“We decry violence all the time in this country, but look at our history. We were born in a violent revolution, and we’ve been in wars ever since. We’re not a pacific people.” ~ James Lee Burke
I just don’t understand. I don’t understand what is going on in this country. No other country in the world has nearly as much gun violence. And don’t talk to me about second amendment rights. Do you really need automatic weapons to bring down a deer? Please.
Every time this happens—and that statement itself reveals far too much (as in it has happened too many times and it continues to happen)—we starts to make comments about what we can do to prevent this, and then a month later, nothing has been done, and nothing will be done.
And by the way, more than 50 percent of NRA members agree that background checks are a necessary precaution, and in that vein, agree that the gun show loophole needs to be closed.
No, this maniac did not buy his guns. He got them from someone in his family. But still, he had access to weapons that are not used for hunting. These were weapons whose purpose is to kill, wound, maim human beings. And don’t even say that if he hadn’t had a gun, he would have used something else. Could he have killed 20 children that quickly with say, a brick?
I’m tired of your arguments. I’m tired of the Charlton Heston attitude of prying my gun from my cold dead hands. I’m tired of what we do to one another. I’m tired of nothing of any consequence ever being done by any administration because the people in charge of the NRA are myopic, and apparently everyone is afraid of them. I’m tired of hearing that “now is not the time to have a discussion on gun control.”
If not now, then when? When the next school massacre occurs? We did nothing of consequence after Aurora. We even did nothing of consequence after Virginia Tech. We continue to do nothing.
“So let’s state the plain facts one more time, so that they can’t be mistaken: Gun massacres have happened many times in many countries, and in every other country, gun laws have been tightened to reflect the tragedy and the tragic knowledge of its citizens afterward. In every other country, gun massacres have subsequently become rare. In America alone, gun massacres, most often of children, happen with hideous regularity, and they happen with hideous regularity because guns are hideously and regularly available.” ~ Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
Other countries who allow handguns do not have the kind of violence that we have. Consider Israel, a pretty violence country, all things considered, had 58 handgun deaths last year. Compared to our country’s 10,728 handgun deaths, that’s 185 times more deaths. Is anyone else bothered by this math?
What makes us such a violent society? Video games? Movies like Batman? Pshaw. You and I both know that that’s simply not it. We are violent because we have this innate belief that we are superior to everyone else, and in that position of superiority, we do not hold ourselves to the same standards as the rest of the world. We have different rules in the U.S. because, well, just because we can, I suppose.
We do not love one another. We do not respect one another, and we certainly do not care about one another. We have rampant poverty. We have children who are starving. We have families who live in cars. But we are an advanced super power.
I’ve had it. I am so sick of the party line, whichever party it is. We have a real problem in this country, and until we face up to it, nothing is going to change.
The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those children. They have made a clear moral choice: that the comfort and emotional reassurance they take from the possession of guns, placed in the balance even against the routine murder of innocent children, is of supreme value. Whatever satisfaction gun owners take from their guns—we know for certain that there is no prudential value in them—is more important than children’s lives. Give them credit: life is making moral choices, and that’s a moral choice, clearly made.
All of that is a truth, plain and simple, and recognized throughout the world. At some point, this truth may become so bloody obvious that we will know it, too. Meanwhile, congratulate yourself on living in the child-gun-massacre capital of the known universe.
The pervasive attitude of I’ve got mine, to hell with the rest of you? It’s killing our souls.
People, he walked in and deliberately targeted kindergarten students. Does that not say something to you? Does that not speak to your very moral fiber?
I know that my rant is all over the place. For more studied and better developed commentary, take a look at the links below.
I also know that I haven’t really made any kind of cogent argument here. I don’t care, I tell you. I just don’t care. And you know what else? I would bet my mortgage money that this time next month, even six months from now, that the changes we are clamoring for, the reforms that we say are needed, that what we will see will be
In the Loop
I heard from people after the shootings. People
I knew well or barely or not at all. Largely
the same message: how horrible it was, how little
there was to say about how horrible it was.
People wrote, called, mostly e-mailed
because they know I teach at Virginia Tech,
to say, there’s nothing to say. Eventually
I answered these messages: there’s nothing
to say back except of course there’s nothing
to say, thank you for your willingness
to say it. Because this was about nothing.
