Monday, May 17, 2004


I was glad to see and expecting gay marriage to become legal soon. It shocks me that so many people are against it. I heard a Catholic priest today saying that gays being allowed to marry reflects the downfall of our culture. Oh right! I'm sure that tops:

1. Racism
2. Ethnic hatred
3. Political ignorance
4. A broken educational system
5. Violence against women
6. Political corruption
7. The concentration of media and its unresponsiveness to public needs
8. Destructive narcissism

My point is this:

If two people want to join together in love and lifetime devotion, how does that constitute cultural decline?

Sodomy? If someone looks at a gay couple and imagines "sodomy" or some sexual act a priori the observance of lovelight in that couple's eyes--who is it that's going to hell?

I don't actually believe anyone goes to hell, although I could totally see someone coming back as an insect.

Insects do appear to be unresponsive to love.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Dark Ages

Tim Rutten in the L.A. Times on Saturday aptly pointed out that our philosophy of war places us in a dark age. He notes that since 9/11 the U.S. has had a systematic draconian policy of extrajudicial imprisoning of foreigners and U.S. citizens. The term extrajudicial should seriously frighten us and move us to change the policy. It means that we allow no impartial oversight of our taking of prisoners and that we permit them _no_ rights. They are simply and completely at the mercy of whoever is guarding them. Rutten clearly suggests that immoral means do not lead to a moral end.

Midday on 9/11 as I sat alone on the rooftop of the Brooklyn library in which I worked and watched the smoke billow, I cried over the killings and the evil that had caused it--in some ways I was glad that my father hadn't lived to see this. Although I was scared that more would follow, I was also frightened by Bush and his cronies being in office. I deeply suspected that they would take a less intelligent, overeactive, and an emotionally irrational approach to the whole situation than Clinton/Gore would have. I also suspected that it might not have happened at all if Gore was in office (either it would have been prevented, or Bush's dirty connections in the Middle East helped cause it).

Although it took some time to see it (Bush was more patient about retaliation than I thought he would be--now it looks like they had do a catch-up on terrorism and make plans for invading Iraq)the Abu Ghraib situation now reveals to us how undermining the U.S.' extrajudicial approach to fighting terrorism has been.

To paraphrase Jimmy Carter, war is never good, but it is sometimes necessary. Sometimes our military must kill the enemy, but we show our true colors in the way we treat our enemy when they are naked and powerless. This should have been clear from the top down. Rutten reveals that it is not only the Bush people who have supported amoral policies, but also the press and elite commentators. He quotes Alan Dershowitz over a year ago (a Harvard law professor) suggesting that we should use "extreme measures" and "a torture warrant" against the captured Kahlid Shaikh Mohammed (alleged planner behind 9/11). More than half the CNN audience approved of such measures.

As Rutten points out, torture is what occurred in Hitler's concentrations camps, Stalin's Gulag, Pinochet's Chile, and Hussein's Iraq, and now us...

When America is not the good guy in this war, who the hell is? Are we comfortable joining the bad guys and fighting their kind of war? Maybe we should just start taking out THEIR civilian targets on purpose, that's where we're going with these kind of policies.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

When you're in a fight, and you hold your buddy, he'll get hit...

I was scanning my radio dial last night for news and came across L.A.'s 97.1--Ted and somebody were speaking to callers. They were spouting Republican talking points, points I now realize were started by Rush Limbaugh (he outrageously stated that the Abu Ghraib prison abuse was nothing more than fraternity hazing) and the junior Republican senator from Oklahoma (Sen. John McCain walked out on his speech) that falsely claimed all the prisoners were murderers who didn't deserve to be treated well (our own military reports that 70 - 90% of detainees were jailed there by mistake). The radio hosts had moved on to calling the Iraqi prisoners, "turds" because of the al-Quaida beheading.

I called in to contest their analogy to fraternity hazing. Over their shouts that I was naive and uninformed I managed to make the point that we shouldn't abuse prisoners so that our prisoners don't get abused, and that college men choose to join fraternities and that the prisoners in Iraq were in a totally different situation--that the soldiers had been instructed by their superiors to make those prisoners' lives "hell." When they challenged my assertion that the torture in Iraq was much worse than hazing, I suggested that they read the New Yorker and Newsweek so that _they_ could be better informed.

