I haven't found how to change the date of my posts yet. As a result, the long pieces, such as the one I just posted about Herman Slater, go in order from the first date I started them. Though I may finish them in April, they may end up a February post. So please take a look back at the list of posts to your right. There are new posts going into prior months. I'll be correcting this, as from here on I'll write elsewhere and post the finished product as the latest. Thanks and sorry. The Herman piece is dated February 23, though I just published it. It's all new to me....
So, after many emails from friends and family encouraging me to join Facebook (hereafter called Fecebook) I caved.
As soon as I got on, a barrage of recommended 'friends' to link to came up. They were all people I'd watched on Youtube. Hmmmmmmmmm. How'd they know who I've watched on Youtube? Eh, don't be paranoid.
So I changed my password as instructed, went to re-log in, and they wouldn't let me go further until I dumped my cookies into their system. Whoa, Nellie! You've already scanned my Youtube use, now you want to know all my business?
For 3 days I tried to log in without giving them all the info they wanted to mine from me, and couldn't. People cajoled and called me paranoid. It was amazing to me that these folks (well, 2 people) had no problem with all their personal info being mined by a nameless, faceless corporation. And once you give access, you can't take it back. I don't care what they want it for; it's my friggin business! What if some whack job that works for them (and you know there are plenty) wants to track me down? Or use my accounts? No, no. This sister isn't that trusting of my fellow nutcase or a megacorporation.
So bye bye Fecebook. I have a phone, an email and one can always write to me or send photos in the real mail. Fecebook always seemed an egotistical waste of time to me, which is why I never joined it. Now I see it's much worse; it's an info-mining empire.
Yesterday morning I pumped up on coffee, grabbed my sign and headed down to the Harmony Lot to be a Free Hugger for the first time. My good pal Cam had come by with birthday presents and a muffin, and went with to take a few pix and share some hugs.
It was sunny. Very sunny. While we settled ourselves on the brick wall across from Frankie's it became apparent it was gonna be warm. "85, they said, on the weather report", said Cam. Oh yes, warm. No cloud cover.
Within a couple of minutes, people saw the sign and came over to hug. The first two young girls had apparently heard of the Free Hugs Campaign and even took pix wth me. Then I sat there holding the sign, smiling at the passersby who glanced and kept walking.
But pretty soon, people came over, unable to pass up hugging: a big handsome gangsta type (if you haven't been hugged by a gangsta, get one) a few homeless folk lots of regular Brattleburgers Greg Worden, Vt Artisan Design owner Rick Neumann, stained glass artist a young woman who cried in my arms a couple of sweet older ladies I lost count at 26 cuz a gang of tweeners grabbed me.
It's impossible to put into words how it feels. You're getting more hugs than you have ever in your life had at one time. People are hugging you for a reason and you don't know what their reason is unless they say so. One homeless guy had hung back when his girlfriend had already come for one. He came over, kinda bashful, but after the hug he broke into the biggest smile I've seen in forever. The young woman who cried in my arms took me by surprise. Here a beautiful girl, who should have the world at her feet, was heartbroken. I choked, but told her everything was gonna be all right. She whispered, "I hope so." And I hope so, too.
I'm sure people can do this without the emotional tour de force I got. But it blew me away. I came in just exhausted after 2 short hours. Really short- I thought it was only 45 minutes or so. But I felt on top of the world and totally humbled at the same time. Like I said; impossible to put into words. You really have to try it. I recommend everyone does it at least once. I'll be going back for more.
The phenomenon of the week, maybe a long time to come, is Susan Boyle. If you've had any contact with the outside world you know she's the Scottish unemployed 47 year old woman who's had people weeping with an emotion they haven't touched in a while. With something like 80 million views of the Youtube clips from her audition on "Britain's Got Talent", a combined media frenzy over her from the internet to all other media and back and the attention of anyone who's seen those clips, she's something extraordinary. If you haven't seen it go do so. Just put her name in the youtube search and click on the one w/ something like 30 million hits. It's the best version.
If that performance doesn't effect you, you must be on heavy drugs.
Her celebrity comes timely. Obama, gay marriage, Susan Boyle. Hopes. People are into hope, it seems. Equality is a running theme too. Bigotry over skin color, sex orientation and now appearances are getting spotlights shined into their murky caves and flashing mirrors at the Neanderthals who espouse that shit. It's nice.
