Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dear Sir or Madam,

As a member of this theoretically representative democracy, I and most of the people I know are not feeling represented at all, at this time.

Mr Lieberman is the dog in the manger, Mr Nelson beside him, grabbing benefits for themselves in the face of the New York Times/CBS News Poll showing 72% of respondents in favor of a government administered health plan.


Opponents of abortion represent only, at most, 25% of American, composed of evangelical christians and catholics.

If you recall, our nation is a secular one, perhaps you should review our constitution and the bill of rights you are sworn to uphold. There should be a test to enter public office, composed of random questions from both.

Keep in mind: Article II, Section 1.8 does not actually contain "So Help Me God".

Article VI, Section 3 ".. no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office.. "

In fact, the religious minority is NOT allowed to tell everyone else what to believe, or what to do. No one is.

If you don't like abortion, and don't want to allow it, don't worry. People who believe as you do, won't get one. That's less than a quarter of the population (http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_rate.htm). You don't have the right to tell anyone else what to do.

It's a far worse decision than 25% of the population telling the rest of them they have to get circumcised, wear headscarfs, or panty hose.

Shame on you! Shame on you for violating our Constitution, shame on you for condemning so many young women to death and poverty.

Shame on you, parties to this incredibly violative agreement. I, and countless thousands, are disgusted with you.

When young people are FULLY educated about reproductive health and given free, affordable access to conventional, healthy family planning tools and ideas for reaching adulthood without reproductive mishaps, they have a higher success rate than if they are just told to pretend they will never be faced with the choice, or that choices are easy.


Furthermore, senior officials were INTENTIONALLY left out of technical, rational discussions on Morning After birth control: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5427939

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow.. in the sanctuary, thou art with me.. and I listen..


Perhaps you don't understand, that pregnancy in poverty, breeds pregnancy..


If you truly wish to prevent abortion, make SCIENTIFIC sex education mandatory in junior high, make sure that access to science-based family planning is freely available with NO questions, barriers or "state interrogations". Put minority "faith-based" services in their place- voluntary and elective.

To quote the great philosopher Bessie Smith; "Ain't Nobody's Business, If I Do".

I've got a big fat check sent off to NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and whoever is running against you in the next election, if you aren't paying attention to the great big percentage of Female-Americans who are tired of your misinformation, your misogyny, and your willful ignorance of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Perhaps you should go pay our governing document a visit. It is a more reasonable document, than the one you laid your hand on, when you were sworn in. Furthermore, it was the document you swore to uphold. The other only works for a small percentage of the populace.

Thank you for your time and attention: Please don't send me a condescending letter about how you are working to protect me from the nasty old health reform bill or choice advocacy. I will be counting every one of these communications as a violation, and sending double my original donation to NARAL, or your opponent in the coming year, for every one of these automatic miscommunications/deliberate insults.

I can afford it.

You can't.

Emily D Gordon

Frederick, Maryland

Monday, December 21, 2009

We're dressed up and mostly prepared for the holidays..
It seems like I haven't been anywhere for the holidays for a decade now, that I wasn't homesick for somewhere else.

We've just had a lovely batch of snow, he got an extra day off and I am quite busy with my practice.
I have a full-time job now, between managing the practice, and actually "practicing".

I'm listening to Thomas Friedman talk about traveling between Europe and the US being like "travelling between the Jetsons & the Flintstones".

He's right. We may have pioneered, but we are lost in a political morass of past loyalties keeping new ideas, technologies, even rational science from improving our lives.
We took high-speed trains across Europe, safe, sound, well fed and catered to. The most expensive train took us across Europe for less than $450 in less than 7 hours.

We still talk about going back, because no one here can get enough momentum to go forward.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I am writing to express my dire disappointment in our representative democracy's ability to 1. uphold the constitution and 2. accurately represent the American People.

We have the Capacity for Reason. We need only the Opportunity to learn about it.

You may NOT legislate reproductive morality, without the taint of minority religious prejudice.

You may not pass laws about abortion, which are not tainted by extremist minority religious practice. You may also pass laws about circumcision or clitoridectomy, before you pass laws about what a free person may do within the confines of his or her body. If you would not consider these laws, do not consider any about or having to do with a a woman and any state of her body. If men could get pregnant, it would not be in question.

First of all, in case you have forgotten, our constitution does not sponsor any state religion.

Therefore, no specific religious rules may be applied or enforced.

Article II, Section 1.8 does not actually contain "So Help Me God".

Article VI, Section 3 ".. no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office.. "

I propose that unintentional or unwilling pregnancy be defined as "Involuntary Servitude", that is, slavery to BOTH the father, and the fetus. In fact, this is the biological state of the gestating mother, willing or not.

To say otherwise is to profess a profound misunderstanding of biology, which is rampant due to education cuts in both biology and reproductive education in the public system. Some products of our miseducation system prove the point by denying both evolution and climate change, and ending up in the Senate by no benefit of intellect.

THEREFORE: Amendment XIII, Section 1, constitutionally excludes human beings, including women, from involuntary servitude and slavery via unwanted pregnancy, and places the onus on the state to both prevent (!) and resolve this situation, when it unfortunately occurs.

