Saturday, September 24, 2005

Be Back Soon

My sister had an emergency appendectomy Thursday night and is doing fine. I am now in Denver, been here since yesterday, and will be here for the next seven to ten days. Will blog when and if I get a chance. Everyone take care.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy and she loves me,
We're as happy as two can be,
sometimes we quarrel but then again
How we love making up again.

Lucy kisses like no one can,
She's my missus and I'm her man;
And life is heaven you see
Cause I Love Lucy
Yes I Love Lucy
and Lucy loves me

I watched American Masters: Lucille Ball:Finding Lucy on PBS this morning. I always forget how funny she really was until I see an episode of the show again. Now I understand what "timeless comedy" means- she makes me laugh no matter how many times I watch. Funny lady.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


D. W. Griffith (1924)

Performer(s): Neil Hamilton, Erville Alderson, Carol Dempster, Lionel Barrymore.

Summary: Torn between his revolutionary political beliefs and his love for the daughter of a Virginia Tory, Nathan Holden struggles with his fellow patriots for independence. But at the crossroads of this path to freedom stands Captain Walter Butler. A murderous redcoat, Butler ravages the fledgling colonies with a band of barbaric Mohawks
-description from the University of Vermont library catalog

I saw a bit of this movie when I was 13 years old. It was in seventh grade American History and we were studying the American Revolution. One day our teacher showed us an short film showing a battle between American and British soldiers. Every few seconds the film would pop as a repair splice went through the projector. The film had no sound and scratched-up images that flickered and had a jerky quality to them. The black-and-white color kept fading in and out but you could still see that what we were watching was a battle of some sort. I was very confused by this piece of film and wondered where it had come from since our teacher had not told us anything about it before starting the projector.

This film looked so old and was in such bad shape I thought that maybe it was actual footage of a battle from the American Revolution. I had seen photos from the American Civil War and film of World War I and World War II. I had also seen film of the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Why couldn't it be possible that I was watching a piece of film shot during the American Revolution? It looked real enough and the soldiers were wearing the right uniforms. Still, part of me knew this could not be possible but I never asked my teacher about it because I was afraid he would laugh at me. It wasn't until years later, when I saw a television program about D. W. Griffith, that I understood what I had seen that day was a clip from his movie America.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Whot The Hail Is That?

That is a Big Stinky Flytrap set up in our backyard. I am showing you this because drD over at Big n Juicy is asking his readers what they like and don't like about Autumn. My least favorite thing about it is in the photo above; the end-of-summer-beginning-of-autumn fly round-up. At this time of year the flies seem to know Winter is coming and they go into a reproduction frenzy. This photo shows three days worth of fly or about 12,000 flies. How do I know there are about 12,000 flies in there? I'm married to an engineer.

How To Figure Out Number Of Flies
1. Using basic math principles figure out the Area of the inside of the glass jar(30.7 square inches).

2. Measure the Height of the fly column and then multiply that number by the Area to get the volume of flies (107 cubic inches).

3. Take a small measuring cup and dip out 1/8 cup of flies. Pour into a small pan and divide flies into groups of ten and count (200 flies per 1/8 cup).

5. Basic math again: (107 cubic inches/ 231 cubic inches per gal) x (4 quarts/gal) x (2 pints/quart) x (2 cups/pint) x (200 flies/one-eighth cup ) = 11,850 flies.

I am looking forward to the first freeze and the end of all this.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Girl From Ipanema


Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, each one she passes goes - ah

When she walks, she's like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gentle
That when she passes, each one she passes goes - ooh

(Ooh) But I watch her so sadly
How can I tell her I love her
Yes I would give my heart gladly
But each day, when she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead, not at me

Tall, (and) tan, (and) young, (and) lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, I smile - but she doesn't see (doesn't see)
(She just doesn't see, she never sees me,...)

