't seem smarter than you gotta seem. I will fight that lesson in some contexts, to better serve to people, to better avoid getting bored, but hey, in giving directions, I can just, what the heck, give them directions.

Which reminds me about how the white media says that black kids are hassled by other black kids for being good at school, and told that studying is white.

I just read a piece by a black surgeon that he was great at school, then succumbed to the hazing and got bad a school, and then came to his senses and got great at school again.

When white media talk about this phenomenon, the underlying assumption is that white kids who are good at school are bathed in the support of their friends.

No way. Being really smart is socially tricky, world without end. People liked me in school. I wasn't popular, but I wasn't unpopular. But that was the result of work to overcome how very good I was at school stuff.

Carol Gilligan, a Harvard professor has done a lot of research on how young women become less good at school at puberty. Her research has been criticized for being too white, which she is
working on.

I have never seen the idea that black kids get taunted by black kids for being good at school mentioned at the same time as Gilligan's research on [white] women taking an intellectual nosedive at 12, 13, 14. It's part of the same thing I think. Women get dumber partly because of taunting, the social vibe.

It's also part of the same thing that being outstanding is tricky, being outstanding is hard to take from the outside. Just because someone has some outstanding talent doesn't mean they have the social skills to frame that talent in a way others can take. I don't know if people should frame it, but the days are long when you got to spend most of your daylight with kids and the kids feel threatened by you and look for ways to ride you.

Do people want things to be really better? Really better would be really different. Really different takes some getting used to.

The talented person can see it--it's right there. An island in our very midst that we can walk to if we're willing to walk.

By the time people are really looking for another way, a lot of people who could have been good at giving directions are gone. They may be still living but they got with the stupid program, being stupid enough to make it through the day with nervous young people. They have used their intelligence to not be too intelligent and they have succeeded.

They can't direct us to the island in our midst that we need because they can no longer see it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I finally thought of the other thing that is wrong with "The Wanderground" by Sally Gearhart, a book that I love.

The other thing that is wrong with it is it doesn't show what could go wrong in this incredibly close community of women living on the land.

It makes the community look great, living dispersed over land but fairly close to each other, in touch a lot because they can communicate psychically and also have some other psychic abilities.

Gearhart makes this seem very real and very terrific. I get into it, even though I only have to think about myself for a tiny minute to know I would get really bored living in the country.

Some women in this community are assigned the horrible duty of living in cities for a while to keep the cities from completely crumbling into what's wrong with them. This is onerous duty.

I like living in cities. All the bustle to walk through, the people to watch, the signs understood and not understood, love it.

But Gearhart makes the great country life real while I'm reading her.

I like particularly one part where a woman needs to scud, that is do low level flying, and she hasn't done it since she was trained to do it. So she has to talk herself through it slowly, and she forgets to do it so she can pick up her pack and has to do it again. Way believable.

What is not believable is that this women in this community are not shown as being snarky and petty and attacking each other and ganging up on someone.

That's what's wrong--the other thing that's wrong. The first thing that wrond and a guilty pleasure is that what is wrong with humanity in general is localized in men. There are indeed a few good men in the book but they are cringing with guilt and less believable than the idyllic rural set-up.

When Ursula Le Guin wrote her Utopia book, "The Dispossessed, which may be my favorite book in the history of the world so far even though it isn't (interestingly) really great about women--I mean it doesn't have great and believable women character--when she wrote that book, she called it a dystopia book because she showed what was wrong with her utopia.

Her utopia had no formal government, no property and--there has too be something--way too much internalized social pressure.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Okay, it isn't love because that word is misused too much.

It isn't connectedness because that word is too long to be a strong word in English, and it's too dry.

Shining, together, real warmth, all the time. We're here, in the midst of it.

Having the guts to feel it is good, in the midst of people too scared to feel it much, to used to semi-living in raging dumb conflict, conflict for no purpose but conflict, and habit and action reaction forever.