THEREFORE: Access to Family Planning should be both free and freely accessible. That is, public education should contain SCIENTIFICALLY BASED information about sperm, eggs, intromission and TECHNICAL methods of avoiding impregnation. All other methods of education are based in either culture or religion and are not technically sound, and furthermore result in higher rates of pregnancy AND ABORTION.

Furthermore, senior officials were INTENTIONALLY left out of technical, rational discussions on Morning After birth control: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5427939

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow.. in the sanctuary, thou art with me.. and I listen..


I cannot stand this information- Would you send %52 of the population, from Nancy Pelosi to Madonna, back into the kitchen to make babies and bake cookies?

If you would, please sign up with the Taliban and leave your Senate or House post immediately, so that I can use you for target practice with the highest caliber weapon I can get my hands on, and train my sisters to use as well.

Perhaps you don't understand, that pregnancy in poverty, breeds pregnancy..


Perhaps I should thank you for precipitating grounds for a revolution on the part of any one of our %52, who is Paying Attention. You don't care about anything but making your religious benefactors happy.

Maybe you should care about the people you represent.

Maybe you should care about what happens to women, and their children, should they care to have them.. and should they care to have them, how they care for them. If you don't care, the %52 will let you know, if you pass or fail. So far, it's an EPIC FAIL. Shame on you, if you can't convince your colleagues, that their minority religious beliefs are WORSE than equivalent to forced circumcisions (male and female) and if they have not given birth themselves, (most members of the Senate or Congress have NOT!) if they would willingly and freely pass an entire coconut through their nether regions, as often as they have been willing to engage in carnal knowledge and/or intercourse. This thought process may have saved our august elected representative bodies much trouble, should it have been in any part, undertaken. Tiger, should have taken notes. Character epic FAIL.

Ask them if they would have enjoyed that process, as well as paying for college tuition for said coconut.

Then, perhaps, the Family Planning agenda begins to make some sense to the conceptual reproductive virgin, as some 85% of our supposedly "Representative" body are trying to come to terms with.

You do not Represent, if you don't stand up for us.

We are +%52.

We outnumber you.

We are mobilizing, we are Paying Attention. .

You are religious minorities with no right to regulate the MAJORITY.

We are speaking, and we are the majority. Many more than you think, are not religious.


You have no business legislating anything, anyone, by any power or religion.

This is a secular state, a free country.

Legislatively, religion does not, and should not, exist.


"By about the year 2042, non-Christians will outnumber the Christians in the U.S."

Against Choice? Change it to "Pro-Slavery" and be honest about your agenda.

I've got a length of sheepskin written a long time ago, says I'm right.

Yeah, I actually read the muthafrakka.

Read it yourself, and keep your job.

I read the research, and I will do my very best to spread it around, and Pay Attention.

I will be aiding, abetting, assisting, and SENDING LOTS OF MONEY to everyone who supports this free agenda, and aiding, assisting, and abetting EVERYONE who opposes you, if you don't.

Trust me, I'm Santa, I'm keeping names & bank numbers.

Just keep this in mind:

"By about the year 2042, non-Christians will outnumber the Christians in the U.S."

Keep abortion language out of health care discussions.

Those who believe as you do, won't get abortions.

The rest, you have NO RIGHT to legislate.

Therefore, you have discharged your duty.

Go home, and let the rest of us take on the duty, commensurate with the rest of the Modern Western Civilization, of taking care so that our population does not drive us all into bankruptcy with unanswered health needs.


"Increasing adolescent abortion rates show positive correlation with increasing belief and worship of a creator, and negative correlation with increasing non-theism and acceptance of evolution; again rates are uniquely high in the U.S. (Figure 8). Claims that secular cultures aggravate abortion rates (John Paul II) are therefore contradicted by the quantitative data. Early adolescent pregnancy and birth have dropped in the developed democracies (Abma et al.; Singh and Darroch), but rates are two to dozens of times higher in the U.S. where the decline has been more modest (Figure 9). Broad correlations between decreasing theism and increasing pregnancy and birth are present, with Austria and especially Ireland being partial exceptions. Darroch et al. found that age of first intercourse, number of sexual partners and similar issues among teens do not exhibit wide disparity or a consistent pattern among the prosperous democracies they sampled, including the U.S. A detailed comparison of sexual practices in France and the U.S. observed little difference except that the French tend - contrary to common impression - to be somewhat more conservative (Gagnon et al.)."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Texan has come back to the American Continent.

Not willingly.

Our feet dragged through Schiphol to the fateful plane which would drag us, from our final flight for some years, from our beloved Europa.

I didn't know I needed to check in online with United instead of Lufthansa, and kind of freaked out when we couldn't figure it out.
We also looked at each other, full of the knowledge that we wouldn't be so bad off, making our way in Europe.
Hell, we put a national health care system in Afghanistan, but we won't do it for ourselves..

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Plenty is a funny place.