My take on the big picture is that fear has been ingrained in folks to a huge degree. Some pointed at it and used reason. Some cried and recovered to an extent. Some are fearless and just kept their eyes open. But an enormous number of people clung to fear and still are. It's not just the states, it's all over the world. We are a world full of PTSD survivors. It's left scars. It's left a mess; total insecurity, lost faith in one's government, miles of dead bodies everywhere, a dozen channels broadcasting sensationalized news. Soon we had ranting couch potatoes ranting over what they were told to rant about. "Why think? These guys say they're fair and balanced and they've done the thinking. They know better than I do about these things. They make more money than me." It's also the same thing with those who are hanging onto the jingoist and intolerant abusive religious crap. It's all about fear. Come on, people.
But humanity has one saving grace that's inevitable, and that's change. Nothing lasts forever. Nobody can live in fear forever. I don't believe we're a whole world full of cowards. That's not us, the human race. I think we're in varying stages of PTSD and folks are working it out best they can. Cautious optimism blooms like crocus in Spring. Fearfully we are scoping for heroes. Role models. Somebody who's like us, not a WASP (Ivy leagued of course), nor perfectly fit and youthful and gorgeous of face, nor fawned on. People like us who had the talent but not the look. People who held personal responsibilties more important than their dreams seemed to be. People who never lost that seed of hope and carried it. That's humanity, not cowards. And when we honor and realize that we have that inate heart of mercy, man can we move mountains.
We are having surprising wins. People are going back to religion and spirituality, reclaiming it from abandonment to the fringe ends of the Bell Curve. Taking Step 2, some would say. The Age of Aquarius others say. A society in PTSD; a recovering nation takes Step 2 in bizarre and wonderful ways. Hope. Are hearts opening? Have we just been desperately seeking Susan to remind us of who we really are? Or are we with Mulder, and Want To Believe? It all sounds good to me, like Susan's singing.
People have needs, and they aren't too picky about how they're fulfilled. Example: the Credit industry sprang forth in my twenties. There was a need, under Reagan, to appear to be wealthy. Money was the God of the day and you showed how much you had by your possessions. Designer labels (even designer shampoo, for godssakes), brand name everything, nouvelle cuisine, all 80s creations. Before the 80s nobody would wear other people's names on themselves.
Folks got credit en masse, at high interest rates, and began living way beyond their means. The poor and students were targeted by marketers to get Easy Credit. All you needed was a phone and bank account. This heretofore unknown option was, and is, too good to be true.
Not only does credit/borrowing dig a hole, it encourages the cycles of poverty and encourages instant gratification/irresponsibility . Impulse buying soared. POS Advertising and marketing and promotion grew to invasive proportions, creating demands for things nobody needed. Then "infomercials" replaced sitcoms in late- and overnight tv broadcasting.
It's nice to have the finer things. There were finer things to be had. And there are always Joneses to keep up with in your life. Gordon Gecco said "Greed is good". Credit could make you look like you had bucks, and in the 80s it was all about appearances. I know whole neighborhoods that compete over material displays, to this day. This behavior rubs off on the kids, who come to expect lavish kiddie parties and mountains of presents. The Dudley Dursley Syndrome.
But for whom is this set up a win-win situation? The rich, of course. Not only do they get the money they invest back in triplicate, one way or another; they begin to look as heroes just because they're rich and that's what we should be aspiring to be. This breeds the theory that if you're poor you're a lazy loser, or worse. Remember Bush #2's infamous quote that, "Not all poor people are murderers"? Thanks, Georgie. What insightful understanding of economic class he possesses! Right up there with the Sheriff of Nottingham. The rich hold control over us via the moneystrings they hold- they create the tune we dance to and set the prices we pay. No matter what, it's to their advantage. Ever hang out with the rich? The topic of the conversation is always their money and what they're doing with it. Rarely is that ever in humanitarian deeds.
Meanwhile... we get deeper in debt and a sort of pointlessness sets in; we'll never not be in debt so why not buy it all? And snap! We've sold our future financial freedom, our good names and any security for a wardrobe with other people's names all over it, a car we can't afford to run, a bunch of toys and gadgets we don't need or use and a pretense we should never have bought into.
Next time you see Tommy Hilfiger walking down the street, remember to give my regards, please.
What the hell is the rightie tightie wing whining about today? About their own Teabagging -militant protesting over taxes that the six figured haven't paid since Kennedy's Presidency.