Me having the guts to feel it in the midst of myself, scared--I like to be that brave, that deeply happy. To live in the other world that is right here all the time and right.
Don't cross that line. Some ways of living seem to be built on the idea that loneliness with power is a good as it gets. Like the whole range of choice is loneliness without power and loneliness with power, so aim to be the better growler.
The San Francisco Main Library just got cuter, and I'm happy.

It has two big, new banners running up and down, about a story high, above the entrance that is most used, the Hyde Street entrance, the one closest to Market Street.

On banner is bright blue and says "Library" up and down in big letters in white. The other next to it is yellow and says "Library" in big letters in brown.

I love the way they look.

They alsohave a function. The Main Library was designed to be modest on the outside and not compete with the other Civic Center buildings that were built in the early twentieth century when certainty and curlicues came together in a way that really worked. The drama of the Main Library (built at the other end of the twentieth century in1996) is in the inside in the dramatic central atrium and all its effects. One effect of the dramatic central atrium is that library has lots of different good internal views. Appropriate for San Francisco, city of views and interesting to look at stuff.

The result of the library being externally modest on purpose is that from the Market Street and Hyde side, the side most people approach from it isn't overwhelmingly obvious that this is the library. Obvious if you are looking, but not a kepow type experience. I have directed people to the library from the very nearby BART/Muni station and said to them ". . .and it's right there" and been uncertain that they would see it right away even though it is indeed, right there.

All that changed with these banners which cheerfully yell, "Library! Right here!"

The banner poles have been there and been used for the life of this library, but they said things, like about events, in much smaller letters that were horizontal, and didn't have to be read. These letters that say library are much bigger, vertical--on one top of the other and will be read without thought by anyone whose literate eyes pass over them

And the colors are right. An excellent kind of in your face.

I'm already picturing other white/grey government buildings getting big bright banners up and down their sides to say their function as briefly and bigly as possible. I don't know if that's a possible dream. The library has more room to be playful than many government departments. But these banners, in themselves, are a good thing. The tasteful, blend in with the old stuff civic center courthouse would be a lot easier to find for first time visitors if it had a colorful banners that said "Courthouse." The other courthouse dominates its neighborhood of short buildings and private businesses. and doesn't need a banner--it looks like a courthouse, nothing else around it could possibly in a hundred thousand years be a courthouse.

But a lot of government buildings, like the civic center courthouse, like the main library are in neighborhoods where it's one dang dignified government building after another and for inexperienced visitors, which many visitors to government buildings are, banners would be a big help and would give that initial feeling a being reached out to.

I'm not utopian enough to think that that's going to happen--but hey, the SF health and human services building, near the main library, would it be such bad thing if it had a giant cheery banner visible from afar that said "Health." A prayer, a good luck wish, a help to confused lookers for the building who may be feeling not so great.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The street felt quiet, but the chalk on the sidewalk said, "Everything all at once."
** Ambling around the library, I saw a book called "Lord Haw-Haw" and was confused. I thought I knew who Lord Haw Haw was and would have expected a book about him to be with the books about World War II rather than, as it was, with the books about law.

I thought Lord Haw-Haw was a British guy who broadcast pro-Nazi programs in English from Germany during World War II. His show was aimed at Brits and ticked many of them off quite a bit, making fun of them and their sufferings as bombs from the country he was praising fell on cities around Britain.

I was pretty much right about that, except for the assuming he was British. What nationality he was was a debatable point. His parents were born in Ireland when it was not an independent country but part of the United Kingdom. His father, Michael Joyce, went to the US, married, fathered William Joyce (later Lord Haw Haw) who was a US citizen by reason of birth, and then, when William was three, went back to Ireland to stay. The father felt like as he continued to live in Ireland he (and his child William) ceased to be US citizens because that's how Michael felt, or something. He had not the legal mind.

Since the son, Lord Haw-Haw, was ultimately tried for treason against the United Kingdom, this citizenship muddle mattered.