A couple of decades ago, I bought my first thanksgiving turkey.
I left it out to thaw too long in the Texas heat, and the giant thing (I had splurged) began to stink, and I realized I had to throw it out.

Twenty bucks was a little less than a days' work, in those days, for me, and it was heartbreaking.
I had wanted to cook it in the apartment I had just rented with a friend from school.. I'd like to say we were college roommates, but she was in college, and I was just getting by.

I remember the sickening thud as the carcass hit the bottom of the dumpster.. it was as if my dreams of independence had fallen to the bottom of the cheap metal container along with the poor wasted turkey's rotted flesh. I remember slinking sheepishly to my dad's for thanksgiving. That man is going to be very surprised when St Peter hands him a sainthood for making some effort to raise this loose cannon.

That Christmas, I went into the vacant lot behind our sleazy apartment complex with a spare hacksaw and brought in a scraggly little cedar tree for us to decorate.
We couldn't afford ornaments, and used stuffed toys & lingerie.. it was the Snoopy & Woodstock Crossdress Christmas.

This holiday is very different.
I have the capacity to make a comfortable living, within decent means. I will never be rich, except by the imagination of the rest of the world, especially without decent public health care.

Meanwhile, cg's job keeps us in health care at relatively minimal cost, and we have, on our travels, collected some luxury items unavailable in what most consider "normal" circumstances.
The turkey this year was ordered from a farmer's market, and will be lovingly brined & smoked.

Why does it matter, if I drink my beer from a Chodovar mug?
What do I care, if I drink wine from a plastic cup, or a Neuhaus crystal wine glass?
Can I put votives in the unmatched clarity of Neuhaus cups, and let them shine in great wide swathes of warmth?
Who cares, what sparkles on my Festivus tree?

I have a story carried in every touch of these things.. I refuse to follow my mother's hoarder habits, but I do have a story, and I have the same deeply kinesthetic memory.

I bought the mugs with the Labrador's face from Chodovar.
We picked out the wine glasses in Neuhaus by our dearly loved long-time home in the Oberpfalz, and bought the funny cups to hold the votives, in the shop Naydy showed us.
Naydy showed it to us, and that makes it even better.

The ornaments, we bought a little here and there at German Christmas markets, and it brings back the warmth & comfort we found there.
Some, we travelled to Cesky Krumlov for, and loved the adventure of getting there, staying there, and finding the crazy little discount store at the foot of the castle on the river.
We bought boxes and boxes of really crazy ornaments there, from Scottish Santas, to birds, to penguins (given away) and leopard print ornaments and all kinds of beautiful sparkly fragile madness.

Every bit of it has a story.
My fellow travellers and I, we bear the burden and the blessing, of being homesick for several places at once.

I think we all have the hunger, and the homesickness.. for me, I'm just so grateful to not be desperate over every little thing.. for however long this plenty lasts.. and trust me, I do not believe so much in luck.

More like, the opportunity for hard work, and the opportunity to make good, help others, and live reasonably well, conscientiously.. as honest folk do.. when they make it.

I hope I've made it.
I never trust that the other shoe won't drop, and I know life balances on many threads.
But, for now.. deep gratitude, and a willingness to keep it all going.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Crazy on Richard Thompson's "persuasion"
I am in the spell of the Bavarian forest.

There is nothing like having this massive resource, just a quarter hour by walking or bicycle, from your front door.

There is so much there, from blueberries, to cranberries, to chanterelles, and just the experience of Being there..

It's like being in love with someone no one ever met or heard of. Well, that's my life in general, so no surprises.

My love is in the forest, and will remain everso.

My heart is broken, when I cannot be there.
I am in a place where the forest is at my toes, but I need a car to get there.
My life not being centered around a car, I am stuck in urban inanity..
and I have to find a solution.

Can't I just walk down the street, into the forest?
Can't I..?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My travels describe a crazy pair of zig-zags. The one between Austin and Indianapolis was pretty much without angst. I was still in the US, but no longer in Austin.
That was bad enough.

Then I was no longer in the US.. in less than a year and a half, Chuck had his long-sought-after job in Germany, unfortunately under an insane person, and we had something like two weeks to arrange for everything to go across the Atlantic. We took the cat by default, and now she's the 20-yr-old Trans-Atlantic Kitty of Mystery.

Enter a state of galactic freefall.

We were met in Frankfurt by longtime friends who will be friends forever, Andy & Joachim.
One met us and hugged us as we got out of customs and inspections, Andy, you saved my emotional life in Europe. You probably know that, as a longtime emigrant. That, after the fanny-pack incident. Will Americans never cease in their convenient inventions? ;-)
Joachim instigated my intellectual curiosity, simply by living in a building with holes in it.
My whole (tiny) hands fit in the cavities in the foundation of his apartment building.

"What are these?"
"50-cal holes from the Allies on their attack of Frankfurt"
If my hands could have cried in these stone cavities, they would have.
My hands have ever since been alert to historical information..

Then, we proceeded through the Frankische Schweiz, quite reminiscent of Central Texas in its limestone vertical relief.