I thought the radio hosts were going to cut me off any minute, but they just kept calling me stupid and talking over me--trying to tell me the ways fraternities WERE just like the prisoners. I'll concede two reasons now (although I didn't last night):

1. Humiliation.

2. Accidental Death (the radio hosts didn't raise this point).

Here are the more compelling reasons why fraternities are NOT like Abu Ghraib:

1. Fraternity hazing does not lead to our soldiers being at higher risk for enemy prison torture. If we really care about American soldiers lives and treatment when they are prisoners, we need to do what's right with our prisoners.

2. Fraternity hazing does not (that I'm aware of) sodomize with brooms and light fixtures, allow dogs to bite pledges, nor chemically burn pledges (of course, some fraternities inexplicably use branding; a sick practice formerly used on slaves and now cattle). All of these tortures and more were exacted on Iraqi prisoners.

3. Fraternity hazing is not a systematic abuse approved by the Bush administration and their civilian commanders. The soldiers were wrong, but no one has yet stepped forward to say who told them and allowed them to do it. If that happens we'll be a lot more likely to move on from this.

4. Fraternity hazing is meant to create trust and intimacy between "brothers." Torture is meant to terrorize prisoners so that they will spill what they know. I seriously wonder how much intelligence we successfully scared out of a bunch of terrorized rural Iraqis...

The radio show hosts, if they had a noble goal, was to heal this humiliating wound so that we can continue a strong fight in Iraq. Thus, we had the caller (who they knew) saying wise things like, "When you're in a fight, and you hold your buddy to keep him from getting hurt more, that's when he'll get hit..." He was saying that the prison scandle was making the U.S. vulnerable--that we need to move on. This is understandable, but unlikely by their methods. I suggest we move on not by denying that what we did was wrong, but admitting that torture is a mistake (why can't Republicans do this?) and finding the responsible wrong-doers. Can we really believe the soldiers did it on their own--their supervision was completely absent?

The radio hosts, on the other hand, were suggesting that we nuke Iraq as retribution for the beheading. Everyone is reluctant to assign amy blame to the prison images for some reason (ironically, this truly implicates the press!). I think that the publicizing of the Abu Ghraib images encouraged the publicizing of the al-Quaida killing (even though this type of killing has happened before and would again). This is the same horrifying method of execution that was used for Daniel Pearl. In some ways, making the images of war more available may help everyone finish this sooner--they make it more evident that al-Qaida needs to be destroyed.

It's such a strange situation--these prisoners in Iraq are not even prisoners of war (technically), and we're supposed to be building Iraq and offering Iraqis freedom!! I don't even think al- Quaida was there before we were. The double speak is incredible! Which is it? War or Freedom??? Turds or people in need? Okay, we're at war with terrorism, sometimes in Iraq, sometimes in Afghanistan, but we're also freeing Iraq (because we decided that's what they want).

Even in the face of these abuses of power, the Bushies ask, "...who wouldn't want to be freed by us?" Anyone who disagrees with their current "policy" is called "an enemy of freedom." Ridiculous--the U.S. is afraid to give Iraqis real freedom--that and the oil, is why we're still there!

After my call, I was continually referred to as stupid and uninformed, one suggested that I was the (presumably loathed) ex-wife of one of the hosts. Later, a man called in and stated that he couldn't believe I was defending the al-Quaida beheading of an American civilian. What?! On the air, I had clearly condemned the beheading and called it evil, and said it was the same evil that caused 9/11. Neither radio host corrected him, they just let the false accusation linger. I can see that Ted and his pal have a lot of respect for the truth, and that theirs is the only truth.

America right or wrong?

Simply put, we're at peace when we're in the right. Wanting to be wrong (having the arrogance and untethered morals to say America can do whatever it wants), or making wrongs "seem" right, encourages violence and war. We can't expect others not to respond to our wrongs. Before they do, we have to try to right our wrongs through responsible and punitive means without creating scapegoats. Even Bush stated that this is how our democracy works (either his fans aren't listening or Bush is lying). It all depends on what we want for America's role in the world, doesn't it? Harmony or violence.

