8.28.2005

away for awhile

Hello all. I will be away for a little while, because I am studying for a test I must take with the State of MI in order to do my job I just started. I am in class right now, and studying all kinds of laws and stuff for this Friday's exam. Once I am done - provided that I pass the first time - then I will be back into my normal mode! Take care...

Check out the article in the new RS for Sept that has an excellent article on Cindy Sheehan.

8.16.2005

spanglish anyone?

So another thing I want to rant about is this conservative, hypocritical, blatant racist mind-set that borders on nazism which is running rampant in America. It's called anti-Spanish.

Like one guy in a college course I took two years ago bitched and moaned about a spanish channel. As if one or two spanish channels, and one or two African-American channels - out of how many white dominated, English speaking channels?? - is going to hurt anyone. Just don't watch them, moron.

Also the moaning about how there's so much Spanish on products and banking stuff and all that jazz that we're turning into some bi-lingual country whose national language has always been English. How convienently some people forget that we've ALWAYS been bi-lingual, tri-lingual, etc., and that there is no national language in America because of that reason. I mean, come on. Do we need to go back to this idea that education has a liberal slant? If it did, then so many people wouldn't bitch about the Spanish language being spoken in this country because they would know the truth of history. Hello! Wake up and smell your morning coffee. In fact, why don't you people just stick your head in your cup of joe and burn yourself silly? Where do you think the word America comes from? Honeys, it ain't English.

California isn't English. Neither is Montana. Or Nevada. What about Texas, New Mexico, Arizona? Florida? Should I continue? Move on to cities, street names? Have you morons ever read the Treaty of Guadalupe? Or are you like every self-righteous American subscribing to some conservative zietgiest that still attaches itself to Manifest Destiny, and laughs at Treaties as you falsely flout compassion, falsely shake hands? I've read the entire Constitution and the Bill of Rights -in fact, I keep it in my purse - and it does not state that there is a "national language." So get over it. Spanish will be here like it has been for centuries, before there was the U.S.of A, before there were colonies.

Alright, it's late. Goodnight my friends.

education has a liberal slant?

Ok, so I read on another blog I frequent from time to time (hip mama) where I talk about stuff with other funkster moms who occasionally have mid-life crisises because they are independent yet have children who are cling-ons. God, you love your kids, but sometimes you need a break from time to time. I will never make it to soccer mom level!

So on this blog one hip mama posted an article that a bunch of these crazy folks think there is a "liberal" slant to education. Hmmmm. That is interesting. Last time I checked, the stuff we were reading in school was only from the American perspective, and that is traditionally puritanical and conservative.

While educators may tend to be liberal democrats, or at least moderate republicans, the books they are forced to teach from are always, always, ALWAYS conservative and biased.

Take for instance the history of Columbus. Nevermind that he brought diseases and mayhem and his folks and those to follow from Spain (uh, Cortez) committed genocide on many indigenous folks in the "Americas." Instead we just read how he discovered America and how great that is. We've even made it into a Federal holiday.

Nevermind that when one thinks about the Mexican-American war and the Alamo that all that comes to mind is Davy Crockett and the ol' anthem of "Remember the Alamo!" Instead the real truth is that Americans were so greedy and pissed of at the Mexican government for not allowing slavery in Texas (yes, recall that Mexico had owned about half of what is the USA) that based on the superior motive of Manifest Destiny, we started a war, with mostly indigenous folks, once again, to get a hold of land. As if we didn't already have enough. As if we didn't already kill enough folks who had already been there for centuries.

But noone teaches that side of things. It's like we hear about only MLK but not Malcolm X. We hear about how awesome our minute men were and about the Boston Tea Party, but not enough about Jim Crow or the Removal Years. Dissenters and "liberals" are only good if they prove some sense of conservative nationalism.

Yeah, education having a liberal slant is about as logical as teaching intelligent design in a science class. And both of those ideologies are as logical as the jam between my toes.