Anyway, in reading this book next to its shelf on fifth floor, legal, when I would have expected it to be in third floor, history, in the huge 940's section that includes World War II, I came upon this in the introduction, written in 1964:

"Somehow he got under the nation's skin; for the British he probably qualifies as the most hated man of the Second World War and time has scarcely modified the angry reaction to his activities. His trial was sensational because of the possibility that his unexpected defense would succeed, and the judge's ruling in his case extended the law of treason."

--J. A. Cole, "Lord Haw-Haw and William Joyce: The Full Story"

Yes, indeed, the book does belong in the law section. "The judge's ruling in his case extended the law of treason."

That's one of the time that the rubber really meets the road in law: when people are so ticked off at someone that they want the law to get him regardless of what the law is.

It's hard to think clearly in such times. It's hard to think clearly about such times. Like the author of the book saying Lord Haw-Haw was the most hated figure of World War II. Surely Hitler was more hated, and some other German leaders. I think maybe he means that he was the British person most hated by the British--but that's tricky because whether he was British or not was in legal play. Was he legally British? Factually British? Since the British justice system executed him for treason, he for sure qualifies as being legally British.

Times when people are so mad they want to change the laws, and sometimes do, are important times, so I'm going to read this book, not just for the interesting, ever more distant history but also for info about what happens when the law meets intense unified public emotion, which can happen any time at all, and will continue to happen as long as we have laws and people.

**Then I notice that the Lord Haw-Haw book is in the miscarriages of justice section of the Dewey Decimal system--trials that tons of people think were wrong, usually because of the pressure of general opinion, the people's mood, sometimes because of the mood of the head of state.

I skim a little of a book about Angelo Herndon, whom I hadn't heard of. Black Communist organizer in the South in the nineteen thirties. Thrown in jail for having "dangerous tendencies" to cause public disorder.

Five years of court stuff later, the Supreme Court of the US said that having "dangerous tendencies" is not a reason to lock folks up. It surely is an appealing idea though, for people who are scared, or for people in charge who want to get power by scaring people in general.

This section of the library has a ton of books on the Rosenbergs--current conventional wisdom based on Soviet files and the way the trial came down is that the Federal government framed a guilty man. And killed an innocent woman. One of the super-cynical things is that no one including the prosecutors ever thought Ethel Rosenberg was guilty of espionage. They charged her to put pressure on both of them to make a deal so their young children would end up with one parent.

In the game of chicken both sides played with Ethel Rosenberg's and the kids, nobody pulled back and both Rosenbergs were executed and the kids had no parents. Well, they were adopted, they had parents, but not their birth parents, at least one of whom was sacrificed to ideas and a fierce government.

The miscarriage of justice section has a book about the trial of Sir Thomas More, an event in a movie I love, "A Man for All Seasons." The movie doesn't spend much time on the trial--the fix was in, the king wanted him dead for his attitude, and the trial sent him to be killed for words he didn't say.

But reading a whole book about exactly how the trial came down would be a good supplement to the movie.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The experiment continues. Ying Lee Kelly, who worked in Ron Dellum's office for years when he was in Congress, once told me that all things being equal vote for the candidate of color because they are more likely to remember. They are less likely to get to"Hey, I have a nice car and lots of respect and lobbyists' perks. Works for me. There are no problems." She didn't say, to me, that one reason for being less likely to forget is that people of color of whatever rank are likely to get some insults and unfairness to remind them of the skewness of this society.

I didn't need that fine advice to vote for Kamala Harris, women of color, for DA in SF. It helped but all I really needed was my assumption that she doesn't drink too much and my assumption that her incumbent opponent, with the face of someone who drinks too much, did. But the woman and of color stuff was lovely also.

I hope she doing a fabulous job. I don't really know, or know how to judge, because it's an impossible job.

But the cool thing is that she can and does look sad in public, when talking about murders. Guys can only look stern or angry. Sad is excellent and I'm glad to see it. I hadn't thought of that as a byproduct of not having every single job with power go to white guys. You get some not-white-guy style which is more accurate.