In the black and white world of conservatives, men advocate war, and women (and pansies who live in Venice, CA and Santa Monica) advocate peace. Over the course of 90 minutes on 97.1, every caller was male, except two, and all the men agreed with the show hosts; two women called to disagree and offer peaceful alternatives. It shouldn't have to be that way--peaceful men, please speak up.

Monday, May 10, 2004


With anger in his eyes and with contempt (for his critics) near, King Bush just declared on television that his hell-of-a-bully Secretary of Defense is owed a debt by all Americans for his excellent work. He praised him without looking at him, he looked at us. Tried to convince us. It felt like the puppet strings around his jaw and hooked to his spine would reveal themselves at any moment. Who is in charge here?

Conservatives and Swing voters

Do conservatives or Republicans that love Bush care about anything more than low taxes, low gas prices, and going to heaven?

Do you wish for quality education for children, clean air and water, and peace on earth?

If so, Bush is not like you. He was born with a silver oil barrel in his mouth. This "skull and bones" Yale graduate, and the elite people in his court, want to conquer the Middle East for the oil and some kind of religious/political vindication. They always have. Why do you think the Middle East is so suspicious of us??

Bush's plan is not going well. He wasn't even elected by most of us. Now the whole world is against us. Fabulous.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Boomer - Gen-X Truce

So yesterday I had a great political conversation with a gay, elite boomer. I realized by talking to him that boomer's will be as financially bust from Bush's economic disaster as my generation will be. He feels as helpless to have stopped this problem (starting with Reagan) as I do. I'm sorry Boomers.

Friendly vs. Synicalfeld

My lover, partner and husband pointed out a funny article by a Washington Post TV critic, noting that the critic was taking a TV show "Friends" far too seriously. This is conspicuously evident when the critic didn't find any humor in the paranoia that spread on an airplane when Rachel told her seat neighbor that her silly friend had just told her something was wrong with a non-existitant, ridiculous-sounding plane part. That was funny precisely because people are vulnerable and are not protected by emperical cynicism. If we can't find humor in human fallibility, we're less likely to check our fallibilities.

Predictibly, the critic made an easy claim that Seinfeld was a "superior" TV show. Hmm. Superior in its cynicism yes, superior in its sense of silliness possibly, but just outright superior? That's just engendering snob appeal.

I remember how Seinfeld's ending episode made fun of its own sad characters--leaving them whining in jail with their dark attitudes. Now Friends ends its show with births, human and animal babies, good sex and commitment. Well, is that just too good to be cool? Is that just too pleasantly meaningful and emotional to appeal to educated, hip people? And whoaa...people actually become richer than Oprah producing this good stuff?!! Isn't that something to celebrate not deride?

I was not an avid Friends watcher, so maybe that's why I was happily surprised when Rachel got off the plane to return to Ross. As the show ended my husband and I both felt a sense of the time that had passed in our own lives, graduate school, divorces, deaths...a generation lived. This was not something either one of us expected to feel. We used to be married to very cynical people, neither of whom wanted children. This seems to be an endemic issue with our generation. As I've noted below, many people care only about their cynical friends, things and jobs. I'm not sure what caused this. To be honest, I think it's just a "hip" attitude. We let ourselves be defined by this kind of attitude in the late 80s. It just sucks as one gets older, less cute, and wonders why there's no family around, no reliable friends.

We hope that this is not an end to telelvision shows that cast a positive light on the best of human relationships--ironically, even as he derisively (with a hint of the anti-feminine) classifies Friends as a soap opera, positive television is something the cynical critic seems to wish the remains of the day.

Monday, May 03, 2004


The low ranking soldiers that are being punished for the Nazi-style prison tortures in Iraq (yes, Hitler pissed on his lover for kicks and his Nazi's treated people as subhuman amusements) were know-nothing adolescents acting out something that was encouraged by their superiors. Sadly, I find these acts to be compatible with American "traditional values."