The first day on post, after these adventures, I wakened to obscenities and prolonged screaming.
Some troopie had melted down, and they sent the Krankenwagen (German ambulance) after him. Prolonged screaming, accusations, and the people bending over the afflicted will never entirely leave my consciousness.

First the MPs came, to tuck him in their Jeep, where the accusations continued, muffled.

Well.. here I am.. I thought..
and I also knew, at that point, that German society was going to be better for me than Army society.

I also knew that my empathy for the plight of the American soldier, my respect and my support, was going to have to be unwavering.

I spent the next six years, dancing along those lines.
One of the great wonders of my life, is the path bodywork has taken me on.
Something happened, when I first discovered Structural Integration, something about the authenticity, the intensity, and the necessary integrity, caught my mind's eye.

A huge part of my personal experience in Germany was my monthly train trips and weeklong sojourns in Munich for the European Rolfing Association's (ERA) training program.

Very early in my European experience, I got on that train, and went by myself. Chuck was always and ever my "net" but I only ever called on him when I got stoned out of my gourd on chocolate croissants (this is true) and called him from Schwandorf on the "wrong train". The conductor was an angel and guided me to Weiden, where Chuck picked me up like a stray hay bale. Every other trip was mostly pro forma, on time, relaxing and delightful. Chuck would pick me up in Weiden or just at home in Pressath, where he would greet me with his own Tex-Mex dinners to soothe the soul of the hungry, haunted traveller. He "got" that problem, as no one else would.

I started in Agathareid, south of Munich, on a sheep ranch. I am leaning on a pelt from one of the mix-breed sheep from there, it warms my back and brings amusing memories of attempting to haggle with a German. Doesn't work.. he got his Euro, and I have the loveliest fluffy lambskin ever, for exactly what he wanted. He sounded just like my dad, raising the price as I tried to lower it. I laughed out loud and flashed the cash. He got what he wanted, and so did I.

I resisted the group living, until I fell in love with my roommates. One French home nurse, an adorable Sicilian girl who was always in my lap once she realized that I was a martial artist who had no personal boundaries either, and I loved her for her vivacious openness and just because she was so beautiful and affectionate, and a singer. I confess to lifting a shirt the singer left behind, a black stretchy number she left stinking of her sweat until I washed it about five times. Her voice in the room's shower left us all breathless.. no singer can resist the resonance of water.

The food was beyond amazing, even to my uneducated palate. Wild leeks, homegrown mutton & chicken, breads & cheese. It was a kind of "kindergarten" for me, in terms of Bavarian life & custom. One of my goals is to go back and do this "Spectrum of Rolfing" again someday, as a more mature Rolfer. I would love to do it every year. I wonder if the beer & cigarette addicted donkey is still there.

So I fell in love with Rolfing, like a man might fall in love with that singer. I met Tom Meyers, had him autograph my copy of Anatomy Trains, met France Hatt-Arnold, Dorit Schatz (who "got" me from "hello") Sasha B, and Christoph Sommer (who let me know that growing up was optional, which really sold me).. I fell in love with these crazy people, and even more so, I fell in love with the idea of really changing people. I fell in love with the idea of *really* changing.

I took the stinky shirt home, and I washed it, and I thought of her, and I thought of what I had learned. I got my first three Rolfing sessions and my feet stopped hurting. The old calluses peeled off my feet, and were replaced by reconfigured ones. My knees stopped hurting.
I was sold.

So the resistant, hard-headed provincial was sold on so many levels, simply by falling in love.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My father and I connect over family, history & politics, for the most part.

He was talking to me (in one of our semi-weekly phone conversations) about all the crazy things he did with me as a kid.

He says he was drunk most of the time, but I don't recall any change in his behavior until he really "got into it" and then he was pretty sedentary and sometimes obnoxious.
Mostly, when we were doing things, I wasn't aware of him being in an altered state.

One of the things I remember, is taking the flat-bottom john-boat out on the Colorado river in flood stage. I don't know why this was a good idea.

We shot out of the boat dock into the streaming chop, torn downriver until we could struggle to the other side. Then, with clumsy geometry, and me at 9-10 years old climbing the riverside trees to pull the boat along, we pulled ourselves upstream, to shoot back across, paddling like hell to hit that boat ramp on the way back across the vicious swollen river. I think I had poison ivy welts for weeks.

Keep in mind that rainfall in Texas happens a couple times a year, in 5-10 inch increments. Formerly dry creekbeds kill people every year, much less racing rivers.

I think we went out for Pit BBQ in celebration of having not drowned.

Somehow, I was already inured to this kind of thing. Some of my earliest memories are of being strapped to my dad's back, with a fly from a flyrod whizzing around my head. I remember trying to see the colors.

He told me about another adventure in which he put me on his back, and hiked up a waterfall.
When he looked down, he told me, he almost fainted. I don't remember. I remember getting better at rock-scrambling.

At age 9, he put a pistol in my hand, and taught me to shoot. He was very proud that I 1. didn't kill anyone and 2. hit my targets (I remember refusing to shoot turtles).

I think my lack of fear had some roots in his late 60s model VW Beetle which had no floor in places, all rotted out. I remember the road passing by, under my feet. I knew I could fall out, but I knew I wouldn't.