Kamala Harris doesn't cry in public, a well-known political kiss of death in the USA. But I saw her picture all big in the newspaper talking about a murder and she looked really sad.

Famous guys at famous funerals look very blank, and we're supposed to read that as sad. But the human face can look out and out sad, and sometimes that's a very logical way to look. A logical way to look far more available to one gender than the other in this society.

When I've been at all woman multi-day gatherings, one thing I really notice is that people cry. People laugh, and people cry and it's not a deal. The people may be crying about something really heavy, talking to a friend, but it feels okay. It doesn't feel like all order and reason is threatened by this person crying.

Because it isn't. Crying is built into the body and the difficulties of life. I think men in this society tend to keel over from stress diseases in their middle age because of tears-unshed and other feelings turned into a blank face earlier. The stress that can't come out little by little in real time comes out big later.

I think sometimes the non-criers hurt more than themselves. The sad possible consequences, the consequences that might bring tears to many are sternly ignored in the decision making process. The results are all around us.

But the DA of SF looks sad in public and in that and lots of other ways, things are changing.

In 1991, right after the Gulf War, I went to an event at a church basement in Berkeley (the Unitarian Church on Cedar) where they showed videos of bomb damage from the war taken by people who were there. I remember the one of a guy standing by the rubble of his house and saying, "You say you want to teach us a lesson. What's the lesson?" I remember the camera doing closeups of the faces of little kids sleeping and then pulling back to show that this was a bombed day care center and these kids were dead.

After the video showing was over, the first person who spoke from the audience was a woman who said, "I feel such grief. . ." The event was run by a guy who interrupted her right there and said, "Let's turn that grief to anger!" Shut her up good. I thought if I'd been truly on it, I would have invited people who wanted to feel grief as well as anger to go meet at a nearby coffee house afterwards. I didn't.

All the missing decisions that are created by all the missing styles of making decisions.

There's more than one way to run a world. Many different ways have been tried and are being tried. Many ways have never been tried because their are styles of living and breathing and thinking that have not been combined with out-and-out standard-brand. But now, slowly, some different people and different styles are getting a chance. This is the beginning of the beginning.

The experiment continues.

When Jonathan Demme was promoting the film he directed, "The Silence of the Lambs," in which Jodie Foster plays an FBI agent, he said someone like Foster's character in an institution like the FBI, "walks through the sandpaper of the patriarchy" every minute of her working life.

Patriarchy sandpaper isn't the only kind. All of them, the sandpaper of the patriarchy, the sandpaper of racism, the sandpaper of you gotta be straight and on and on, not only abrade and are unfair to the people scrapped and put them in a place where it would be perfectly reasonable for them to be mad all the time, they take knowledge that the whole society needs out of play. You can't be that way, think that way, look that way and have power and influence. But some of those ways are just the ways of living needed to get humanity out of the scary hole we're in.

The experiment continues.

** Gandhi said he had a huge temper, and he should have known, right? One time him and his temper and his training as a lawyer and his Hinduism sat all night in a railroad station, duking it out. He couldn't use the train ticket he's paid for because of his color and his Indianness in South Africa where he was living. He could go down a class or get off the train.

He got off the train. Usually when I'm mad I think of specific dumb things I'd like to do. Gandhi didn't clue us in on options he thought of in his long railroad station night. He just told us about the answer--non-violent resistance. Which has given people in general a whole other way to participate in world history.

This solution included his temper--anger wants to act, and this acts and can act big, though he always said, never from anger. Anger isn't the way, he said, and he should know since in his naturally occuring form, before he worked on himself, he had lots.

This solution included his lawyerness--lawing is partly about finding a non-violent solution. That night he took on some new clients--the Indians mistreated in South Africa. Later he took on further clients--the Indians mistreated in India.

He continues to take on clients. Some key US civil rights people read Gandhi; he continues to be available and used. Though people don't have to read Gandhi to do what he thought in the railroad station. There is now a wide and long history of non-violent resistance changing history that people can draw on.

