Saturday, October 22, 2005

Lazy Saturday

I'm lazy today. I don't really feel all that much like writing anything this afternoon ~ probably because my muse is telling me I have a poem coming on about dualities. I think it'll be good once I'm stricken with word and sound, when pen finally meets paper.

It's a poem I need to write, too. Shaking some things up as they surface from my heart.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Friday Poetry Blogging

In honor of Zack, my former paramour from San Francisco, who loves poetry as much as I do. He shared this piece with me a couple of years ago, and I fell in love with it. Wislawa Szymborska was born in 1923 in Kornik, Poland. She writes with compassion and affinity for the human condition, bringing an intelligent perspective to the most pressing issues of the 20th century, focusing on the moral, ethical, and philosophical aspects of life.

The Silence of Plants
by Wisława Szymborska

A one-sided relationship is developing quite well between you and me.
I know what a leaf, petal, kernel, cone, and stem are,
and I know what happens to you in April and December.
Though my curiosity is unrequited,
I gladly stoop for some of you,
and for others I crane my neck.
I have names for you:
maple, burdock, liverwort,
heather, juniper, mistletoe, and forget-me-not;
but you have none for me.
After all, we share a common journey.
When traveling together, it's normal to talk,
exchanging remarks, say, about the weather,
or about the stations flashing past.
We wouldn't run out of topics for so much connects us.
The same star keeps us in reach.
We cast shadows according to the same laws.
Both of us at least try to know something, each in our own way,
and even in what we don't know there lies a resemblance.
Just ask and I will explain as best I can:
what it is to see through my eyes,
why my heart beats,
and how come my body is unrooted.
But how does someone answer questions which have never been posed,
and when, on top of that
the one who would answer is such an utter nobody to you?
Undergrowth, shrubbery, meadows, and rushes…
everything I say to you is a monologue,
and it is not you who's listening.
A conversation with you is necessary and impossible,
urgent in a hurried life
and postponed for never.

Morally Bankrupt: The New Bankruptcy Bill

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, which was passed by the Senate in March and went into effect on Monday, October 17, 2005, is worthy of comment for a couple of reasons. The bill limits the law from protecting individuals when financial hardships occur, giving power to the credit card corporations to insist on collection.

First of all, it pertains to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, both of which are filed by individuals for different reasons. Basically, the way I understand it is that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows the debtor's assets to be sold, with the proceeds going to pay off the debt. Any remaining debt that can't be paid off will be forgiven. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed by people who want to pay off their debts over time ~ I think I read that the time frame is three to five years. The key word here is that both of these types of bankruptcies are filed by individuals, not corporations.

Interestingly enough, Chapter 11 bankruptcies are not included in this new bill. "Why's that so interesting?" you say. Because Chapter 11 bankruptcies are mostly used by businesses for reorganization and restructuring of their debt load.

This law was passed as a gift to corporations ~ especially the credit card corporations. "F--- the common man and protect the corporations" ~ that's what the bankruptcy bill should be named. It's no coincidence that MBNA was the fifth largest contributer to the Bush campaigns of 2000 and 2004. The bill was designed under the frame that "too many people" are abusing bankruptcy laws. However, month after month, the bankruptcies that touch our lives the most are those that we hear about in the daily news ~ Delphi, the airlines, and on and on. Job loss, loss of health care, loss of pension, and loss of self-esteem all occur for the individuals who work for the companies which file bankruptcy. In many cases, the individuals have no recourse but to file bankruptcy, while the corporations get a free pass, continuing to run their financial situations amok. Punish the common man for being in the midst of financial strife, but let the corporations play. Most personal bankruptcies result from a medical crisis without adequate health insurance or unforeseen job loss. These are not circumstances that people intentionally bring on themselves. Most business bankruptcies result from a failure of leadership, yet the leaders end up with golden parachutes.

One of the provisions of the bankruptcy bill that I find troubling is that it mandates credit counseling for individuals who file for bankruptcy. They have to pay for the counseling ~ again, more money lining the pockets of the already shady credit industry. So not only can the credit card companies demand complete payment from an individual who files for bankruptcy, they also stick it to you by charging you a fee to tell you how you may better manage your money.

I used to believe that our government was by the people, for the people. But really, these days, it's by the corporations for the corporations. This bill is a sterling example of how the people are no longer protected by the laws of our government. And that's a damned shame.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Orionids

In honor of the Orionid Meteor Showers, which are associated with Comet Halley and are occuring right now, from October 15 - 29th, I offer some advice for star gazing, as well as the lyrics to one of my favorite Sons of the Never Wrong songs. This song is more like poetry (it won't be a habit of mine to post song lyrics on a regular basis).

