Archive for October, 2009

caught in a moment of time

October 31, 2009

rose

Caught in a moment of time

We are caught in a moment of time,

Each of us on the road

To the rest of our life,

For some, it may be over tomorrow

For others, many decades to come,

Some of us are nearer the end of our journey,

But whose journey is longest

None can tell,

We are here in this brief moment together,

That is all we know for sure,

What shall we do with it?

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“I’m the Mummy!” Halloween memories

October 30, 2009

This year, I will see none of my grandkids on Halloween. They live in 3 different states, counting Joseph, my step-grandson. And I am in a 4th.

I am thinking this night of Halloweens past. Let me be a bit self-indulgent.

My husband doesn’t  believe in holidays. Nothing in any way not a holiday based on a true meaning. Anything connected to a pagan past, where the church tried to take some ancient ritual and make it into a religious holiday–forget it. Then it’s based on hypocracy.

I agree, but I’m sorry, some holidays are just for fun. I don’t care what it’s history is, really. My kids deserve to dress up and walk a few streets and get some candy too. It’s just fun. So every Halloween, every single year, I walked our kids around the neighborhood. I don’t think they ever went out alone. I always went with them. Alone. And we had fun.

We were always poor in those days when our kids were little. I never had money to go out and buy new costumes. We were always trying to make do with nothing, which meant, buying some silly hat and make-up and trying to make the rest out of old clothes or Dad’s baggy shirts. I feel somewhat bad about that. I suck at making costumes or being imaginative and creative like that. Absolutely horrible. So the kids probably made more of their makeshift outfits than I did. But they went out.

On Perrin Ave., there were a few who really did it up right. One year, a guy sat on his front porch dressed as a mummy. When kids would come up on his porch, just as they were about to ring the doorbell, he would reach out his arm and say, “You want some candy?” Then his kid came out on the porch with a phone and said, “Dad, it’s for you!” The dad tried to ignore him, but the kids said it again. He finally, disgustedly said, “I TOLD you not to bother me!! I’m the mummy!” It was hilarious.

I have never gotten a birthday gift my entire life, from my husband, except a couple times when I think the kids pressured him. When I turned 50, I got roses. That’s because you’re “supposed” to buy gifts on birthdays, and it’s just the greed and materialism of our capitalistic culture that tells us we have to buy someone a gift. No gifts. No Valentine’s Day presents, that’s too expected, no Mother’s Day gifts — that’s Hallmark-made. After awhile I stopped buying him a birthday gift. So we just go out for dinner.

I know his reasoning and it all makes perfect logical sense. But it’s just no fun.

So happy halloween all you little creatures. Be safe. Dress up and pretend, and have fun. Light the pumpkin with a real tea-light candle. jackBoo!

sex in the cemetery in SC

October 29, 2009

Story in the news for SC this week: There is evidently a cemetery which is frequented, during the DAYtime and in the evening, by people hooking up for sex. Today the police decided to crack down on it. They went up to a car where an older man was engaged in sexual behavior with an 18-yr-old girl who works at a strip club, found viagra and sex toys in the car. Turns out, the older man flashed a work badge which identified him as a Republican high-profile employee of the State Atty General’s office. The police officer investigating has a wife who happened to work FOR the Atty Genl’s office, so he calls her to confirm. Yes, that man worked there. As of tonight, he is unemployed. He was fired.

This raises a number of intriguing questions.

1. Was he doing anything illegal? (No.) She was not a prostitute. (I wonder if it will come out later that he was paying her some money. Why else would an 18-yr-old girl be in a car having sex with a man in his 60s on viagra? If he was paying her money, what then? Will she be arrested for prostitution? Will they also press charges on the man engaging with a prostitute?)

2. If he was not doing anything illegal then why is he fired? According to a representative, “because he was engaging in behavior not suitable for a person of this position”. That’s a real judgement call. Isn’t it interesting how someone can be fired for engaging in behavior with another consenting adult, even when it is not illegal? (He may have ruined his marriage, but that’s another issue.)

3. Was it necessary to announce on television news that viagra was on the scene?

4. What’s the deal with this cemetery? Is it regularly patrolled? If it is “known” as the place to go, even during the day, then it’s been allowed to happen on a regular basis. Did this just come out in the news because someone realized it was some kind of high position politician this time, or a company car of some kind?

5. Did this man flash his identity card, thinking they would then leave him alone?  (That didn’t work.) We know that money and power talk in this country. But not in this case, evidently.

6. Is this man one of those Republicans who has come down on the moral depravity of Democratic politicians in the past, yet engages in this same behavior himself? We have seen this over & over again the past few years (since Clinton).

7. Does any man doing this stuff, who also has a wife and kids EVER think about how his behavior might affect his family if his behavior becomes public? It was in the middle of the day for crying out loud. Use your BRAIN instead of thinking with another body part sometimes.