He also told me the story of teaching me and my friend Terri how to use a recurve bow in our back yard. He said we spent all day out there. I think we wanted to be Jedis. We were 13-14, the age all girls should be learning to use weapons!

Central Texas is also Snake Central, and he told me about a little snake that came up on the bank where we were fishing, and that he picked me up and held me over his head until it slithered past. I remember being outside the boat in another incident with a snake being very interested in the bait I was reeling in, and his lifting my fairly sturdy (nearly 100#) 10-year-old self out of the water and putting me in the boat.

My dad was this great, bald & burly creature with long arms and hands like slabs of butcher-block, smelling of gasoline, mown grass and WD-40.

As I grew, I got to nearly his height, with his length of waist, arm, and hardness of bone & muscle. My hands are still small, and my features more dainty, but I am still the kid who climbed the trees to pull the boat upstream, picked up the pistol with confidence & curiosity, and hopped in and out of boats without thinking about it.

I told him today, he had raised a fearless kid, and the subtext went unsaid.
He raised a fearless woman. Without meaning to, just being a dad, and doing what he did.

Whatever else wasn't perfect, he did that for me.

Since then, I've found myself dealing with fear, and fearful situations, in a way I realize most people are unable to step into.

I think my dad is starting to figure out what he did right.
It certainly wasn't anyone's model of how to raise a "young lady" and to this day, I can't set the table or fold a napkin.

I can, however, plant & raise, or find, something for that table, cook it well & competently, and do it all as ethically & humanely as possible.

Other Dad-taught talents include talking to owls & coyotes, knowing the wingbeats of a duck or dove, and being able to catch fish anywhere there is water.

It simply doesn't occur to me to be fearful, most of the time.
Even when I maybe should be.

Monday, August 03, 2009

So we finally have a partially black president (others may have been, just not obviously- I still think Taft was black- kind of a white Fat Albert).

We got a black man who can finally complain (due to being a Harvard professor) of racial profiling, and be taken seriously. We got a white cop who teaches racial sensitivity, and fell into the biggest political trap of a generation.

We got a Hispanic woman (Puerto Ricans are incredibly culturally diverse) having to be polite to a lot of idiot racist white men who are accusing HER of being racist.
That was an act of brilliant equanimity on her part, walking over that nuclear (there's only one U, in our post Bush society, thank Webster!) bed of hot coals.
I would have wacked out and put a couple gavels and some copies of the Constitution wrapped around various implements of destruction, in some very interesting places.
Sotomayor exemplified the Klingon ethic, that revenge is a dish best served very, very cold.

Don't get me wrong, I feel for all of them. My own father didn't know he was white, until he was 10 or so.

Class war has walked out into the open, in the health care debate.
What the many need, is single payer.
What the powerful few want, and they pay to get what they want, and our representatives are too weak and whorish to look at statistics instead of the almighty $D, what the powerful few want, they get.

My friend the medical examiner had something very interesting to say about socialized health care:
"I really don't want to have to do another autopsy on a middle-aged guy who died because he couldn't afford his heart/blood pressure/diabetes/cholesterol medication, and chose to feed his family instead".
I really have to steady myself, every time I think of that.

Let me give you a picture of socialism, something I have seen personally. I lived in Germany for six years, under the shelter of my husband's work with the US Army.
Every day, you see old people.
They are on bicycles, walking, chatting, gardening.
White-haired folks are everywhere. They are vital, they are participating, they are active.
They are respected, and kids behave themselves, where old folks are.
Because they know their elders have been through some Serious Shit, and don't tolerate any kind of tomfoolery.

The pyramid of failure in our culture makes a vortex of social failure, from structure to behavior.

We don't support education, or we support it spottily. We don't VALUE education, as a society.
We value Luck.
Unfortunately, Luck is not a reliable investment.
We construct our society on a rickety structure of luck & hope.

Now, we have the opportunity to back it up with the most valuable commodity of all.
Hard Work.

The people who've been working hard all the time, are ready to back this sucker up.. if only..

The people who've been on top, and their elected/hired minions, are terrified they might have to either actually get their hands dirty, or "get a haircut". Meanwhile, they are the ones with the resources to brainwash some squeaky wheels to get the attention of people unskilled in critical thinking. A nice side effect of undermining socialized education.

At this point, we are so far in the hole in terms of social "leverage" that the bottom third of society is uneducated, malnourished, and can't even walk around the mall. They are all so overfed by the stock dividend providers, that they can't, in so many ways, put one foot in front of the other.

Not in terms of health, finances, or education. They've been taught a constantly changing stream of nonsense, controlled by whatever party has power or money in their district.

So at this point, the shovel has to go in deep, to dig a new intellectual, physical and, yes, spiritual foundation. (I am a non-theist, I do better without any imaginary friends)

People have to be able to get educated, to get a job.
They get a better job, to get more educated, to get a still better job.
Along the way, they need to be able to stay healthy, free of partisan interference in their political, personal, social and professional life. I saw far better success of this in Europe, than I see in the US. People interpret freedom here, as the freedom to annoy and endanger others.
Sorry, it's not a frontier any more. Move to Antarctica (look out for penguins).