Whether it's Puritanical, fundamentalist, or some other religious value, or the abstract philosophical attitudes that permeate our educational systems--Americans have a ridiculously hard time respecting the human body. We consider it profane, never sacred. This not only goes for considering the integrity of others' bodies, it goes for how we treat our own bodies, and extends into our treatment of trash, air and water.

There is an endless list of symptoms that reveal our distance from physical respectfulness. From our lack of interest in cleaning the air we breath, to abusive fraternity and sorority customs, and police brutality, to rational people who will starve, barf, medicate or submit themselves to surgery in order to appear thin or young--we treat human bodies like renewable earth that is astonishingly separate from human minds, spirits and souls.

We are stuck in this segregation like never before: Clothing advertisements pimping models; hip-hop videos with soft-porn singers; public rape trials; reality TV cosmetic surgery; reality TV funeral rites. I saw an 80 year-old woman wearing a red mid-driff with a tennis skirt today. She looked really good, wasn't crazy or weird, but it's odd and disconserting to be 80 and still wearing a middriff. Haven't we learned by this age that we don't need to publicly prove our aging physical beauty in lagging competition with our engaging personalities? You know it's bad when even men are starting to complain that they have low self-esteen (due to the proliferation of perfect appearing men in magazines and on billboards). As much as I welcome men into the "gee, that's not me" club--we really need a healthier balance! It seems that every day we have less and less respect for physical sacredness or limits!

I'm not asking us to treat our bodies like temples (although that's great), let's just work on treating our bodies as well as our cars, or our favorite electronics or CDs, or hell, our kitchen sinks (we keep those flowing and clean, and we're careful what we put in the disposal, right?). Any wrongs that were committed against our bodies through old-fashioned ideas of religious humility or sexual suppression cannot be repaired by wanton exploitation and physical obsession. Lest one thinks that the secular world is causing all of this physical abuse--I know of few born-again environmentalists and have yet to hear George Bush's moral outrage over the atrocities that took place in that Iraqi prison.

It is not surprising to me that adolescent American soldiers (I never let myself forget the influence of chaotic adolescent hormones on people well into their 20s) in the grip of an irrational war might behave toward enemy prisoners in a manner lacking any sense of physical dignity or respect. Enforcing their orders, they probably rationalized that since they have the American understanding that "body and spirit" are to be separate, so should their victims (if they perceived their victims to have souls at all). As Americans we don't recognize that we are but CHILDREN in our sense of holiness. Instead, we act as arrogant, self-righteous crusaders branding ourselves with G_d's stamp of approval even as we find those among our ranks commiting acts of war and horrific abuse.

Until our world leaders and citizens respect the body, mind and spirit as one (you could say that this is the holy trinity) we will not be at peace anywhere--in ourselves, in our homes, or with our neighbors. This isn't some kind of hocus-pocus belief system, it doesn't even have to be about G_d, it's about the basic human requirements one needs to experience life and people with wonder, humor and grace.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Cynicism and Withdrawal

So you may have read my Boomer bash below. I have another gripe with them that came up today--Social Security reform. Who's doing it? Young people and George Soros have been pissed off about it for years and our government is ignoring it. If anyone's going to save it, it will be Democrats, and only then if we come together and raise a loud stink about it. We simply need means testing and safe investing starting NOW. Those of us who are working and under 40 are going to be taxed by social security and never benefit from it if we don't act NOW.

This also seems to be the only issue that lights a fire under my generation's ass. My husband and I have talked with several people, left leaning, who don't "like" John Kerry or George Bush. Because of this, they are thinking they won't vote, or may even vote for Bush so that there taxes aren't increased. The only people getting a measurable tax break right now are polluters and corporate job exporters. I digress--the point is--Xers are so cynical and withdrawn from any political reality that they don't realize that there actually is a difference between Democrats and Republicans. Who cares if John Kerry's likeable--it's his "people" that matter. Bush hired a bunch of psycho hawks and crusaders, Kerry will actually hire people who know what the hell is going on in the world. Our withdrawn friends seem to care only about social security taxes.