“A rectitude of conduct, an abiding sense of undeviating justice, unobscured by the demoralizing influences which a corruption-ridden political life so strikingly manifests; a chaste, pure, and holy life, unsullied and unclouded by the indecencies, the vices, the false standards, which an inherently deficient moral code tolerates, perpetuates, and fosters; a fraternity freed from that cancerous growth of racial prejudice, which is eating into the vitals of an already debilitated society — these are the ideals which the American believers must, from now on, individually and through concerted action, strive to promote, in both their private and public lives, ideals which are the chief propelling forces that can most effectively accelerate the march of their institutions, plans, and enterprises, that can guard the honor and integrity of their Faith, and subdue any obstacles that may confront it in the future.

 (Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 22)

hidden word no.21-22

October 23, 2009

21. O SON OF MAN!
Upon the tree of effulgent glory I have hung for thee the choicest fruits, wherefore hast thou turned away and contented thyself with that which is less good? Return then unto that which is better for thee in the realm on high.

22. O SON OF SPIRIT!
Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created.

 (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

 sunset in San Diego

Obama cutting CEO salaries

October 22, 2009

CNN reports tonight that President Obama plans to cut salaries of these bank execs. who keep paying each other billions of dollars while crying that their companies are bankrupt. In some cases, he will cut their pay by 90%. That’s because they are paying themselves over $90 million per year!!

I can’t even waste time beginning to explain the culture of greed that we all have been living under in America. They are despicable. The funny thing is, they probably even think they deserve it. 9/10th of America would like to give them what they deserve, and it ain’t a bonus.

From teaching sociology, the little I know is that American CEOs are paid by FAR–FAR FAR AND ABOVE what other countries pay their CEOs. WAY far and beyond. Our avg. CEO pay according to one textbook is $11M. That is not counting “bonuses” and other fringe benefits which far outweigh just their general salaries.

Then there is the wage “gap”. The avg. CEO makes 400 times what the avg. general worker makes. And that number, or gap, is growing. The gap is not as large in any European country you can think of. Ours is outrageous.

I wonder where we are going with such disparity in the world that 40% of the world live on what is comparable to $2.00/day here in the US. $2.00 per day. Try living on that for a week. You can’t do it. But 40 percent of the world does it. And we go through our days without thinking of them. How is the world set up so that this can happen? How soon before the world closes in on us? How soon before the US is hit with a massive backlash. I see a world caving in on itself, crumbling under the weight of massive materialism, ignorance, apathy and greed, all at the same time. The rest of the world is out there people, and they’re tired of watching their babies die and nobody gives 2 cents. They’re not in CNN every day because we really don’t want ot think about them. We don’t want to see starvation, hunger, disease and suffering on our nightly news. We’d rather see the latest Martha Stewart creation of how to make pretty pictures with glittery paint. (I saw this on Jay Leno last night, believe it or not.)

O CHILDREN OF DUST!
Tell the rich of the midnight sighing of the poor, lest heedlessness lead them into the path of destruction, and deprive them of the Tree of Wealth. To give and to be generous are attributes of Mine; well is it with him that adorneth himself with My virtues.

 (Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words)

from the ocean of Thy grace, a mist may rise

October 20, 2009

I have seen a mist rise from our pond behind our house, where puffs of clouds or smoke rise up from the water, traveling heavenward. It is a mesmerizing sight, and happens in periods of change, when the air is suddenly cooler or warmer.

This morning I read the verse below, and I had a vision of a pure and sanctified place, where the Holy Ones reside, praying together. It is a place of peace, untouched, and unmoved by the comings and goings and happenings of this world. The verses of God are chanted there at all times, as They pray for us there. As I came even a tad near to it, some of them turned Their heads, and were aware of my presence. All was calm, and peaceful, and Holy. It is nice to think there is such a place.

“in the meadows of truth they are as sweet-singing nightingales . . . Above the horizon of being they shine even as radiant stars . . .Grant, O Thou loving Lord, that all may stand firm and steadfast, shining with everlasting splendor . . . that from the ocean of Thy grace a mist may rise, that the kindly showers of Thy love may bestow freshness, and the zephyr waft its perfume from the rose garden of divine unity.”  –Baha’u’llah, Baha’i prayers for protection.

3 die in sweatlodge

October 20, 2009

Some crackpot “guru” who stupid people paid thousands of dollars to take them on a “spiritual journey” to find themselves held his own version of a sweat, where he put 50-60 people inside a sweatlodge and heated up the place. 3 people died.

First of all, why are people such idiots? The guy is so close to a Jim Jones or David Koresch, it seems so obvious. Give me your money, no I’m not Indian and have not involved them in the process at all, this is just a money-making scheme if you haven’t yet figured that out….

Native Americans interviewed said it was disrespectful of their culture for it to be called a sweat lodge, because that’s not what it was. You don’t put 50 people in an enclosed tent, heat up rocks and pour water over them, while chanting some fake Indian chant that has nothing to do with their actual culture.

I don’t know, people will do anything some leader-type figure tells them. I guess we should be well aware of this after WWII.  