People used to like to trash Gandhi's success against the British saying the British were relatively nice and it wouldn't work in less nice places. Those people certainly would not have accepted the idea that non-violent resistence would have a lot to do with the end of the Iron Curtain shutdown of millions of peoples rights to speak, travel, think, run businesses, leave the country where they were born.

Temper plus lawyer plus Hindu. Hinduism has lots of gods and the divine moment is right here present in many forms. Hindus expect their holy people to get out among the people and do stuff. Move now among the many people to make holiness real in another of the many manifold ways. Hindus aren't waiting for the book--they want holiness made read among them.

Gandhi's Hindu word for what is in English "non-violent resistence" is the Hindi for "truthlove."

Truth, love, action, lots of people put together--new things become possible.

Gandhi's night in the railway station, not in a long run a fit of temper but a hard won alternative to fits of temper for him and many others, wasn't just about that railway station that train.

He trained as a lawyer in London; he could practice anywhere in the British Empire. Churchill who really disliked Gandhi was much less good at British education than Gandhi was. Gandhi got that education in law that implies this is all based on fairness, but there must have been lots of sandpaper moments for him as an Indian in London showing the severe limits of fairness. And he got to see the limits of fairness for poor Brits who at the time he was in London were much short and smaller than rich Brits because of food.

He got the lawyer degree, but he'd been in London long enough to know he was forever limited in that system by who he was, by where he was born, who his ancestors were. He did us all an immense favor by blending those things with his lawyer training to seek to resolve things without the use of automatic weapons, and coming up with a new way to make the world new.
The other day a woman passed me on the sidewalk and right by my ear she said, "I love you. Be careful." which I knew was addressed to someone on her cell phone, but it was live and sincere and physically quite close. Cell phones have increased the loud and clear friendliness and love on the sidewalk.

People walking next each other usualy wouldn't say such things so loud--at a normal conversational tone plus a little. It's good to have more of that in urban walking land to go with the barely missing each other bumper cars stuff.

Friday, May 12, 2006

[new May 12] Beyond the Follow Spot

God sent his only son to live dramatically, and die dramatically, and come back to life dramatically. He also sent millions of daughters to do the work.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Avoid elective surgery and elective war.
You and your smart heart smuggle love into everyday life.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"Because I had loved so deeply, because I had loved so long, God in his great compassion gave me the gift of song."
--Paul Laurence Dunbar

I used to read that going into the Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library. I went to that library a lot, and I read it every time--it was too good to blank it out through habit.

When Paul Laurence Dunbar was alive, Dayton, Ohio, had three famous people, Orville and Wilbur Wright, the airplane inventors, and Paul Laurence Dunbar, the poet.

Now people might know one line by him, and they probably don't know it's by him.

"I know why the caged bird sings," the title of a book by Maya Angelou is the first line of a poem by Dunbar.

But what does the caged bird sing? Dunbar wrote most of his poems in dialect. The two quotes I've given are not in dialect, but that's what he did. It was a generally happening category. James Whitcomb Riley wrote dialect poems about rural white people. Dunbar wrote dialect poems about black people which included nostalgia for slavery--his parents were enslaved.

It may very well not be my place to say he sold out. If he had written more poems like "I know why the caged bird sings," he would be much better known now.

He felt a lot of economic pressure. The Wright Brothers were friends of his, and they got together a group of Dayton business people who were willing to send him to college. He felt like he couldn't take that time off from working low-level jobs to support his family--his birth family-- he didn't marry til later. So he didn't go to college. He also ended up making relatively big bucks writing for people who didn't go to college, so who knows what is good news and bad news. What he wrote mostly, the majority by bulk, is stuff that is very hard for a college educated person now, however interested in old poetry, to get with.

The Wright Brothers father was a bishop in the United Brethren church, which was like the Methodist Church only smaller. (It had been created to cater to German-speakers in the US which kept it small, though German was no longer a big factor in the church by this time. Wilbur and Orville used their father's pull to get the church press, based in Dayton, to publish Dunbar's first book of poetry. That was a form of being helpful that really worked.