Okay then, Democrats are simply better for working people, the environment, and world peace. Republicans are better for global corporations, polluters, and messy and incompetent wars. Republicans are also better liars, double-speakers and soundbite generators. How else could they convince us that they are better financial managers (hello...Enron)?

I must admit that we do know one nice Republican LOBBYIST who cares about public schools, and, perhaps significantly, he is not a boomer.

Please, may we forever lift our Gen-X veils of cynicism and withdrawal from politics? If we must, we can keep them in regard to our religions, families and love (at our own emotional expense). I just don't want our (few) children to be guaranteed a childhood of asthma because of Republican greed.

Diet and Floaters

My husband and I are beginning to get floaters before our eyes. We've read that is the result of getting older and the vitreous fluid thins, sometimes creating gelly chunks that cast little shadows that appear as dots or blobs or specs. I can't seem to find a link between floaters and diet, and I find no medicinal recommendation for prevention. This frustrates me. It seems to me that someone out there would know how to keep the vitreous fluids from thinning. Maybe aloe vera juice would help, it's thick, and it works miracles in the body. I wonder if it isn't something in the polluted L.A. environment--I didn't have my floater until I'd lived here nine months. I've also started drinking diet coke or pepsi, which I've never done, which I think might already put me at risk for diabetes, so now I'm thinking that those artifial sweeteners might also contribute to floaters. It's the only unnatural, inorganic (isn't it?) thing we consume!

Boomers to Blame

It has been years since I decided to blame Boomers, those born between the years 1946 and 1964, for very bad behavior. It is time again.

I live and work on the West coast, near the beach, in an urban city. I recently started work for a large cultural institution. It has a heavy, boomer-laden bureaucracy. I hold a responsible managerial position there, but I have never personally met the female head executives. I saw them yesterday after a presentation to the whole staff where the CEO actually said to us, "Wow, we expected stupid questions and didn't get any!"

At the reception aftwards I had an opportunity to introduce myself to No. 1 and No. 2, but I didn't because I am constantly getting the message from my own bosses to keep my head down, not to rock the boat, and to keep my mission there to myself. In fact, minutes ago I had received one of those messages from my immediate superior just after I spoke up at the meeting.

I work for a team of boomer executive women, both good and bad, and the company execs are women, good and bad. My friends and I have long experienced a "woman in power problem" that I'm now thinking might really be a "boomer woman in power" problem. The issue with these problem leaders is: How to manage staff--especially the childless young women we are suspicious/jealous/unable to relate to--effectively while being a passive-aggressive, or simply abusive, hardass. Oh wait, I shouldn't generalize, I've known two, no one, good exception to that (the second woman I was thinking of was born before 1946).

So I thought to myself, "Why have I never been introduced to the execs, and now that I think about it, weren't these the very people who, when I first started at the company, entered my administrative area with a VIP, looked over the specs of the area, and were about to totally ignore me before I introduced myself?" I remembered yesterday how terribly uncivilized that was and is--which led me to think about how this used to be considered rude behavior.

I thought that maybe in the 1940s one NEVER walked into a room with another living person in it without introducing oneself and one's guests. Especially a CULTURED, EDUCATED person...perhaps I'm just too English sometimes. Even elitists, whom we currently don't expect to talk to us unless they need something, managed to do introduce themselves back then. At least I like to think they did. This kind of rudeness could be the whole reason our company has such bad morale and high turnover.

So, I call on all my friends and family, and boomers too, please be courteous to one another--introduce yourself and others to your neighbor. It instills peace.


I started this blog so that when I have an urge to rant I can spare it from the ones I love. I also have a need to share things that I've learned in my life and many people aren't interested in learning about these things. Much of it involves healthy eating and everyone's sensitive about food. In some ways, telling someone how to eat is like telling them how to have sex. I think that's why I've stayed a painter instead of becoming a Nutritionist. But I suspect that a blog allows those who want to know the things I've learned to find them.

So, I'm not only here to rant about my experiences and philosophies of sex and gender, politics, and religion, but also food.