A boy who felt that he was nothing,
who erased and entered that erasure, and guns
that are good for nothing, and talk of guns
that is good for nothing, and spring
that is good for flowers, and Jesus for some,
and scotch for others, and “and” for me
in this poem, “and” that is good
for sewing the minutes together, which otherwise
go about going away, bereft of us and us
of them. Like a scarf left on a train and nothing
like a scarf left on a train. As if the train,
empty of everything but a scarf, still opens
its doors at every stop, because this
is what a train does, this is what a man does
with his hand on a lever, because otherwise,
why the lever, why the hand, and then it was over,
I wrote this last night, but decided to mull it over and come back to it in the morning. Still feel the same way. Apologize for the disjointedness (is that even a word?)………..
“I could as easily bail out the Potomac River with a teaspoon as attend to all the details of the army.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Friday night. Cloudy and humid, high 60’s.
I’d never heard that Lincoln quote before, about using a teaspoon to bail out the Potomac River. Isn’t it wonderful? Reminds me of Eliot. I still feel that I’m measuring out my life in coffee spoons, and now I can add teaspoons to my list of metaphors for not being able to get things done.
So I’ve spent a lot of this week amassing a bizarre list of things that I’ve noticed that perplex me, but I have to warn you, this post is all over the place. Here are a few:
Why, when there is a clearly marked turn lane, must there always be the one person who pulls into it diagonally, thereby blocking at least one lane?
How do I always manage to park in a puddle, and why do I only find out this reality once I have stepped into said puddle?
Why do the cars in front of me always seem to be in a conspiracy to keep traffic moving at least three miles below the speed limit?
Why do defoggers only work on the magical setting, you know, the one that comes from moving the different settings several times until you reach that nirvana that can never be duplicated?
Why are there no Obama signs in my neighborhood except for mine? Did the Dems just decide to concede Virginia’s swing state classification to the Mittens and concentrate on Ohio? It would appear so . . .
“Men who wish to know about the world must learn about it in its particular details.” ~ Heraclitus
And then there is this (true story): While driving Brett to campus the other day, I asked him what that window decal on the car ahead of us was supposed to be. I assumed that he would know because it looked like some kind of character out of a game. It was pink, and smiling, and cartoony. To wit, he replied, “It’s a uterus.”
Now, let me pause here as I am certain that you are pausing also. “A uterus?” I asked. “But why?”
Brett replied that the uterus has become the new pink, the new breast cancer, the cause de célèbre, if you will.
Okay. I need to say a few things about this one. First, I am a firm believer that what goes on in my uterus is my business and no one else’s. I find it to be a very personal relationship, one that I do not particularly care to share with the whole world. Second, I also believe that I am a pretty radical thinker, open to new concepts and ideas, welcoming a steady stream of new data into my hard drive, as it were. But a uterus?
Apparently so. The uterus decal is a woman’s way of saying something along the lines of this is mine, or perhaps, I’m female and I’m proud of my lady parts, or maybe, This is how I look on the inside. Yes, yes. Don’t get testy. I know that it’s a political statement, but still, I think that I’m almost offended—a pink, smiley uterus with eyes. I think it’s the eyes that creep me out. I’m going to have to ponder this little detail some more and perhaps come back to it later.
“It is in the treatment of trifles that a person shows what they are.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer
Other things I’ve been mulling over:
Why are Republicans so caught up in having fake tans? They’re kind of like the Real Housewives of Orange County in that vein.
Will there be any paper magazines in a decade? Newsweek will no longer be in traditional print. That saddens me probably way more than it does them.
Why do people in Hampton Roads act totally insane when there is news of a tropical storm or hurricane somewhere in the Atlantic. There was a run on water in the Wal Mart Market this afternoon. You would have thought those jugs contained gold.
Did you know that I also have accidents with shopping carts? Just thought I’d mention that.
I can’t find a decent ringtone for UB40’s “Red, Red Wine” on any reputable sites. This is not earth-shattering, but I’ve been wondering about it.
“I prefer to explore the most intimate moments, the smaller, crystallized details we all hinge our lives on.” ~ Rita Dove
Getting back to that whole uterus decal thing—and yes, I am, sooner than expected—I can’t help but think that these same women who are displaying their female reproductive organs on their rear windows would be highly offended if they pulled up behind a truck with a big old decal of a penis and accompanying testes. I mean, wouldn’t that cause an uproar? Bad taste! Offensive! ya da ya da ya da . . .