I've always loved this song and I remember being intrigued by it the first time I heard it on the radio. I did not understand at the time but I think I liked it because it is so sophisticatedly simple; like Cole Porter and Burt Bacharach/Hal David songs. I caught the end of a program about the story behind the song on LinkTV this morning and was surprised to see some different lyrics than the ones above:

Ah! If she only knew that when she passes by
the world is smiling,
filling up with grace
and turns more beautiful
because of love

So I googled the song and found the English translation of the original words:

Look, what a most beautiful thing there
moreover full of grace
and she, this girl that comes and goes
with this sweet swinging gait, along the way to the sea. . . .

The girl with this golden body from the Ipanema sun
Her swinging gait is more than a poem
and the most beautiful thing that I ever saw go by

Ah! why am I so alone?
Ah! why is everything so sad?
Ah! the beauty that is there!
The beauty that is not just mine . . .
that is also passing by alone.

Ah! if she only knew that when she passes by
the world is smiling
filling up with grace
and turns more beautiful
because of love
because of love
because of love

The Girl From Ipanema is a Brazilian style of music called Bossa Nova and it came out after the Bossa Nova fad in the United States had ended.

Of course some people didn't get what the music was all about. I remember another song I would hear on Oldies weekends called Blame It On The Bossa Nova written by Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil and by recorded by Eddie Gorme:

I was at a dance when he caught my eye
Standin' all alone lookin' sad and shy
We began to dance, swaying' to and fro
And soon I knew I'd never let him go

Blame it on the bossa nova with its magic spell
Blame it on the bossa nova that he did so well
Oh, it all began with just one little dance
But then it ended up a big romance
Blame it on the bossa nova
The dance of love

(Now was it the moon?)
No, no, the bossa nova
(Or the stars above?)
No, no, the bossa nova
(Now was it the tune?)
Yeah, yeah, the bossa nova
(The dance of love)

[Instrumental organ]

Now I'm glad to say I'm his bride to be
And we're gonna raise a family
And when our kids ask how it came about
I'm gonna say to them without a doubt

Blame it on the bossa nova with its magic spell
Blame it on the bossa nova that he did so well
Oh, it all began with just one little dance
But then it ended up a big romance
Blame it on the bossa nova
The dance of love

(Now was it the moon?)
No, no, the bossa nova
(Or the stars above?)
No, no, the bossa nova
(Now was it the tune? )
Yeah, yeah, the bossa nova
(The dance of love)

(Now was it the moon?)
No, no, the bossa nova
(Or the stars above ?)


Blame It On The Bossa Nova was released in 1963. Catchy little tune but it probably signaled the end of the Bossa Nova fad in the United States until The Girl From Ipanema was released a year later.

You can find sound clips of both the English version recorded by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto and the Joao Gilberto version sung in Portuguese here.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Wind

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass--
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all--
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Life Journey

If we do not know our own history, we are doomed to live it as though it were our private fate.
-Hannah Arendt

I have just finished reading Jane Fonda's autobiography, My Life So Far. It is the story of her journey though life in a search for herself. It ends with these words:

Every earned line on my skin and scar on my heart-I can own them now. I can affirm every imperfection as my share of our mutual, flawed, fragile humanity.

Each story and individual, each metamorphosis-they live in me now, and celebrate being here, being useful.

Deep in my blood, brain, heart, and soul-they've all come back to live in me.

And, finally, so have I

I only hope I feel the same way when I reach sixty-seven. Wonderful book.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Small Town Life

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.
-James Thurber

Across the alley from me is an old church who's main floor has been turned into an art studio by a man in town. In the basement he is operating an art framing business. In back of the church is a house that used to be the home of the church pastor and is now used for storage by the man who has the art studio and owns the property.

About two weeks ago I was walking by the property when I heard the sound of puppies barking. I was surprised to see that a fence had been built between the church and the house. I walked up to it and discovered not only was there a fence but that the fence formed one wall of a large dog pen. In the pen were seven Labrador Retriever puppies. All were jumping up and down, all were wagging their tails, and all were barking. Also inside the pen were two large empty metal feeding bowls, one very large watering trough, two old chewed-up sneakers, and about one hundred plastic ties. The ties had been in bunches of twenty but the puppies had broken some of them open and scattered them on the ground. I was worried about the puppies eating the ties so I went into the pen to pick them up.