The more paths are open for people to improve themselves, the more they will do so. The immigrant populations of Europe prove this. Many of the newest, best and brightest in medicine, technology and communications, are children of immigrants.

We are a world of migrants now. We might as well give up the idea of US & Them.
We ARE them. They are us.

Now, can we get on with the evolution?
I'm so ready, I'm so not interested in the Status Quo.
We've had enough rectocranial inversion for the next ten generations.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Late summer in Maryland has been wet, with rain, wet, and more wet.
The garden, raised bed and all, has been the recipient of all the overflow. That and the low spot between us and the neighbor! It looked like a lake, this afternoon.

Rain! we get a lot of it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm in a part of the world I only ever read about.
Growing up in central Texas, this part of July was the last time you ever thought about opening the windows. In the last days here, it has barely gotten hot enough to bother with anything more than the house fan and "window management". We open the house at night to let in cool air, and close up during the day to shut out the heat.

The sun has turned the corner of the solstice about a month ago now, and while most things are still in full growth, the sun has gotten old.. I can see the traces of the season beginning to age, as I see the traces in my own face & body. Things become subtly less bright, less defined. Leaves fall yellow here and there, early casualties of the beginning of season's turn.

Plants in the garden are still trying to catch up to the cool spring, while the pokeweed & hickory, and wild grapes, seem right on summer's schedule.

Last week I played hooky one day in the Appalachians, and found black chanterelles. They popped suddenly like black shredded paper in last fall's fallen leaves.

The veloute' I made still sits waiting, for another delicate dish. The earthy sweetness, the fruity musk of the incredible chanterelle infuses it.

I think I have missed raspberries for the season, but perhaps elderberries will give me a chance at wine.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

No man is an island
(nor is anyone else).

It is the basic misunderstanding of the basic American, that this is a free country, and you can do what you want.

If what I want is to have elephants in my living room on the 5th floor and experiment with explosives, am I still free, if it bugs you?

If what I want is to drive as fast as I want, while talking on my cell phone, with a Rottweiler on my lap and assuming you know where I am going so I don't need to use my turn signals.. am I still free, if that bugs you, or kills your kid while I am not paying attention?

If what I want, is to drive something with a loud reverb exhaust, in a residential neighborhood or down a commercial street where people are trying to communicate in public (heaven forfend they do anything but think of me and my tiny wedding tackle) , why shouldn't you put up with it?

If what I want, is to have an untrained, insecure animal outside, who makes noise constantly, why shouldn't you put up with that?

The basic misconception is this: That we are islands.

The basic truth is this: Islands are contained by a shared ocean. The flotsam you let go, shows up on my shores. The flotsam I let go, shows up on yours.
My success in society shows up, when you don't notice me.
Your success in society is denied, if I notice you. Your loud transportation demonstrates your lack of taste, as a person's willingness to share their music or mode of transportation, is always inverse to their taste in it.

Your loud animals demonstrate your lack of self-control.
The need to hold a cell phone to your ear during every moment of your existence demonstrates your lack of self-esteem.
Your need to be in front of everyone demonstrates a drastic failure of the most basic kindergarten rule- don't be a dick.

I really despair of any Americans ever achieving something resembling civilization.
If you have never lived anywhere else, you are not qualified to comment.

The idea that we live in a pioneer society has been reduced to the most basic ideas of farting in public (which is what the loud reverb, animals & music really are) and being hogs in every social sense.

Whatever happened to being good neighbors, to thinking about the welfare of others? Whatever happened to looking out for each other? Sure, it happens in micro, but what about micro.. Real pioneer society is all about looking out for each other, because you never know when your house is going to need some help.

The Right has taken advantage of their architecting lack of education about socialism, to make it a dirty word. In fact, it's working so well for most of our modern counterparts, that they are kicking our behinds on everything from manufacturing to health care.

It's a bright, strong cup of coffee. Take a long drink.

Monday, June 22, 2009

During my times of trial, I lived on a steady diet of Sara McLachlan (I met her in person, she's wonderful) Me'shell Ndegeocello, Sophie Hawkins (more a Chuck & I thing), Richard Thompson, Patti Griffin, and Dixie Chicks.

You need some John Mayer: Vultures, Belief, Gravity, I'm Gonna Find Another You, Bold as Love)
You need a LOT of Richard Thompson: She Twists the Knife Again, Uninhabited Man, 1954 Vincent (just because it's wonderful)
You need Sarah McLachlan: Train Wreck, Stupid, World on Fire
You need Patti Griffin: When it Don't Come Easy
Nickel Creek: Reasons Why (the whole album is amazing)
And you need to listen to the Dixie Chicks sing Not Ready to Make Nice a couple dozen times.
Listen to Shawn Colvin's Get Out of This House -- as often as needed. Trouble, and I Want it Back are good too. Finish up with Sunny Came Home. She has a song called If I were Brave you might like.. what the heck, get A Few Small Repairs (the album).
Sting's Brand New Day is a great way to open your own new adventures.
KT Tunstall's Heal Over is a great way to have a friend sitting by you, when you need it.