His poetry that made him famous in a period where poets could write popular poetry that everyone would know and be truly famous with average folks. I guess it's partly that poetry took up some of the space now occupied by recorded music, which didn't exist then. So he was huge, Dayton's third famous guy, and Dayton is place where he's remembered. Some of his poems, non-dialect are anthologized, but for someone now to publish a whole book of his poetry and have lots and lots of people read it--that's impossible to picture. Popular culture at that time was awesomely racist and Dunbar's poetry fit in pretty well. Now the bulk of his poetry is excrutiating, untouchable by one and all.

It's corny--that's part of the genre. "It takes of heap o' livin' to make a house a home," said James Whitcomb Riley. It's corny and refers to the good of days of slavery. And it's written in dialect--all those apostrophes. Now popular music, country, rhythm and blues, hip hop, is often essentially in dialect in the same way, non-standard forms--but what is easy on the ears is now very hard to read on the page.

I remember him because I was born in Dayton and spent a lot of my young life near Dayton and little bit in Dayton, and after all others had forgotten him, Dayton kept him as a rah rah guy.

I remember him. I have tried to read his dialect poetry, his bread and butter, in the past and just couldn't. It may be time to try again.

I am not caged, not caged at all compared to Dunbar's parents. I have to find what good free singing is for me.

Friday, May 05, 2006

You're a healer. You're always sending out healing because that came with your body/soul combo. You need only to be in a situation where someone has a door for big, good change open, and healing happens. You may not be noticed as the source of this, which simplifies things.
I don't get how the English-only thing would work since you can't get far on w. "W" is the only letter in the English alphabet that was created by English speakers for English. The others were made by people who didn't speak English for languages that weren't English.

What I learned when I was 2 and 3 and 4 seems ancient and timeless and the way of ways to me, but it ain't. English is a pretty new language. Something that a current English speaker can sort of recognized as English appeared around 1300. That's after most of the alphabet letters were invented, after all the major religions had entered history. All the major languages entered history not in English, without English, Englishlessly. And yet in this country some people seem to feel that English is the language of languages they way they feel Christianity is the religion that renders others irrelevant.
Potato chip bags and Dockers pants have in common that they are designed to look full whether they are or not.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Angela Merkel is the Chancellor of Germany. I've been following her more closely than I otherwise would because she's a woman.

Any long article about Merkel that I've read says that she was a physicist in East Germany before the re-unification of Germany. Any long article will also say that in some activity recent when the article was written people were very impressed with her grasp of all the details and the history of whatever was up.

So reading articles like this I think: is physicist and has striking grasp of details. She's smart.

I keep reading long articles about Merkel, in the Financial Times, in New York Times, in The Wall Street Journal.

These articles have in common that they don't say she's smart. They will not use the s word.

In the Wall Street Journal for May 3, 2006, a front page article on her said, in the continued part of the article, "Many business executives and others who meet her say they are struck by the clarity of her logic and ability to organize. But she doesn't play the intellectual and keeps a modest profile."

That's getting closer. Policy wonk--that would be a good term that acknowledges smartness in a semi-jokey way. I've never seen it used about her.

Before she was elected, I read that she was smart politically--they didn't use the word smart--because she didn't telegraph her punches. That is some guy, often on her team, would be pulling stuff on her and back stabbing and she would not bellow like a wounded male animal. She would bide her time, and the gentlemen in question was surprised when one fine day he was relatively out in the cold with much less power than he used to have.

Although I read behavior like this described several times, successful behavior like this, I never heard it described as politically smart, or savvy, or any smart work like that.

The pull quote on the Merkel article in 5/3/2006 Wall Street Journal is " ' I have been repeatedly underestimated, and it's a role I can live with well, ' says Ms. Merkel."

The word "well" is very telling. It makes me think she doesn't have staff running to reporters saying how smart she is for a reason. Being underestimated, having people surprised again and again at her showing the markers of great intelligence, is just another resource for her to use wisely. Not working to brand herself as smart as many politicians would is smart.