The second I stepped inside I was jumped on by seven frantic puppies wanting attention. I petted any and all I could reach and then pushed them away while I tried to pick up the ties. It took about twenty minutes and for the first fifteen minutes the puppies jumped on me and barked for attention. After I was finished I squatted down and petted puppies. That set off another round of jumping and barking but after a few minutes they settled down again and stopped going crazy whenever I touched them. One just want some human contact and sat down between my legs and leaned against me. When I left it set off another round of jumping and barking.

Later that day I saw the owner's car parked next to the church and went over to talk to him. He told me he was raising the puppies to sell as dock dogs. Dock dogs are dogs that compete by jumping off a dock into water. The dog that makes the longest jump wins.

Now let me tell you all the things wrong with this idea of his. First, he is the most disorganized man I have every met. He is the one who left the ties in the pen. Second, he doesn't know what he is doing. This you can tell by the third and fourth things; the puppies were already ten and one-half weeks old and he was trying to sell them on the Internet. Responsible breeders already have buyers lined up before they produce puppies.

It is now two week later and the poor puppies are still there. I'm not sure what to do. They are past the age of real puppies and are now almost twice as large as they were when I first saw them. We have a law in this town that each household can only have three dogs. I am tired of the barking and I am tired of the smell of dog poop drifting over into my yard. Like I said before he is not that responsible and so is not good about cleaning the pen. I could turn him in but then what would happen to the puppies? My husband said we should turn him in since that might keep him from doing this again but I'm not so sure.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

[The government] has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.
-Keith Olbermann

Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, has been relieved of his command. He has been asked to return to Washington immediately. He is expected to arrive in about a week.
-Bill Maher

Today President Bush asked if his visit to the hurricane zone would count toward the service time he still owes the National Guard.
-Jay Leno

The president has issued a statement that, on September 16th, there will be a day of prayer. Now, uh, uh, okay. But isn't a hurricane, and I don't mean to be crass in any way, an act of God? Shouldn't there be a day of shunning? Some sort of, "Okay, tough guy."
-Jon Stewart

One nice thing is a lot of foreign countries are helping us out. Like today, France sent a donation. They sent a truckload of white flags for people to wave when they're waiting to be rescued.
-Jay Leno

Friday, September 09, 2005

LaP Lightens Up A Bit

And spends the day getting rid of her anger by doing yardwork. Lots of yardwork.

Friday Random Ten

1. (Night Time Is) The Right Time- Ray Charles
2. One-Sided Love Affair- Elvis Presley
3. Farther Up The Road- Bobby "Blue" Bland
4. Christy Barry's Set - Kevin Crawford
5. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)- David "Fathead" Newman
6. Summertime- Janis Joplin
7. Come Fly With Me- Frank Sinatra
8. Boogie Fever- The Sylvers
9. Out Of Business- Duke Levine
10.Green Onions- Booker T. & The MG's

Second Set

1. Ain't Misbehavin'- Dinah Washington
2. (Just Like) Starting Over- John Lennon
3. Buffalo Soldier- Bob Marley
4. All Through The Night- Cyndi Lauper
5. Lizzie Linsay- Noel McLoughlin
6. Move It On Over- Hank Williams
7. Blue Bayou- Roy Orbison
8. Mean Woman Blues- Roy Orbison
9. Tell Laura I Love Her- Ray Peterson
10.Oh Mamma Mamma- Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen

Third Set

1. The Long And Winding Road- The Beatles
2. Rocky Mountain Way- Joe Walsh
3. I Want You, I Love You- Elvis Presley
4. Marie- Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra
5. Rendezvous With Rama (Re-Orient)- Orient
6. If You Were In My Place (What Would You Do?)- Rosemary Clooney
7. See See Rider- Eric Burdon & The Animals
8. Allegro (Danza Pastorale)- Salzburg Chamber Orchestra
9. Concerto in A for Clarinet and Orchestra, K.622- Mozart
10.Better Get Hit In Ya' Soul- Charles Mingus

Fourth Set

1. This Girls' In Love With You- Dionne Warwick
2. Trains And Boats And Planes- Dionne Warwick
3. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours- Stevie Wonder
4. Body And Soul- Al Cohn and Zoot Sims
5. Ketchy Shuby- Peter Tosh
6. She's Gone- Tavares
7. Here We Are- Gloria Estefan
8. Route 66- Manhattan Transfer
9. L'accordeoniste- Edith Piaf
10.That Old Feeling- Chet Baker

Fifth Set

1. O'Carolan's Farewell To Music- Jerry O'Sullivan
2. Life- Sly & The Family Stone

And done for the day.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

What's Going On?