Look, I understand militant feminism. I stopped wearing a bra when I was young (truthfully, I didn’t really need one, but that’s beside the point) because I heard that’s what real feminists did. I was on the forefront of fighting for equal pay for the same job before most of you were born. I adopted the Ms. moniker proudly, declaring to all within shouting distance that my marital status did not need to be indicated in a formal title, after all, Mr. did not indicate marital status. I mean folks, I still have an ERA NOW button. I understand that women are taking back their uteri (is that the correct plural for uteruses?), demanding that men-folk stop sticking their noses where they don’t belong. I completely agree.
But a smile? Eyes? Just ewwwwww all over the place.
“After all it is those who have a deep and real inner life who are best able to deal with the irritating details of outer life.” ~ Evelyn Underhill
So, I’ve also been considering a few other things:
I wonder what would happen if one night I crept into the yard of the guy in Lex’s neighborhood who has 20 Romney/Ryan yard signs in his teeny, tiny front yard, and swapped one out for an Obama/Biden sign? Not in the front, but somewhere in the middle . . . how apoplectic do you think he’d get?
Is it really sad that I can’t wait for December so that I can go see Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movie?
Is it pathetic that I wish there were going to be more Harry Potter movies?
Should that last question really have been more along the lines of how pathetic would it be?
Does anyone want to sew Brett’s costume for me?
“The devil is in the details.” ~ unknown
Okay, back to this.
People, please. Feminism came about because women wanted to be treated as equals, you know, that whole equal rights thing? It’s a pretty basic concept, but somehow it’s morphed into something I don’t recognize, something that promotes misandry, something that contends that the owner of the vagina is better than the owner of the penis. If I’m making you squirm, good. Misandry is no better than misogyny. And let me pause here—I am not talking about sexual orientation. Unfortunately, at some point, the Rush Limbaughs of the world began to pair the words feminist and lesbian. The first can be the second, and the second can be the first, but not necessarily so.
Who you share your uterus with is none of my business. What you do with it is none of my business. Do you really need to shout to the world that you have a uterus? If this makes me old fashioned, then I guess I am, but I’m still a feminist, in the truest sense of the word because I do not believe for one second that one gender is better equipped (no pun intended) to perform a job or hold an office or make a decision than the other gender.
And by the way, if you are so inclined to try to turn this into a debate about rape culture, don’t bother. This is definitely not about that and that is not about this. It’s essentially this: I’m for human rights, equality for all. It doesn’t get much more basic than that.
Oh, whatever. As Bukowski said,
“I decide that the only definition of
Truth (which changes)
is that it is that thing or act or
belief which the crowd
rejects.” (from “The People Look Like Flowers”)
More later. Peace.
Music by The Chromatics, “Into the Black”
The Strongest Of The Strange
you won’t see them often
for wherever the crowd is
those odd ones, not
but from them
and from the
best of the
sometimes I think
them – say
a certain old
sitting on a
in a certain
a quick face
going the other
in a passing
there’s a certain motion
of the hands
of a bag-boy or a bag-
it is even somebody
you have been
you will notice
you will only note
after they are
he was about
20 years old
Jackson Pollock, Blue Poles: Number 11 (1952, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Australia)
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
Monday afternoon. Not too hot, mid-80’s, sunny.
It’s been a long six days since I last posted, during which I have wanted to post several times, but for various reasons, have been unable to do so. In finishing the big furniture shuffle, we have the house in better shape, but as usual, I overdid it and was down for several days. Have I mentioned how much I hate the fact that I have to rest for days after I clean my house or do anything strenuous (not strenuous for most people)? Sucks, really.
Of course, the last room to be put back together is our bedroom, and once again, half of it is in order, and half of it isn’t. Since we moved my desk into Eamonn’s room, I was left with various items without a home, so to speak. But I took the opportunity to throw away more stuff and to clean the stuff that I’m keeping. Hence, the overexertion.
As I mentioned, on Tuesday everyone went to Bush Gardens, and they seemed to have a good time, although everyone came home tired and grouchy, which is always the case after spending ten to twelve hours in the heat. Thankfully, it wasn’t too crowded, so they didn’t have to wait in long lines.