I've felt orphaned more than once, and I've always found my way back home. You have, too.
My home now, is anywhere trees grow and grasses wave. Anywhere I can get something to grow.
I had to change my anchors drastically. I am now anchored to Life.

It's a very different experience, in every level.
I am acutely aware of the transient nature of every pleasure and pain.

I would not have any of that, if I had not gone through what you are going through, right now.
You never forget it.
It informs every single future moment of your life, if you are paying attention.

I think you can.
Chuck has never had the anchors you and I have, to have them ripped up and have to re-establish in a more flexible capacity. He never had the chance.. so the curses & cures run both ways.
Imagine if you never belonged to anyone, anywhere.

Me, I have a belonging and an identity, but it just orients me to my new experiences.
Most people can't even get that far.

It's truly terrible, and it runs to the core.
But if you can let go, if you can "weigh anchor" and "set sail" while still having the Ship of Self under you, the adventures are limitless.

It's a process, like so many. This is just your introduction.

This is Coyote life.
It starts when you are born, however that happens for you.
I call my mom every year and thank her for going to the trouble. I was a bit of trouble, something about insisting on being face up..

They call babies born face up "star gazers" and I hear that they tend to be relentlessly optimistic. Pushy, even.

At some time after 4pm today, Chuck & I transferred off the Red Line to the Yellow line, coming back from a really fun tour of another part of the Washington Zoo in DC. It takes several trips to get through everything, and public transportation is the best option as parking costs something like $14 an hour. We love the Metro, and we hate driving in DC. The sheer bulk of population creates behavioural pressures of time and space, incompatible with the lack of training the population has received, and the ability of the law enforcement to function. Of course, if people wanted to intrinsically do the right thing and help everyone get along to to go along, that would make a different world, wouldn't it.

So we got off the Red Line at about 4:15, hooked up with the Yellow and got back into Alexandria, where I had to pick up my favorite shoes from my buddy Cosper's office. I had stayed with him during the training.. he's a great friend, and everyone running a seminar needs some support. His son is crazy about Chuck (they can talk military tech & history to a level the rest of us simply cannot comprehend) Cosper & Chuck & I pun and talk shop, and we all have so much fun hanging out.

Chuck & I don't think anything of riding the Metro, we are both used to the German public transport, which is as close to perfect as such things get. I was late to class because of it exactly once in 5 years of use. I had to hop around a little sometimes, but it always worked out.

Two Red Line trains collided at about 5pm today, June 22, and at least six people have died so far.

Tomorrow is my 41st birthday.
It happened once before, that for my birthday, I got another birthday.

It was my 30th, and we had spent the day training with our backyard kenjutsu study group, beating the hell out of each other and then going to the Vietnamese restaurant, icing our bruises with jasmine green tea-flavoured chips & talking about everything.. I'll never stop trying to rebuild those times, somehow. I have it in many ways, times & places, it's just the reliability and frequency I'm working on.

Can't do the beating the hell out part so much any more.. not for my part anyway.
Not that I don't have any hell left, just short on intact ligaments.

It was my 30th birthday, and I was blissed out from great training and driving us back home down 969 like I had every Sunday for the last 4 years.

A car swerved into the wrong/oncoming lane, and I heard my sensei Jim P's voice in my head, GET OFF THE LINE and I did, into the other lane, as the car spewed turf onto the side of my car, and dove into the ditch on the other side. My ex had been napping.. didn't notice anything, and didn't know why I pulled over to check on the other guy, who had run off the road and ended up in the ditch.

Thankfully, the other guy was coming out of the car, scared mostly of having to tell his mom he had driven her car into a ditch. A stray EMT had stopped to check on him, and everything was OK, when it could have been very, very not.. if not for my teacher's voice in my head, and the steadying influence of my training.

Today was luck, just luck. We got off the train less than an hour before it rammed the other one.

When something that big happens, you're just fucked.

Thank you, to fate and circumstance, for waking me up to the fact that every single second is a gift. That my situation is the greatest stroke of luck since the first amphibian got hungry enough to venture out of the water.

Happy my birthday, friends.
If you don't celebrate your birthday, if you don't pull out all the stops and live life to the fullest, you must not love being alive.

I get it.
It's fragile.
It's beautiful, transient, and exciting.
It's not easy, because we are built for challenge.

I'm happy to be here.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

I stole it from Bill Bryson.. 
The ex-pat's dilemma is that of having spent so much effort, to fit into a strange place (usually after having spent more effort than that, trying to fit into a space defined by others anyway) and then having to come back to the place you didn't fit into, in the first place. 

I fit into "old Texas" culture, where mavericks (not power-mad Barbies who mistook their uterus for a clown car) were normal, and normal was not. 

This, once I did the work of translation, fit rather seamlessly into the values of Bavaria.
Seeing pictures of a house some dear friends are moving into there, and hearing of other friends moving out of their very nice place in Freiburg, just made my heart ache for the great comfortable blocky architecture of German houses. 