Make me wanna holler
-Marvin Gaye

I have abandoned the rest of yesterday's post. I realize now that I was using it as a way of distracting myself from what was going on inside me emotionally. For over a week now I have felt like I have been standing on quaking ground and trying my best not to loose my balance. Last night I realized that I have been trying to ignore these feelings because they are all too familiar to me. This is the way I felt throughout most of my childhood.

I felt this way when I was awakened by the sound of a deputy sheriff's boot kicking in the front door of our house while the person attached to that boot yelled," Sheriff's department! This is an eviction!"
I felt this way every time I stepped into a new school- and there were many. I count thirteen today but I think I am forgetting some of them.
I felt this way the night my brother woke us up by crashing though the front door of one house we lived in while screaming, "I'm shot! I'm shot!, as he fell to the floor.
I felt this way the night my parents came home late from a party and my father woke me up by yanking me out of bed with one hand while repeatedly hitting me forcefully on the butt with the other for not doing the dishes like he told me to do before he and my mother left the house. I was eight-years-old.
I'm sure there were other times that I felt the ground under my feet shake and my world collapsing. Although my mind may have forgotten them my body still remembers.

I have also felt great anger (bordering on the edge of rage) alternating with periods of sadness and fear. I read this over at Body and Soul and felt even worse. Jeanne linked to a story about poor people being rescued by a helicopter in New Orleans at first refusing to get on board because they were afraid they would be charged for the ride and there was no way they could afford it. She then linked to another blog that had a list of what being poor is like and asked people to add to the list. I started shaking as I read through it because I could have written so many of the entries myself.

Years ago I understood that I had many feeling still trapped inside my psyche. They were left over from days when I felt too afraid to express them or days when I was just overwhelmed by intensity of them. After a time I was carrying so many frozen feeling I felt numb all the time. When I decided to face the emotional and physical traumas of my past I thought that if talked about them I could free myself from them. What I didn't understand was that by letting go of the past I was allowing those frozen feeling to thaw. So anything that triggered a memory, consciously or unconscious, of the event that cause them would bring up that emotion as keenly as the day I first felt it.

I now understand that this is why I have identified so strongly with the people in New Orleans who were left behind. I know what it is like to have your world shattered in an instant through no fault of your own. I know what it is like to be poor and be treated like it's a lack of moral fiber on your part.

My anger is directed at the people in charge who failed the people of New Orleans. One thing I cannot abided is people responsible for the lives of others failing to do their duty. This government failed at so many levels it would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic. Some may say my anger is useless and self-indulgent but it is the only thing I have to give to the people of New Orleans that is really useful. Our collective anger is what will keep this from ever happening again.

"I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people."
-George W Bush

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Why Such A Lack Of Leadership?

It isn't easy picking George Bush's worst moment last week. Was it his first go at addressing the crisis Wednesday, when he came across as cool to the point of uncaring? Was it when he said that he didn't "think anybody expected" the New Orleans Levees to give way, though that very possibility had been forecast for years? Was it when he arrived in Mobile, Ala., a full four days after the storm made landfall, and praised his hapless Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director, Michael D. Brown, whose disaster credentials seemed to consist of once being the commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association? "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," said the President. Or was it that odd moment when he promised to rebuild Mississippi Senator Trent Lott's house- a gesture that must have sounded astonishingly tone-deaf to the homeless black citizens still trapped in the post-apocalyptic water world of New Orleans. "Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house-he's lost his entire house (Note: one of two house that he owns.)," cracked Bush, "there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."
-Matthew Cooper, Time Magazine September 12, 2005