This year, the Orionids will peak at around 20 meteors per hour at about 5:00 AM EDT on Friday, October 21, with potential for good viewing on Saturday, the 22nd, as well. Best viewing will probably be around 1:00 AM on Friday morning. Unfortunately, this year, the waning gibbous moon will interfere with viewing of some of the meteors.

It's best to observe meteor showers between 12:00 AM and dawn from a clear, dark location with a good horizon. The meteors will appear out of the constellation of Orion the hunter in the high, eastern sky.

I post this for a very cosmic reason: to witness, with your own eyes, the magic of a shooting star is the harbinger of good luck, prosperity, and love!


Just on the edge of the universe
are comets in waiting
they're anticipating
a star flying by

and with enough gravitational pull ~
this ain't no bull ~
a random encounter with time

and that's me
I'm one of those comets
and that's you
you're one of those stars
and that's love sometimes
it's lost in heaven so close but so far away

Time thought that love was the true redeemer
And love thought that time healed all
And sorrow said let me clear up the matter
All hearts like stars sometimes fall
falling from grace for the first time
or just falling rain
falling in love
the spirits remember
what the heart can only explain

that's me
a lonely planet
that's you old William Blake
and that's love sometimes
lost in heaven
god's first and his last mistake

and that's me
one of those comets
you're one of those stars
and that's love sometimes
lost in heaven
so close but so far away

Just on the edge of the universe
are comets in waiting.....

words & music © 1999 Sue Demel (BMI)

This song is absolutely breathtaking, and if you get the chance, you can find it on Sons of the Never Wrong's "One if by Hand" Cd. I'd post an audio clip, but I can't find one on the Internet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Was the Bard the Bard?

Who Wrote Shakespeare This Time?

Some scholars just won't let Shakespeare be Shakespeare.

A small academic industry has developed to prove that William
Shakespeare, a provincial lad from Stratford-upon-Avon, could not have written
the much-loved plays that bear his name.

More power to the scholars who are questioning whether Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. There's always room for discovery and theories.

Bottom line, though, for me, is that regardless of whoever wrote Shakespeare (and I tend to think that it was, indeed, Shakespeare), the works are fantastic, so full of wit and wisdom, and all encompassing.

I ♥ Shakespeare.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tectonic Plates? Sorry, Josh, I've been waiting a long time...

A year and a half later...No Final Report Seen in Inquiry on C.I.A. Leak

The special counsel in the C.I.A. leak case has told associates he has no
plans to issue a final report about the results of the investigation,
heightening the expectation that he intends to bring indictments, lawyers in the case and law enforcement officials said yesterday.

Shakespeare Blogging - Sonnet 116

Oh, bard immortal! Everything I needed to learn in life I learned from the pen of William Shakespeare. Except for those things I needed to experience in life to gain a bit of wisdom, of course. It is fitting to start out this segment of Shakespeare Blogging with one of my favorite sonnets, Sonnet 116.

Sonnet 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
So what is Shakespeare saying here? The theme of this sonnet is about ideal love, at least on the surface. The imagery is "ever fixed" and unwavering. Metaphors of sea travel abound. Consider the "ever fixed mark," a permanent navigation point before lighthouses, and the "star to every wandering bark." He's referring to the North Star, which is constant in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere, and the "wandering bark" is a wayward vessel. The first line, "Let me not to the marriage of true minds, Admit impediments," to me, speaks of an idealistic, agape (spiritual, not sexual) love. Perhaps a forbidden love, one that is restricted from marriage by law (Shakespeare wrote this sonnet for a man). He's writing about a love so strong it survives temptation. When he writes, "Love's not Time's fool, through rosy lips and cheeks, Within his bending sickle's compass come," he's telling us that love trumps time, even as time weakens us and changes us at the core of ourselves. Time is fleeting, but true love endures. It is about an ideal love that conquers all, but the irony is in the fact that even though nothing is ideal or perfect, it is still worth striving for because the beauty is in the challenge of love prevailing over time.
So what say you? Comments welcome!

Faith: All God, All the Time?

The following link provides an excellent article by James Carroll from The Boston Globe. All God, all the time

WHEN THEY told us in Sunday School that God is everywhere, they could have been talking about the recent news cycle. With Harriet Miers, we see that God lives
in the politics of the US Supreme Court nomination process. In a culture defined
by the separation of church and state, President Bush and his allies have
mastered the use of religious affirmation as a deflection not only of criticism,
but of critical thought. God is thus a trump card, a free pass....

No shit.

In the argument between creationists and scientists, those aiming to defend
God make absolute claims about mysteries of the deep past as if they themselves
were there....

But here is where it gets tricky. What if God's unknowability is the most
illuminating profundity humans can know about God? That would mean that
religious language, instead of opening into the absolute certitude on which all
forms of triumphal superiority are based, would open into true modesty. The
closed creation, in which every question has an answer, would be replaced by an
infinite cosmos where every answer sparks a new question. If what we mean by
''God" is the living pulse of such open-endedness, then God is of no use in
systems of dominance, censorship, power. God is everywhere, yes. But,
also, God is nowhere. And that, too, shows in America, especially in its fake religiosity.