I asked my students tonight if they had seen this story in the news, since it’s been on CNN for the past week. Not one had seen it. Go figure.

big cities

October 17, 2009

We just read “Metropolis and Mental Life” by Georg Simmel in theory class last week. Some students told me the largest city they’ve been to was Columbia (size of a medium city of 70,000 or so). Simmel lived in Berlin which had 4 Million people in the early 1900s when he was there. He spoke of the fast-paced lifestyle, and having to live minute to minute, the necessity of a pocket watch. 🙂

large cities I’ve seen, mostly for a sociology conference but not all:

Toronto, Canada (beautiful people, very metropolitan, lots of browns and tans in skin color, and mixtures of Asian/Black/various places. Downtown area the most beautiful I’ve seen. Huge hotel w/rooms overlooking professional baseball games, very artsy downtown. Walked the city and into a neighborhood where people had tiny front yards and no backyards, and they grew vegs. in their tiny front yards. Could buy a ginger beer on the street.

Windsor, Canada, where they have bright red mailboxes instead of blue, just across the river from Detroit

Chicago (a city I knew pretty well)

Philadelphia, lived there when I was 13-16

New York (Sbarros and Empire state bldg., Statue of Liberty, people on the streets, many languages, vendors lining the streets selling stuff)

Washington DC, sociology conference, Leah & I walked the city, Vietnam Vet memorial, Capitol bldg. my favorite.

Cincinnati and Cleveland, OH

Atlanta, GA

(Indianapolis of course)

Detroit

Milwaukee, our son works there

New Orleans now (brilliantly different from any other)

Charleston, SC (on the coast, old city, remnants of slave culture of the south, Civil War times, the ocean, Hyman’s restaurant – good seafood)

Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina

sights & sounds of New Orleans

October 16, 2009

I have seen so much in 2 days here it’s hard to put it into words. Especially quickly. Right now our son Levin is writing his story on the HS football game we attended, for the Times-Picayune. It is due by 11pm. When he finishes that, we will get something to eat somewhere, starting after midnight South Carolina time, 11:00 New Orleans time.

I am thinking of my students at Newberry who told me the largest city they’ve been in, is Columbia, SC. Columbia is the capital city of SC, and the size of Lafayette, Indiana, home of Purdue. It is really NOT a city. It’s not large enough to get the cultural flavor from many different ethnic and cultural groups. Today in New Orleans we saw restaurant after restaurant, and hundreds of little shops, each one different and colorful. Music poured out onto the streets from inside many of them. Music was being done ON the streets as well. There were 2 violin players, one who played with another guitarist outside a French donut place that is famous for their donuts and Cafe au laite. We walked up on the levee — the one that didn’t break — above the French quarter. It is stronger and protects the high class restaurant area, unlike the ones near the 9th ward that busted and sent full river and hurricane water flowing into the city, causing the horrific conditions that followed. We drove past the now rebuilt Superdome, where so many came for shelter and then lived there for days, while babies died from lack of water and chaos ensued.

I can’t be in this city and not think about all the people who suffered, lost their homes, got sick from filthy water, and all the looting that went on. The government aid and troops who never came.

This city is alive for the tourists, but is unique, with a flavor of festivals and soul and jazz unlike anywhere else. I saw a sign that said “Jazz funerals.”

There is so much life and culture in cities! This place is alive with people, from all over, flocking here. I saw a guy with a Yankees shirt on (NY), I saw a guy with a Cubs shirt on (Chicago). After living for over a year in SC where everybody who lives there is FROM there back 3 generations, it is just so refreshing.

The hotel we’re staying in is a “bed & breakfast”. It used to be an orphanage. I wonder what kids slept in my bedroom. It has “flavor”. Paint is coming off the walls. The shower works but they don’t bring you new towels every day. I’m going downstairs now to ask for some more lightbulbs, because we only have 1 out of 4 in a ceiling chandelier that works. It’s okay, it’s colorful, and the cafe downstairs is lively at 11:00 at night, lots of people. I’ve seen 2 roaches, but then this is the humid, hot south, where they just live, no getting around it.

The weather turned cooler tonight, which is a relief. Quite cool, actually, with highs in the mid-60s expected tomorrow.

what does one say at 2:30am

October 15, 2009

Here are some random 2:30 in the morning thoughts. . .

Once you get past the feeling of tiredness, you can basically stay up most of the night. Your adrenalin kicks in and you’re good to go. But the bed will feel good soon anyway.

I got all my grading done BEFORE break. ALL of it. My grades are posted to the student’s little website with grades. Hallelujah. Coming back Sunday night from New Orleans, I’ll be darn glad I did it.

My body is getting older and I don’t like it. Mostly because I’m lazy and not good at exercising. But it’s showing now. Gotta do something. My knees hurt when I bend too much or climb stairs, I look in the mirror and wonder who the hell that is? My face looks older. I don’t like how I look right now. I need to do something sexy.

The world goes to sleep and it’s nice and peaceful at 2am.

So tomorrow we take off for New Orleans and we will drive thru at least 3 states we’ve never been in! Time to pick up some magnets for my frig. Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana. I can’t wait to actually SEE New Orleans. Not a big partier, but I want to see where Katrina blew them under water, where it all took place. I wonder how our weekend will go?

Time to go to sleep now……..