Why such a lack of leadership? Because we elect politicians and expect them to be leaders. A politician's main job is to get elected and he or she does this with the help of a political party. His or her second job is to help other members of that political party get elected. A politician does this by making decisions that will help him or her in this quest to keep his party in office. George Bush is good at the job of getting elected or he would not be the President of the United States. But sometimes a President is faced with a crisis during his term of office that calls on him stop thinking like a politician, "How will what I decide to do impact me and my party?" and to make the leap to thinking like a leader,"How will what I decide to do impact the citizens of my country and the rest of the world?"

Let's see how many other Presidents made the leap from politician to leader starting with one of the worst:

Warren G. Harding (1921-1923) "Less government in business and more business in government."
Crisis: His administration.
Ahh, Warren- always a politician and never a leader. His administration was one of the most scandal ridden in American political history. He put his cronies in key administrative positions and they used their power to line their own pockets. The biggest scandal will go down in history as "Teapot Dome." Teapot Dome, WY was where naval oil reserves were stored. Harding's U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall, took a bribe from Harry Sinclair of Sinclair Oil to allow Sinclair illegal access to these oil fields. Harding died before knowledge of the scandals reached the public.

Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929) Known as "Silent Cal."
Crisis: The stock market.
Did nothing to stop the what was then know as "Coolidge prosperity." A prosperity that, unchecked, lead to the crash of the stock market and the Great Depression.

Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Crisis: Stock Market Crash and start of the Great Depression.
The man never had a change-was the scapegoat for the sins of the previous administrations.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)"We have nothing to fear but fear itself."
Crisis: The Great Depression and World War II.
One of the best politicians to ever hold office and a great leader. Used his political talents to push though legislation that help to pull this country out of the depression. His leadership qualities kept the country's hopes alive and helped get the country, still reeling from the attack on Pearl Harbor at the end of 1941, ready to fight a war quicker than anyone anticipated.

Harry Truman (1945-1953) "The buck stops here."
Crisis: End of World War II and and start of Korean War.
Ordered the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His Secretary of State came up with the Marshall Plan which helped with the economic recovery of western Europe after the war. Ordered supplies to be flown into an isolated West Berlin after Russia closed all land access to the city. Fired General Douglas MacArthur, head of American forces in Korea, when MacArthur publicly disagreed with his policy. This was a gutsy move since MacArthur was very popular at the time.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) "America is today the strongest, most influential, and most productive nation in the world."
Crisis: McCarthyism,
Eisenhower did nothing to stop what became a witch hunt (McCarthyism) for suspected communists in America. Many people were wrongly accused of being communist on hearsay evidence and their civil and constitutional rights ignored in the anti-communists desire to root out any and all communists.

John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)"Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country."
Crisis: Civil Rights and the Cuban Missile Crisis
Kennedy is the perfect example of a politician becoming a leader. His slow reaction when it came to Civil Rights was because all his decisions were based on how they would impact his ability to get votes in the south. During the Cuba Missile Crisis when American and Russia were on the brink of war his decisions and actions got the Russians to back down.

(continued tomorrow)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

d. All Of The Above

Extra Credit Pop Quiz

Question One:
What was the reason for the government's slow response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?

a. Incompetence
b. Politics
c. Racism

Question Two:
How will George Bush try to draw attention away from the government's slow response to Hurricane Katrina?

a. Say we should not focus on who's to blame but move forward
b. Turn visits with hurricane survivors into photo ops
c. Try to ramrod his nominee for Chief Supreme Court Justice through the Senate

Question Three:
Who described Hurricane Katrina as "the wrath of God?"

a. al Qaeda
b. The Religious Right
c. The head of the Salvation Army

Question Four:
Which of the following is collecting money for disaster relief and will never get a penny from me?

a. Pat Robertson
b. Salvation Army
c. Any group belonging to the Religious Right

Personal Note:
I talked to my brother again this afternoon. It seems I misheard where Lisa was sent after she was evacuated from New Orleans. She wasn't sent to Omaha but to a military base in Oklahoma. How I got Omaha mixed up with Oklahoma I'll never know. Anyhow, it doesn't matter now because she's not in Oklahoma either anymore. Some friends from Houston, TX drove to Oklahoma to pick her up and take her back to their house. My brother said Lisa still sounds like she is doing OK. This is good to hear but I'm worry about how she will be in two weeks when things have settled down a little.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Aftermath Of The Storm

Army Corps says closing gaps in New Orleans levee.