In an e-mail to a friend this afternoon, I was lamenting about the path that so many people seem to take in not questioning their religious beliefs and values. They just complacently accept it as part of their life, part of their core being. Certainly, some people build their entire lives around a religious sect, allowing the people in power to dictate how they should live their lives. And in this way, they allow themselves to be played for fools. Our government has co-opted this religious absolutism to a dangerous level.

The lack of depth exhibited by many of our fellow Americans who voted for Bush in 2000 and, especially, in 2004, troubles me greatly.

I often see a bumpersticker around Grand Rapids that says, "You cannot be both Catholic and Pro-Choice." Fair enough, if that is what you believe.

However, I'd like to take liberty, if I may, with that phrase. I'd rewrite it to say, "You cannot be both Christian and a Supporter of George W. Bush."

Because if those Christians who voted for Bush in 2004 did some soul searching, and perhaps just a wee bit of research in the news, the dots between Bush and their core values would not connect. Consider the following about Bush and compare him to Jesus:

  • Lying about the rationale for war (it's well documented so I'm not going to belabor the point, just Google Weapons of Mass Destruction or Yellowcake)
  • Destroying social programs that help the less fortunate
  • The Goring of Al Gore in 2000
  • The Swift-Boating of John Kerry in 2004
  • Blatant disregard for fiscal responsibility
  • Environmental misdeeds
  • Creating wedge issues, such as anti-gay marriage and Terri's Law, which shamefully exclude people simply as a tactic to rile up the "base" and win elections
I could go on, but I've made my point. George W. Bush is about as Christian as Satan.

What Cindy Sheehan Said

Via Buzzflash:

Supporting Hillary

"I will not make the mistake of supporting another pro-war Democrat for president again: As I won't support a pro-war Republican...."

"I thought Mrs. Clinton listened, but apparently she didn't because immediately afterwards she said the following to Sarah Ferguson of the Village Voice:

"My bottom line is that I don't want their sons to die in vain... I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal... I don't think it's the
right time to withdraw."

As those of you who know me know, I do not support Hillary for President in 2008. (I am, after all, Vicki, Who Loves Al Gore.) Hillary is far too centrist for my liberal, socialist brain, although I understand she's been an effective Senator for the State of New York. However, Cindy's 100% correct. Hillary needs to speak out against the war. Now. If she wants a hope in hell of winning the nomination. 62% of Americans now believe ~ strike that ~ know, that this war is a war based on lies from the WHIG (White House Iraq Group). This war is about OIL. Oil and Greed.

Although it's two and a half years too late, in my opinion, Democrats and other progressives need to come out in numbers to speak against this feckless war and the foolish follies of this power-drunk administration.

Neutral Tones

The following poem, by Thomas Hardy, is one of my favorites. Hardy's use of imagery crisply paints the stark reality of a failed relationship, and a lover's regrets years later. There's a pun in the title, as well, which makes it even more appealing to me.

by: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

We stood by a pond that winter day,
And the sun was white, as though chidden of God,
And a few leaves lay on the starving sod,
--They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.

Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove
Over tedious riddles solved years ago;
And some words played between us to and fro--
On which lost the more by our love.

The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing
Alive enough to have strength to die;
And a grin of bitterness swept thereby
Like an ominous bird a-wing….

Since then, keen lessons that love deceives,
And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me
Your face, and the God-curst sun, and a tree,
And a pond edged with grayish leaves.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Welcome to Sticky Vine

Although I'm no stranger to blogistan, this is my first post on Sticky Vine. "Sticky Vine" is my spoonerism. In case you're curious, declares that a "spoonerism" is 1. A transposition of sounds of two or more words, especially a ludicrous one, such as Let me sew you to your sheet for Let me show you to your seat. 2. transposition of initial consonants in a pair of words.

It is, obviously, a noun, and was coined after William Archibald Spooner, a British cleric and scholar. It was also the Word of the Day on May 18, 1999 (for the useless trivia buffs out there ~ all of zero of you who will be reading this!).

I decided to use my spoonerism because, frankly, I have a good one. Also, I have a fond connection to spoons ~ I prefer them to sporks and forks; and the spoon position when cradled by lovers, and all things that are spoony goodness. Perhaps it's because, when I was in college, I was co-president of my dorm, Spooner Hall, at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. (If memory serves me correctly, a more adequate description of my dorm might have been "Stoner" Hall back then, but I digress.) Fond memories. Good times. Sigh. Good times.

Anyway, I hope to begin posting some worthwhile commentary. On life, politics, poetry, and the art of being.

Thanks for reading. Have fun.