Last Thursday, Phillip and a few of Eamonn’s buds came over to hang out. Corey and Phillip ended up playing XBox at 2 in the morning. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Then Friday night Corey, Phillip, Patrick, Lucas, and Shawn (Patrick’s former aide) went out for a boys’ night out. And Saturday, we all got together at the beach house before the Germans were to leave on Sunday.
By the way, Phillip corrected the usage of the phrase the Germans to describe our relatives who live in Germany because as he pointed out, he and Hannah were born in the U.S. and have dual citizenship. I just found it amusing that after I had been mulling over the correctness of using such a collective he made a point of negating it. He is very much like his father in being exact about things.
Anyway, they were to leave yesterday, but because of severe weather in the north, all flights in the direction were delayed three hours, which would have made them miss their connecting flight. And in addition, Patrick’s wheelchair and a few other necessities were locked in the trunk of the rental car along with the keys. It was not the best day for them. As it turns out, they left today. I did not go to the airport as I’m still feeling melancholy and sad, and frankly, I did not want to say goodbye again.
“It is so hard to learn to put sadness in perspective so hard to understand that it is a feeling that comes in degrees, it can be a candle burning gently and harmlessly in your home, or it can be a full-fledged forest fire that destroy almost everything and is controlled by almost nothing. It can also be so much in-between.” ~ Elizabeth Wurtzel
Corey had to work both first and third shift yesterday, so he is sleeping today. When I got out of bed today, I could barely move because my back was so stiff, and it made me feel so old and decrepit. Hate that too.
A few nights ago, I kept smelling something burning, and for a brief second, I thought the house was on fire. Turns out the fires in the Great Dismal Swamp are still burning, and the wind had shifted, resulting in a very smokey evening for our area. My asthma was quite irritated, and we had all of the fans in the house turning to try to clear the house. But it resulted in yet another evening of restless sleep for me as I actually had to use my inhaler twice during the night, which is quite unusual for me.
I haven’t mentioned it yet because as I said I haven’t really been able to write, but my other m-in-law is in the hospital. It seems that she developed a high fever, and Ann was with her in the emergency room last Wednesday in the wee hours of the morning. She has a UTI and an infection in her lungs, but thankfully, not pneumonia. She is doing better, but I haven’t been to see her yet, which really makes me feel like crap.
Ann has decided to move her mom from the rehab home that she was in, and I am so glad. My line of thinking is that someone should have noticed that she was ill before she spiked such a high fever. And the fact is that I spotted pus in her catheter line and told the nursing staff that she had a UTI the last time, and even then, it took two days before they tested her. Ann has found a place that is closer to home, and she toured it the other day. Another good thing is that the request can be made not to have any male attendants, which is also a relief.
“There’s no reality except the one contained within us. That’s why so many people live an unreal life. They take images outside them for reality and never allow the world within them to assert itself.” ~ Hermann Hesse
Last night I dreamed that the crazy woman I used to work with called me just to talk, and I knew that it wasn’t just to talk. I knew that she wanted something from me, but I could not figure out what. Then the dream shifted, and I was supposed to get on a flight with a bunch of Jedi younglings, and I knew that Darth Vader was going to be on the flight. Darth and I decided not to fight on the flight because of all of the children who could get hurt, and he took off his helmet. The whole Jedi thing probably came from my watching part of Men Who Stare at Goats before going to sleep.
A totally silly movie, but I love Ewan McGregor. I may watch the rest of the movie tonight, but really, it was more to pass the time than anything.
Undoubtedly, one of the stranger sci-fi dreams I have ever had. Especially since at some point we were on a bus instead of a plane, and the bus driver decided to drive in the water so that we could see all of the creatures in the water around us, and I saw a turtle with long, female legs . . . Not even going to try to decipher this one.
I do remember getting off the bus and seeing a woodchuck in the middle of the road. I startled the woodchuck, and it began to hop. The kids on the bus laughed. Other animals that we saw included a jaguar, a hippo, koi, female lions, and gators. The bus driver recited this litany of animals as she drove maniacally through the water, and no one seemed too bothered that the bus was in the water.
When I’m dreaming things like this, something in my subconscious registers and thinks that the dream would make a good movie or a good book, usually a good book, and then I wake up and think to myself, “Who would buy a book about a bus driving through the water?”
Oh, well . . .