Some stay to care for animals.

Some returning home, briefly .

After Failures, Government Officials Play Blame Game.

White House Enacts a Plan to Ease Political Damage.

The last two headlines really piss me off but they don't surprise me. Those bastards were not thinking about the people left behind in New Orleans before the hurricane struck why would they be thinking about them now?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I Know She's Bound For Heaven

I have just got off the phone with my brother. His wife is from Louisiana and she still has family there. They mostly live in the northern part of the state so they were not affected by Katrina. There was one family member living in New Orleans- her grandaughter's mother. Due to personal problems "Lisa" had left her daughter in San Diego with her grandmother (my sister-in-law) and moved back to Louisiana. The last time my sister-in-law or brother heard from her was about a week ago when she called to tell them that she was waiting out the hurricane in the Superdome. You can imagine what this week has been like for my brother and his wife.

Today Lisa called saying she was safe in Omaha, Nebraska where the government had sent her. She said she was happy to be alive and that she was angry that the media has not said anything about what really went on inside the Superdome during that week.

I also talked to one of my sister's today and she told me she saw a man being interview who had also been in the Superdome and he said people had arrived there in three waves. The first group were the people who came before the hurricane hit. The second group arrived after the hurricane passed and the levee broke. The last to come were "the bad people."

(This next part is very graphic and horrifying. If you are easily upset stop now.)

My brother then told me in a disbelieving, helpless voice that Lisa told them that the media were not telling people the whole truth about the rapes and murders. She said that some of the raped were nine and ten year old girls who then had their throats cut. My sister-in-law asked Lisa if this was a story she heard from other people or something she had seen herself. Lisa said this was something she seen (I think she meant she had seen the bodies-God I hope so). She also said that every evening when the sun went down and night came they were left in pitch black darkness. That is when she was the most terrified because she was not sure if she would live until the next morning.

As my brother told me these things I started shaking and felt weak and nauseous. I never imagined that we as a people could sink so low. At first I did not think I should write about this because it is so shocking and sickening. But I am tired of some people saying (which they have done on call-in talk shows across the country) that "those people" should have evacuated when they were told to, insinuating that they are responsible for what has happened to them. Tell that to those dead children. Tell it to their mothers.

This morning I listened to the "experts" as they discussed what needs to be done to rebuild New Orleans. I thought that one of the first things they should do is tear down the Superdome and build new housing for the poor. Now I think they should burn it down and then sown the ground with salt. It is a place of evil.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Re: Camelot Post

Sometimes my brain makes a connection that I don't understand at the time. Yesterday's post was one of them. The words to the song Camelot kept weaving though the images that were streaming through my mind. After I finished writing my post I wondered what it meant. Why the song Camelot? Does it represent my loss of faith in my own country? What is Camelot- the city of New Orleans? Who is singing it- me or the people of New Orleans?

This morning when I woke-up I had my answers. First, the song Camelot is from the successful Broadway musical of the same name. It is based on the tale of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. Camelot is the name of the Arthur's mythical kingdom. A kingdom of utter perfection as Arthur tells us in the song Camelot. The irony is that Arthur does not know his perfect kingdom is an illusion about to come to an end.

So what does Camelot represent in my post? My country and the clash between who we think we are and the reality of what we are. We think we are a country that can do no wrong. We think we are a country that can save the world. We think we are a country that can handle anything throw at it. We think we are a country that is just in its dealings with people less fortunate than ourselves. We think we are a country that always does what is right. Well, we do, we can't, we aren't, and we don't. We are so busy believing in the myth of America we no longer see the reality of it. We strive for these things that we believe about America and Americans but we will never become those things until we admit what is wrong. The reality of who and what we are doesn't even come close the myth we have created. Camelot is the myth. New Orleans is the reality. An intensified reality but reality none the less.