8.15.2005

lies, lies, lies

Did anyone else see the O'Reilly Factor some time ago when Bill O'Reilly said he believes in some far-out there Swedish test that showed if a culture allows homosexual marriage/unions, then it will destroy heterosexual ones? Or, in other words, heterosexual unions would become less and less seen. As if all of the sudden we'd be living in Ellen-land, and the human race would stop producing as it has for eons.

Ok, nice one O'lie-lly. That is about as smart as intelligent design.

music of dissent, music to my ears

I saw on the terrifying show of Hannity and Colmes that the awesome Harry Belafonte was protesting Bush. There was then an interview with an African-American Civil Rights leader (God bless him, I forget his name) who called another guy on there "white boy." Hannity had the audacity to ask the leader to "apologize."

What I would like to ask Hannity to do is to apologize for white man's sins against humanity. Make his republican-talking head confess his sins on national television. Until then, there ain't no need for a Civil Rights leader to apologize for nothing.

Yeah, you sing the notes of truth, brothers. You sing those notes of truth. I got your notes.

paradox in Grand Rapids

Some interesting scenes I saw riding the bus and walking in the city:

1. A woman boards the bus. She is beautiful, with the face of an African queen. She wears the colors of the sky, bold colors, as if the sun dropped some of its essence on her. Her clothing is layered, four to five layers, despite the mid-western humidity. Her head is covered. It is her way of keeping her culture alive, in a culture that values fast food, bling-bling, J-Lo booty.

Another woman boards the bus. It is ten minutes later. She seats herself next the African queen. She is covered with tatoos. Even her ears. She wears jeans, a black short-sleeved t-shirt. There is no color to her, even her face. Her hair is long, free, sweeping her back. She walks in tennis shoes. She smells of fast-food.

2. A man drives by in his SUV. A large, mean, pitbull barks furiously at me from his back window. On the back of his gas-gulping machine, there are numerous Jesus stickers.

What have you seen lately that does not always make sense?

8.12.2005

The irony of the political right

What I am interested in is how far right our government's administration has gotten. There is no center. The irony proves it.

Some ways that the right-wing fundies have infiltrated our government, or has attempted to do so, in an ironic way:

1) Intelligent Design, another oxymoron like compassionate conservative
2) opposing a woman's right to choose while they take away funding programs for single mothers/families suffering from poverty to fund a fallicy of a war. Is it, perhaps, that they want poor people to continue to have children to fight their wars?
3) Changing our constitution to define marriage, when not even 25% of American families fall in the nuclear formula
4) Re-creating the McCarthy years by making Americans live in fear when there is nothing to really fear but government control and manipulation
5) Judges ruling in Virginia that a man can not request public schools to remove the citing of the pledge of alligence when this country's government was based on Diesm, the complete opposite of Christianity
6) And let's not forget: President Bush taking so many vacation days at taxpayers' expense, while many innocent taxpayers see their sons and daughters die as people in his administration make money


Anyone want to add to the list?

i need a vacation...

This quote was taken from democraticunderground.com

"Last week, as 28 U.S. servicemen were killed during the first four days of August, Bush started a 33-day vacation at his pig farm in Crawford, Texas."

The commentary went on to say that out of the history of modern presidents, Bush has taken the most vacation days - even more than Reagan - and he still has 3 1/2 years left in this term. .

Now that's what I call a compassionate conservative!

Jon Stewart and Bill Maher Rocks!

Did you see the Larry King Live last night with the most excellent Bill Maher? What a man. I am right there with him on all issues.

One good thing about having Dubya for prez the next few years: Jon Stewart can continue to make fun of him.

Otherwise, what would he be doing? Making fun of god?

it's all over

Took my oldest son to the doctor today. I had to skip work, but they were very cool about it. Of course they are since it is a volunteer internship. I will miss those folks, though, when I leave for my new job.

He has an infection in both ears. Has had a fever for three days. This didn't suprise me. I had ear infections all the time as a child, and my mother did - who almost went deaf from them. I think the infections damaged me - or was it the loud concerts of my youth? - because I almost didn't pass the hearing test when I went through military processing. But hear I am (notice the pun), doing ok. My son is sleeping soundly, medicine moving through his veins. He will be ok, too.