“A doctor once told me I feel too much I said so does god That’s why you can see the grand canyon from the moon” ~ Andrea Gibson, from “Jellyfish”
Last night because I couldn’t sleep I watched the movie Pollock, with Ed Harris in the title role, and Marcia Gay Harden as Lee Krasner, his companion/wife/promoter. I’ve been wanting to see this movie for a while, but I knew that it would be an emotional roller coaster, and it was.
Harris is wonderful as the artist, portraying his struggles in attempting to bring his true vision to the canvas via his drip and splash method (action painting), and Harden won an Academy Award for best supporting actress as Krasner.
I remember the first time that I saw a Pollock painting; I was totally confused. Admittedly, I knew nothing about abstract expressionism and had little appreciation for the movement. But I have found in recent years that my appreciation for Pollock, de Kooning, Diebenkorn, and Rothko has deepened. The lack of a focal composition point makes sense somehow.
What I have come to appreciate is the immediacy of the work done by artists during this period. I’ve never been a fan of Picasso as I find his work to be quite disconcerting, which is what it’s supposed to be. And while I also know that Picasso and other surrealists influenced the abstract Impressionists, cubism befuddles me. Not so Pollock.
The years between 1947 and 1950 Pollock produced the works for which he is most famous. Instead of using brushes, Pollock dripped, flung, and splashed paint; he used sticks, knives, and hardened brushes, among other implements to move his liquid paint onto his huge canvases, which were laid on the floor of his studio.
Pollock maintained that through his technique of working on the floor, he was able to see all sides of his work: “My painting does not come from the easel. I prefer to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall or the floor. I need the resistance of a hard surface. On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting.”
I suppose what appeals to me is how Pollock’s paintings reflect so much of his inner turmoil, how his subconscious defines the art. I can appreciate that. If I were to attempt to paint (which I would not presume to do as I have no talent in that area), the visceral approach employed by Pollock would be something that I might try.
“”The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny—it is the light that guides your way.” ~ Heraclitus
Let’s see . . . what else?
I feel as if I’ve eaten nothing but junk food for a week: chips, crackers, dip, other stuff that’s not healthy. I have been on a fresh fruit binge, though, to try to counteract the empty calories. I need some fresh vegetables, yogurt, and fruit for the next few days.
I seem to have run out of steam for this post. I had another tangent in mind when I began this section, but I drifted off while I was listening to Melody Gardot sing “The Rain.” Her voice is like smokey silk, half what I imagine I sound like but probably do not.
It’s quite easy at this moment to become distracted as clouds are rolling in outside this window, and the room is taking on the hues of dusk. I have my blues playlist running in the background, and the house is fairly quiet. The temperature is dropping, and thankfully, the nights are becoming cooler. It feels a bit like fall, although if you were to ask me exactly why, I could not pinpoint a particular reason.
I would live in fall perpetually given the chance, which is why I believe I am so enamored of living in Ireland. Who knows if that will ever happen. The likelihood is slim as Corey has no desire to leave the country, which I can certainly understand. It’s not that I want to leave this country, but it’s more that I want to live in Ireland, a desire I have long harbored. The history of poet and writers, the verdant landscape, the smaller villages. Of all of the places that I have dreamed about and given character to, Ireland comes the closest to my imaginings, or at least that’s what the people who have been there tell me.
It’s quite easy to build up a scenario in your wild imaginings about how a certain town or country might be, but it’s quite another thing to encounter the brutality of the reality of that place. The few places that I think would actually live up to what I have imagined are Ireland, New Zealand, New South Wales, and perhaps Wales and the Netherlands.
I wonder if I will ever get to compare my imaginings with the realities . . .
More later. Peace.
Music by Tom Waits, “The World Keeps Turning” from the Pollock soundtrack
Go inside a stone
That would be my way.
Let somebody else become a dove
Or gnash with a tiger’s tooth.
I am happy to be a stone.
From the outside the stone is a riddle:
No one knows how to answer it.
Yet within, it must be cool and quiet
Even though a cow steps on it full weight,
Even though a child throws it in a river;
The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed
To the river bottom
Where the fishes come to knock on it
I have seen sparks fly out
When two stones are rubbed,
So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;
Perhaps there is a moon shining
From somewhere, as though behind a hill—
Just enough light to make out
The strange writings, the star-charts
On the inner walls.