Who is singing Camelot? Is it me or the people of New Orleans? Surprise, its none of us. Now that I remember who sang it in the musical I see why this song popped into my head. I hear President Bush singing those lyrics over those shocking images. Bush is the biggest believer in the American myth. He and his people are the ones who think image (illusion) is far more important than reality. There he was yesterday walking around in psudo-workclothes with his shirt sleeves rolled-up. The message he was sending? Hi, my name is George Bush. I am your president and I'm ready to get to work! The message I received? Hi, my name is George Bush. I'm not a real president but I play one on TV. Where the hell was he five days ago?

Now, I am not saying Americans don't step up to the plate when disaster strikes. We do, as all the money, people, and supplies heading to the hurricane disaster area show. We do and so does the rest of the world as we have heard on the news broadcasts. I am surprised by just who has offered to send us help, money, supplies and I thank them. We are great in a crisis but after the crisis is over we seem to walk away thinking that we have again shown we are a country that can only do good. Not once does anyone think to ask our government if something we did or didn't do helped to create the crisis in the first place.

As you can tell I am still angry about what has happened in New Orleans. I see now that it is partly because I too believed somewhat in the American myth. I think as I sit and watch the reports on television, How can this be happening in America? I feel shame. I feel rage. I feel sadness. I feel frustration. I feel hopelessness. I just don't understand how we reached this point or why.

Today I am going to try and find comfort in this Zen saying :

If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

Note: I've tweaked this post since I first posted it to fix spelling mistakes and make some things clearer.

Friday, September 02, 2005


It's true! It's true! The crown has made it clear.
The climate must be perfect all the year.

I see the president staring out of a airplane window at the devastation that is New Orleans below him. He turns and looks directly at the camera and something about the way his shoulders are hunched up under his ears and large head gives him the look of an evil troll.

A law was made a distant moon ago here:
July and August cannot be too hot.
And there's a legal limit to the snow here
In Camelot

I see mothers carrying half-naked babies. The babies heads lay listlessly and silently against their mother's shoulders.

The winter is forbidden till December
And exits March the second on the dot.
By order, summer lingers through September
In Camelot

I see people looting, searching for food and clean drinking water.

Camelot! Camelot!
I know it sounds a bit bizarre,
But in Camelot, Camelot
That's how conditions are.

I see thousands and thousands of people packed tightly together outside the Superdome. The news announcer describes the conditions inside as horrific.

The rain may never fall till after sundown.
By eight, the morning fog must disappear.

I see hospital patients lying on gurneys being rushed to waiting helicopters through pouring rain. The rain has plastered their hospital gowns tightly to their bodies.

In short, there's simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
In Camelot

I see young men carrying rifles riding around in stolen vehicles.

Camelot! Camelot!
I know it gives a person pause,
But in Camelot, Camelot
Those are the legal laws

I hear reports of assaults, rapes, murders and beatings.

The snow may never slush upon the hillside.
By nine p.m. the moonlight must appear.

I hear reports that the police do all they can during the day and hide at night.

In short, there's simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
In Camelot

I see an old woman sitting in a wheelchair outside the Superdome wearing only a short hospital gown. Her left arm is reaching out for help while her head is thrown back and her mouth open in a silent scream.

In short, there's simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
In Camelot

I write the President. I write my congressional representatives. I send money to two different relief agencies. The only thing left to do is cry.

And I do that too.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Waiting for a Leader

The news out of the hurricane disaster area is getting worse and worse. The size of the region impacted and the estimated length of time for recovery is mindboggling. My God, they are talking about shutting down the city of New Orleans for up to four months!

Then, in the airspace over New Orleans, Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No! It's Super- oh, it's just a plane. President Bush came, saw, and made a lame speech.

After it was over a New York Times editorial had this to say:
George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end...And nothing about the president's demeanor yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.

A pretty good description of what I saw. What is wrong with this man?