Oh, notice the change to this blog! Just a little something funny for those of you who I know stop by.

p.s. Internet is back up at home. Will be answering e:mails soon.

Kara - sure miss you. Hope we can see each other on the 22nd, as I have the day off before I start my new job!!! Your nephews miss you, too. Lots of love.

8.11.2005

fever

I have been a little busy the last day or two. My oldest son has been sick, with a high fever.

He was born with a white marking on his torso, left side, in white. It is apparently a birthmark. My husband tells him it is the imprint of an angel, watching over him.

Last night and the night before, when his fever reached a high of 104, he would press his small, precious body up against mine. He would call out for water. He would cry out for that angel.

I am leaving work soon to be his mother. I hope the angel has responded.

8.09.2005

job update

Hello all. I wanted to let you all know that I was offered permanent employment with a prominent insurance company in their claims department. For those of you who know me well, you know I am quite successful at such detailed positions, for whatever reason. However, I have not put off graduate school! I just want to work for a while and feed my kids, that's all :)

I avoid posting about work because I feel my life encompasses so much more than just work, that I have other things to discuss. I also read in a magazine this weekend that people have been getting fired for blogging about their job. So I keep that information confidential. Anyway, I come here for other reasons. For those of you who are just dying to know more, e:mail me.

Also, my internet is down at home, and I am unable to access my personal e:mail account at work (federal government). Bear with me if you sent an e:mail, I will respond as soon as possible. I am not trying to ignore anyone!

Take care friends, I'll be back soon enough.

8.04.2005

in and out of love

Where does it come from, this love of babies – Sharon Olds

It is amazing how one’s body changes when having babies. I sometimes look in the mirror and do not believe I am the same person I was three years ago. Ok, so I am getting older. I admit that. I hardly have wrinkles though. My skin is still soft, except my hands from too much washing. While I have some baby fat to get rid of yet, it can be done. My second son is only five months old. I’ve already started on it: doubled up on calcium, lightened up on carbs. No more soda. (I am aware that the mid-west calls it pop. But I’m from California, so you aren’t gonna change me).

It’s the markings, the wild hair, those oddities that appear out of nowhere. And of course the weight. Always the weight. It sometimes puts me in a dark funk, a place that is void of feeling for oneself, for anything or anybody. Like falling out of love. Even though my hair color didn’t change – I mean, how can it, it just can’t get any darker than this – it has decided to become unruly, show more gray. While my husband thinks a stripe of gray in the front of a woman’s hair is a sign of wisdom and class, mine does not grow that way. Instead, when I pull my hair back, or if my part is done just right, the grays mix themselves up like a sort of seasoning. I am not ready to be seasoned.

While I’m on the rant of hair, I also can’t believe the hair that suddenly grows in weird places on the body. Very strange. I am not even going to go there. Let’s move on to melasma.

Melasma is an odd condition that seems to mostly strike women during hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, or possibly birth control can cause it. It usually affects, in my experience, women who are “darker,” albeit that be dark hair, skin, etc. It is also called the mask of pregnancy, where dark brown spots appear on the face. Mine showed up on the cheeks, and above the upper lip. Looks like I got a mustache, darn it. It has lightened up some.

It is funny how your kids will be born, wrinkled perhaps, wild hair – like your own body as you grew them. But within weeks, days, hours, they are perfect. Their hair becomes soft as petals. Fine as cobwebs. Skin smooth as… there is no comparison. Just perfect. We are all born perfect.

I hold my oldest son on my lap, kiss the back of his neck, notice how soft his feet are compared to mine. Stronger nails. Toes plump and unharmed by rugged cement and rocks. Dimples, dimples, and more dimples instead of the creases from living life. Fine downy hairs that sparsely cover his sweet legs. And I think about the melasma, the unruly hair on my head, the grays, those stray markings – these are all worth it, looking at him now.

The other day, a young, beautiful woman with hair dark as fresh tar danced on the television. My son said, it’s momma. Ahhh, momma. You’re so pretty.

And I am in love again.