I like the name. To have an embedded Angel at the head of a government could be good.An effective angel might look, in a general sort of way, like Madeline Albright and might communicate in a very straight forward way--not charming, not abrasive--and might be smart and have people forget, again and again, how very smart she is.
The yes of flowers. The yes of affection words. The yes of the right kind of cookies.

A barrier sometimes around here between men and women romantically linked is that the women don't perceive the way the guys are saying affection. Right away, I sort of made part of the barrier by using the word romantically, a word guyey guys will not feel comfortable with.

I haven't romantically (there it is again) involved with guys, which might make my head slightly clearer, but I can be slow on the uptake. Whenever I drop by my buddy's house, he's got the kind of cookies I like a lot. He gets them out really fast. He notices web stuff in my areas of interest and downloads in the show me.

This means he likes me and he's really putting effort into it. I have to translate it into words like that and say those words to myself to really get it. Otherwise, I can fall into some kind of "isn't it lovely that life is falling together well today" without noticing that's it's his place that it's falling together at and his effort and thought and noticing me that makes it happen.

So in romances, women can keep wanting flowers and "I love you" and keep not noticing what they are getting.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

How You Spell Yes

1. Sit a spell. Let time take you to where "Yes" feels accurate.

2. Find your style of yessing, a style you may not see around you, a style that may be missing from the whole human scene. It's in you.

3. "Yes" needs to feel like music.
What's embarrassing for me about the hundred word game is how easy it is to play it.

The game is to take an English dictionary and write down a hundred words with their definitions that I don't know the word or it's a word I know that has a whole other definition I never heard of.

I write down the word and the shortest possible definition to help me remember, as I'm a zillion time more likely to remember things I write down.

I don't write down things like Latin words for medical conditions or plants, but rather real words (what I call real words) that I might possibly read or write.

It is so easy to find a hundred words I don't know. I blush at how easy it is.

It's easy to again and again find a hundred words I don't know.

It feels more useful to play the game with a smaller, college-size dictionary because it makes it more likely that I might run across the words again.

Learn words and humility in one. Not bad.

It's not like I remember all hundred words, but some stick and then when I read them, I know what they mean, instead of making a guess fuzzy or wrong, and instead of skipping them without thinking about it.
Saying "yes" slowly is growing like an acorn.

Monday, May 01, 2006

In the old days, people used to go out very early on May Day when it was still dark and gather greens and flowers from the outdoors and decorate the village. It was more okay then than at other times to touch sexually also. Early May Day activity was beloved by young people in small villages.

When I was a kid in Cincinnati, a couple of old women would put flowers on the doorsteps of friends and relatives very early in the morning on May Day, because that's what you do on May Day as far as they were concerned. The idea was that it was anonymous, that was the tradition, but with only two people we knew doing it, it wasn't that anonymously. They had German names, like many people in Cincinnati, and probably were bringing some German village wisdom to my family's porch when they left flowers.

So one tradition is giiving the people a break on May Day--get up early and get it on, kids. Today we look the other way and thank for the flowers you bring back.

The people marching to give themselves a break on May Day, that's a big tradition to. Work and flowers, bread and roses. The people rise so make room for themselves. Rising, marching is a hassle that makes room for non-hassled activities at another time, like giving people flowers.

Originally, in the way old days, people went out in the morning dark to the woods in the early spring to make love to remind Nature to be fertile. Come on back from winter, they reminded the Earth with their bodies.

Nothing is as fertile among humans as every body having a right to live in fairness. Nothing as fertile to life being interesting and going on as people having the rights, the food, the space to grow into the flowers they were destined to be.

When we're each blooming our own particular way, we're interesting to look at and often produce cool stuff that helps and entertains others. May Day is a call for help at sea. If we give each other the space of fairness to be our beauty, we're less likely to need desperate help from each other and more likely to be able to give each other the easier, earlier help that comes from relaxation and generosity.0