Living in Frederick provides glimpses of Old Europe in the great stone churches, cobbles & bricks, elegant & antiquated, a little patina of time on a great American city. There is a Pythian Castle, and gargoyles here and there. 

It brings me comfort, but it also makes me homesick for a truly great cappuccino or some of the terribly simple, high quality things we got used to. 

I found a little cafe where they put cool, crunchy steamed asparagus in salads & sandwiches, and the older proprietors treat everyone like kids who wandered into the house with their friends.  (FSK Kaffe on Record)  I can sit in there, chit-chat & read the Post as long as I like. 

I have a garden in the ground, an analogy to a life trying to take root in a place. 
Chuck says he is putting talcum powder on his "itchy feet" and I am doing my best to hold out against homesickness. I did it before, when we moved overseas. I was pretty bad for about a year.. but if I stay on the ground, I can grow some roots, wherever I am. 

Once I get into the swing of the seasons, once I get my garden(s) going, I can be happy just about anywhere we can both be healthy, see a lot of our friends, learn stuff and have some fun. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


With no apology to Jeff Foxworthy (I hope he loves it)

There are three categories of drivers: 

Piggie Drivers, Jerk Drivers, & Psycho Drivers (better off in jail or dead). 

Ugly Little Piggies:

You might be Piggie Driver, if you use a cell phone while your vehicle (car, bicycle, skateboard, moped) is in motion. You are also a Psycho.

You might be a Piggie Driver, if you have to get to the stoplight first. You're keeping the brake shops happy, and buying enough gas to drain Alaska, though, so at least you're good for the economy. 

You might be a Piggie Driver, if your willingness to share your music is inverse to your taste in it.  In other words, if anyone besides you can hear the music on your car stereo. You are also a Jerk. 

You might be a Piggie Driver, if you think everyone enjoys the sound of your exhaust as much as you do. (No one does, that's why you're a Piggie- especially if you drive a truck or motorcycle of any kind.)

You are definitely a Piggie Driver if you turn into the turn lane next to the lane you want, then push your way into the lane you want  by cutting into the line. Depending on how obnoxious you are about it, this also makes you a Jerk, and a Psycho. 

Jerk Drivers:

You might be a Jerk Driver if you think you drive just fine while talking on a  handheld cell phone. You are also a Psycho. 

You might be a Jerk Driver if you aren't sure what the black numbers on the white signs mean, or can't read them. 

You might be a Jerk Driver if your dog is a better driver than you. It must be, it's in your lap. Just let the dog drive, it would be safer. 

You might be a Jerk Driver if you have to be in the fastest moving lane. Of course your time is more important than anyone else's. Your life must be, too. Maybe you didn't read the statistics about the driver being most likely to die, in any accident. 

You might also be a Jerk Driver, if you think this article isn't about you. It's about all the people driving too slowly who don't get out of your way. Of course, you are also the only person on the planet. Must be lonely up there. 

You are a Jerk Driver, if your car stinks. Of anything. Including air freshener. 

Psycho Drivers (move into a nice padded room now, and save lives!)

You are a Psycho Driver, if you talk or text on a handheld mobile device while your vehicle is, or will be, in motion. *

 "Cell phone distraction causes 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries in the United States every year, according to the journal's publisher, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society."


You might be a Psycho Driver, if every stoplight is just a race to get to the next one. (You might be part of the economic stimulus, and you might get your stems pulled by an annoyed co-existant on the roads)

You might be a Psycho Driver, if you think you are perfectly safe, on an interstate, in broad daylight. 


You might be a Psycho Driver, if you don't wear a seat belt and secure your kids safely. On the other hand, you might be saving us all from kids who didn't inherit enough brain cells to figure it out.  We could be grateful for that, and sorry about your kids. 

You are a Psycho Driver who belongs in jail, permanently, life sentence, if you do not obey state law at pedestrian crossings and stop.

You are a Psycho Driver, if you don't keep an eye out for bicycles & motorcycles, and treat them like you would a car (given they act in accordance with traffic laws- and if they don't, maybe you should get to know each other).  

You might be a Psycho Driver, if you think this isn't about you. ("Don't you, don't you".. cue Carly Simon..) 

It's a free country, but only so free as we extend courtesy to others to be free, as well (and not die because you were ordering pizza).

"You’ll notice that I try not to use the word “accident” on this blog or podcast. That is because there’s no such thing as an “accident”. The word implies that no one is at fault, that it was truly a random act. Well, if you get swallowed up by a fissure in an earthquake or hit by a meteor, I’ll allow that as legitimate use of the word, but if you are in two-vehicle collision, somebody made the final mistake. "

For more info:


*handsfree isn't that much better-- I have some 20 years of multiple martial arts 'under my belt' and find talking to someone, even handsfree, too distracting to drive with what I think of as a reasonable margin of safety. 

If you think you can do better, try swinging a three foot razor blade for fun. 

Meanwhile, I suggest that anyone with an attention span invest in a simple stem puller, and not hesitate to use it, on the deserving.