8.03.2005

smart girl, but can lack common sense

My husband has taken the oldest boy to the pool once again. Ahhh, nice break for me. While I love and adore my sons, I have realized I do not do well with toddlers. My patience goes out the window. I am always in awe of those mothers who handle their toddlers so well. Everything rolls off the shoulders. This can not happen with me, sometimes it can, but usually not.

The baby is squeaking and squealing right now, rolling around and singing to the ceiling fan. It is ungodly hot here. And of course, I have the common sense of a pole and I have decided to make lasagna. Meatless. Extra mushrooms. Sauce with burgandy wine. It is so easy, that is why it came to mind. Despite the house already exuding the heat of an oven. My husband will shoot me when he gets home.

I posted a contest for any visitors or friends in regards to a poetry grant, the details are on the other blog. There are certain friends I was thinking of, like AMY, who should try. Speaking of grants and contests, I finally entered a "national" one that should post results within the first part of Sept. I am nervous, but not expecting anything. How can I when it is my first time? We must all shrug off the first time. Virgins must go through the ringer before they become seasoned.

I had a very, very big interview this past Monday. It wasn't so hot. I am not expecting the job. I think it is some higher being speaking to me if I don't get the job. It is one of those jobs that pays well, so as a mother of children to feed, I know I would never quit and I would be unhappy, possibly, for the rest of my life. Corporate America. Career minded only apply. And of course I am loyal, so we all know that's where I'd be ten years from now.

But I would welcome the job and do well, however, Jeff and I discussed our future plans the other night. He agreed that if I don't get the job, this means I must go to Grad school next year, if accepted. He is into moving. We like it here, we have a lot of friends here, but we are gypsy hearted. Our kids are young enough where they won't remember. We'll stay in MI.

I am no longer able to access the census records, so some portions of the family research must be put on hold. But I am "networking" with other researchers, who are in my family lineage. It is amazing the things I am finding. I have decided that what you are viewing on the other blog is basically the extracts of a bigger project. It is the idea of a novel (creative non-fiction? what is it?) being put into place. I would welcome any suggestions. I thought of writing it in first person, telling the story of unearthing family secrets, then intertwining vignettes in-between. Something like Hemingway's In Our Time comes to mind, but obviously more melodramatic. Because I love melodrama.

The baby is asleep now, taking his last nap before he will wake up then fall asleep for the night. Smells of baked tomatoes and cheese fill the thick air. The house is quiet with the exception of the air conditioner's hum. And I am thinking, thinking, and missing you all.

8.02.2005

for amy

This is an extract from a paper I wrote last year, and there are some truths I know only you will find...

from "When Discourse Works: The Parallels of the Sixties’ Movement
to Our Contemporary Society"