I say, " Oh Christ... tough shit and grow up the 80s are over." I want to ask the numbnuts out there yelling their taxes are going to the Welfare Queens (they're the US redneck version of Leprechauns, except Welfare Queens don't really exist): "How much are your new taxes costing you?" Because unless those were all doctors, lawyers and others whose initials get them called by their last names, it doesn't effect them, or the majority of us. The people who are working at Waldemort, in offices, out of trucks, in stores and small manufacturing plants in our country won't pay any more. In fact, most of them will pay less taxes. It's the six figured, who've had tax breaks for their entire adulthood and feel entitled, who will be kicking in more. From what I saw of the quarter million who showed up, not many of these were the professionals, except for the GOP bigshots. But you see, they have foot soldiers.
The foot soldiers of the rich are the working optimists. These are the people who may really never make out much better than to partially pay their mortgages before croaking (like my folks). They work like hell, pay their bills, play by the rules, mind their bizness, raise and support their dependents and are the backbone of our nation. The middle class. They're a smaller group than they used to be in monetary terms, but much of the working poor perceive themselves to be middle class. I think that's because of the credit trap (a prior post). What they cling to, will defend to the death, is the right to be rich. Someday, they beLIEve, they will be rich, or one of the kids will, and "we're gonna protect that right". Not unlike the slaves who fought and died for the Confederacy. I don't get it, never have, but there it is. It's one of our mass hallucinations.
When we can peel these people out of their Fox TV mentality and get them to look at reality instead of beLIEving predigested nuggets of info with derogatory chuckles that make them feel superior, we can maybe then start working on real issues that pertain to them. While they live in a cotton candy bed of promises, visible jingoism and pie in the sky, this country is no better than it was under Bush.
Easter was the second big deal of all holidays when I was a kid. Our church was a frenzy of preparations. Choir rehearsals, the church breakfasts, the choir robes got dry cleaned (!), the parish hall floor got a new finish, there were flowers all over the place, inside and out. It was beautiful.
The biggest deal to me, before I was old enough to join the choir, was the Cross of Flowers. There was a 7' shadowbox cross with a chicken wire cover on front. Every Easter it was at the edge of the altar, waiting for the parish kids to fill it with the flowers they'd brought. When I was 4 or 5 I scrambled over my family to bring my flower to the cross first, to the embarassment of my family and amusement of everyone else. But I remember being so overcome with wanting to give my flower to Jesus that I didn't care about anything but getting up there to my minister so he could put it on Jesus' cross. When filled with all the flowers it was a sight like an Easter card and filled the church with the once a year truly heavenly smell of flower gardens. I have a photo of our minister, Dr. Marion Matics (a remarkable man) and me standing with it the last year I went. I believe I was 12. Good memories.
Easter was also a "turn out in your finest" event. If we didn't get all new clothes, we got new accoutrements to make old outfits fresh. Sometimes the accoutrements weren't technically new, but new to us. Since I was the only girl I always got a new hat and shoes at the least. Which meant that Easter Sunday was pain. That elastic string under your chin was irritating no matter what you did with it but you didn't complain. Jesus had just suffered and died for your sorry ass; don't bitch about anything. At least the hat could come off when you got home; the shoes were another story. Usually they were black patent leather (or pleather in the lean years) and they were your church shoes for a year. You'd best make them last til next Easter. They'd be big on your feet, so you could grow into them for a year. They'd give you blisters on your heels everytime you wore them until sometime in the fall. All your socks and tights had bloodstains at the heel; it was ripping scabs off to get them off your feet. I remember that at Thanksgiving my shoes were always at peak- still in good shape, but totally broken in, fitting me without friction blisters. From then on it was a game of making them last til the Spring. One year (4th grade) a pair was so tight by February that I couldn't bend my feet- they were bound stiff in them. They were also the only pair I had that got on my feet at all, so I pretended I was Chinese and my feet were being bound so I would walk like a lady. Which also led me to walk with a book on my head, like they did on the Patty Duke Show. To this day I can mish my toes together into the perfect shape of those shoes.
Easter also meant that we would be at Nana's house. It was a combination of dread and awe to go there. My Uncle Bert's study was a ham radio station and where he did his artwork. We crept in there expecting to be thrown out at any moment. Nana's furniture was Victorian and dark and stodgy. Her parlor rug was sacred. They were remains of the family's wealthier days, pre-Depression. There was no running, no loudness, no tomfoolery. It was exhausting to contain myself, to behave with the manners Nana demanded. My brothers, older, could adapt by harassing each other with low voices. I wasn't old enough to know how. Anything I did was loud and childish so I hid under the library or dining table, playing silently to myself or stealthily watching TV. Or pouting.