Coming out of the Cold War, many young activists felt a sense of freedom as they rejected the old ways of thought--this sense of obedience cultivated through fear. "Do not question authority" is a major theme that permeated the early years, a theme which came from anyone who was a “higher upper” (someone involved in government or the universities--someone generally with power and who was conservative). What I find most exciting about these young activists is their very rejection of this instilled fear, this very
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questioning of a government which promises equality, freedom of speech, and the right to assemble--yet still wants to keep the masses from utilizing these rights in a way that questions the machinery of Absolute Power and Control. It is exciting (and hopeful this day in age) to think people started to speak up about the blatant inequality found in the Black community--people who could have easily finished their higher education and went on to form nuclear families, further isolating themselves from the country’s problems. Or, people could have easily avoided confrontation that threatened their lives by simply subjugating themselves to the mind set of racial superiority--living a life of institutionalized slavery instead. But many people did not do this--and this country is better for it.
I try to imagine what life would be like if it was not for these people, as described above, who put aside the comforts of life, or who went against the institutionalized slavocracy to fight for access to the comforts of life. What would my life be like if women like Gloria Steinheim or Betty Freidan never critiqued the role of white women in American society? Would I still be able to be a college student and a mother? Would I have still served in the military as I did twelve years ago, and claim the title of “Veteran” of the first Gulf War? Would I be able to own my own car and carry my own Visa? Would the Black family who lives upstairs from me be living there right now? Would this same Black neighbor still be a professor at GVSU? How would we communicate, or would we communicate at all--what would be our discourse for people who have different skin colors? All of the things that I tend to take for granted on a daily basis would be wiped out, a complete void, if it was not for the activists who took a stand to change this country.
Oftentimes I hear “Freedom isn’t free,” and I believe many people involved in the Movement would understand this better than any average citizen who feels he or she is playing the role of Nationalist by simply putting this bumper sticker on a car. Yes, freedom is not free--there is always a price to pay. But it is not only in the deaths of soldiers who fight wars, it is also through the prices that people--who were once “dissenters” and who were viewed as “un-American” (even Communist)--had to pay by speaking up against the very faltering machinery of American politics. Was there not a sacrifice through the senseless deaths of such important “dissenters’” as MLK, Malcolm X, RFK, or any activist who is an average American citizen who died fighting for minority causes? It is possible that if MLK did not die, the passing of the Fair Housing Act would have been delayed--as was many well-needed Acts that had been shelved for too long. If it was not for MLK fighting
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for Civil Rights for all peoples, if it was not for his fighting against the discriminatory housing laws being used in a country that flouts equality, I do believe the family living above me would not be the African-American family who lives there now. And I would simply be a mother who stays within the realm of confined thought, loosing my true identity to the oblivion of housework, depression, and alcoholism, as did many homemakers from the fifties.
Not only did this class teach me about discourse during the Movement, but it served as a reminder of the prices one has had to pay in order for me to live the life I have lived for the past thirty-five years. It has served as a reminder, once again, that there is always a need for an activist’s voice in this country. Reading the texts--especially that of Terry Anderson--I found a lot of parallels to today’s American world view, a similar Zeitgeist within the general public. We may not have Jim Crow, but the aftermath of such a phenomenon still permeates our culture--much like the aftermath of slavery, whereas the life of a Black person in America was still subjected to racial inequality regardless if his or her life was in a state of involuntary servitude to a master. In other words, we may not have blatant segregation and slavery, but instead, we have a system of institutionalized segregation and slavery. The “master” is still there, his face has just been altered and is more covert. Ghettos do not exist because African-Americans want to create enclaves of Malcolm X-envisioned “separatist” communities--they exist because of the institutionalization of a very dominating culture that still prizes its white-skinned participants.
I had a professor at GVSU this semester tell the class that white people are not really the majority anymore, that minorities really do not exist. I would disagree, therefore, my question for anyone who feels this way is this: who determines policy in this country, and once you have figured that out, who dominates this force? My answer is that government determines much of what our lives will be like based on their policies, and inevitably, who runs American government? Rich, white men. Therefore, yes--white people are still the majority as long as they are the ones determining the policy for this country. Maybe in numbers they are not a majority, but through positions of power, they are. This is why I feel it was important that many activists were white during the Movement--not because “minorities” are not capable of having their own voice and orchestrating it--but because it is the fault of white people for the crimes committed against those marginalized, and white people should be held responsible for aiding in change and redress.
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“Try that. I am the oppressor,” Sally Belfrage said to this class in her book Freedom Summer (82). These words had a huge impact on me. I always considered myself a part of the dominant group--the oppressive group--but to see it in print, to see the very idea posed as a naked question to ask one’s self--was what I feel we need in today’s society. It shook me out of my, at times, comfortable and bourgeois life. Many younger people are too comfortable and do not take a stand, possibly because they do not see any reason for taking stands. But ironically, there are many reasons. Terry Anderson, in his well-documented book The Movement and the Sixties, gives us a picture of this decade in chapters three and four that hauntingly mirror much of what is going on today. From the “secret” plans to end a war that went on for too long [that revealed there really was no plan] to the Zeitgeist of “patriotism, order, cleanliness, health and decency of spirit,” the Sixties has a lot of parallels to this first decade of the new millennium (233, 212).
The discourse as well has similar parallels. As each group involved in the Movement took on their causes, the shape of the discourse evolved to mirror their ideologies. And even if it took longer than what some activists dreamed, and a few good people had to die, the Movement had an impact on government and society in general. Because their forms of discourse worked, much of what these activists did have been adopted by current activists. Anti-war activists can look towards the anti-Vietnam war activists and use their discourse of pacifism as their own. Anderson tells us that the Christian Century wrote in the sixties that “”This is the genius of our war effort--to destroy Vietnam in order to save it”” (184). Many contemporary critics of the Iraqi war have said the same and made this their anthem--again, an adoption of discourse and thought from an epoch in our history that at times seems like it was eons ago, but was just around the historical corner of America’s minuscule (yet tumultuous) life.
Anderson also tells us the discourse of Middle America as well, one that reveals how citizens during that time would take on the language of “”I like to think of my country as Number One”” or, as one woman stated, “”Everyone should fly the American flag to show... what real Americans think”” (208, 225). This idea of the “real” American who believes the country and its president is infallible is an ideology that opposes the very nature of the Activist. Therefore, the activist becomes a dissenter, a communist... someone
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who is not patriotic and--how dare they question our moral and righteous country? The discourse of Middle America shows how this adoption of the “true and patriotic citizen” has been infiltrated into the very mind set of contemporary society--one who puts a “Support Bush and our troops” sign in their house’s front window, and one who feels the activist is nothing but a “liberal” who is a threat to the American family, and who wants to ban the bible (as seen with Democratic Presidential hopeful, John Kerry). The irony here is that this country was founded by dissenters, and it has taken many a “dissenting” activist to formulate a platform of discourse that overturned many of America’s atrocities and faults, such as slavery, segregation, and the abuse of Native Americans.
After studying much of the history of the Movement, I noted how these platforms for discourse--which most of the time worked, and at times did not--evolved as the death of an ideology was replaced by a new one. Sometimes, as stated earlier, this discourse took a militant stance that was much needed because the non-violent one did not always work either efficiently or as quickly as a group hoped. As Black activists (and some white activists, too) sought after Civil Rights, and as police brutality increased along with a rise in injuries, jailings, and deaths, the voice of discourse and dissent changed. MLK was assassinated, and with that an ideology of peaceful demonstration that utilized the discourse under the anthem of “We are all God’s children.” It was then replaced with a more militant one, one where people looked to the Malcolm X, Che Gueverra, and the Black Panthers’ form of discourse of separatism, and the right to bear arms and reject a white man’s war.

to be continued...

sucker!

So I am a complete sucker for literary theory. A geek, which is probably the best word. School is approaching and I am missing, already, classes. I miss the assigned readings, the papers (yes, believe it or not, the papers), the discussions. I am most certain some students do not miss me. I know several rolled their eyes because I have no fear when it comes to speaking up against the crimes of humanity on humanity, and somehow linking this to theory or the readings. I have a way of doing this.

Not always. Sometimes I just like to push a few envelopes, pick paper topics based on the approach of antagonist. Choose some random argument from an author and decide to prove just how wrong he or she might be. Quite daring from an undergrad. Or at least another alternative way of looking at things. A different perspective. I learned that from my bud Amy who is probably reading this right now but won't make a comment (I got your handle, grrl. Don't be hiding in the bushes amongst the goddesses of this plane. Will respond soon).

So this is for you, old friend, fellow high-ball hipster who speaks only in tongues:

Dealing with a Fragmented World: American Authors Utilizing the Absurd in Post-Modern Novels

Deconstructing Soseki’s Kokoro: Reversing the Modern/Traditional Dichotomy

Reinventing Form: Intertextuality in Post-Modern Poetry

Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine: Using African-American Music as Cultural Investigation in the Plays of August Wilson

Becoming Disillusioned with the War Godhead: Dos Passos’ Initiation Stages of Martin Howe.

A Circus of Tragedy: God, Sex, and Gender in Djuana Barnes' Nightwood.

Saints and Martyrs: Hemingway's and Hughes' Discourse on Being Poor

So let's have a field day, shall we? Links to follow...