By the 60s TV was a big deal. Uncle Bert was an electrical engineer, and was always rebuilding his stereo and TV. He built a color TV, the first I ever saw. I think we spent more time watching my Dad and Uncle tearing these things apart and replacing things than we ever did watching entertainment. But Easter was mandatory TV watching. The Wizard of Oz, with its joys and horror. Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. The Wonderful World of Disney (the Disney colors!). Midget and Women wrestling. So Easter became the "Watch Colour TV" holiday at Uncle Bert's house (by that time Nana was gone).
I stopped going to church in the early 70s. Easter, I learned, was only one among many Spring religious traditions. While the formal church fell away from my life, some traditions went on. To this day, I still have colored boiled eggs and chocolate around on Easter, I still eat lamb for dinner, I still want flowers to fill my head with dreams. This year finds me more than at peace with the church. But not so much that I'll go.
Vermont made all marriages equal this week. I'm so damn proud I cried. Esophageal cancer took Our Seth before he could partake, but I know he's happy to see it from where he is. It wasn't easy; it was right down to the finish line hold your breath is it really gonna pass I don't wanna watch scary. But it passed in a very unusual override of the Gobner's veto. I have nothing but disdain for Dandy Douglas.
So they're back at their nameless fear tactics. Everybody's gonna die! Oh Jesus run for your life! There's a storm growing! AAAAAAAGGGGGHHH! What the fuck is wrong with these people, and do they really think we're all that stupid? I do enjoy the youtube acting auditions for the parts, but how much ya wanna bet that ol' Edith in her living room sees this and writes them a check?
What's most curious to me is the nameless threat -that "some of the people who promote Gay Marriage" are also up to something else with big black lurking Satanic clouds helping them. Well, what are they up to? These freaks don't say. It's enough for them to engender fear. The populASS has been trained via Bush's Big Brother Broadcasting to be told they have to fear something. That's enough for these chickens. They'll be calling their friends and saying something at church, that's for sure, oh you betcha. There's something to fear! Hooray, we have something to fear! But what that something is, they can't tell you. Because they don't know. It's a secret.
Oh, BTW, if you say to them, "But I'm one of those people, I'm not up to anything!" They'll give you a patronizing look and tell you you're being used and don't know who you're affiliating with and give you some kinda pat on a body part. All very superior. Not very Christlike. But then neither is bearing False Witness. Or prejudice.
I never know what to expect from April. So far, this year it's been a hemorrhoid. Miscommunication by authorities who do not take responsibility. Uncharacteristic disorganization on my part. Crazy people getting crazier (though I'm very happy that 2008 swept the hardcore disfunctional nuts out of my life- those left are at least able to wipe their own asses and have been able to since toddlership without yelling for Mommy- a good sign). And death, as usual, still takes the hindmost. However, what's disappointing is that our dreams of going back to the family seat are over. The memorial judgment my cousin sent says that while the court recognizes the fraud committed and sees reason for all the grievance, it's too long ago (well, that was for good reason-we didn't know we were being ripped off when it happened) and basically fuck us for calling. We're entitled to our titles and matriculation, but that's it. If I ever meet a Mitchell-Innes, I feel for them. We figured out cousin Jack is our Clan Chief, and he'll get the baroncy arms. We'll all matriculate from there on. So that's over and I can put that dream away. Kinda sad, but it was always the family legend and the history that mattered. It's damn good to know my forebears were right, not deluded and not grasping for something that wasn't ours to claim. It's just too damn late. In other important things, Gay Marriage is just a hair away from happening in Vermont. I'm always proud of this place but I choke up to think we've finally gotten this far against such prejudice and out of state pressure by big monied bigots. Some of the Legislature members gave heartbreakingly honest speeches. Wish I could send them all flowers. Of all things, Iowa's SC made it legal today. One state at a time, sweet Jesus.... And still, Uncle Glenn's estate drags on. Who knows what will happen with that? The RE market is pretty dead; houses are selling for half the price they were. I ain't "living for dead men's shoes" but it's been a year and 3 months and nothing? Right now I can't afford the lawyer to lean on his lawyer. But I'll be calling and asking on Monday, "Hey, Cosmo, WTF?"
And then there's Mr. Right. But he's a subject for another day. Nice to find someone not entirely insane in this town, this world, these days. :)