Saturday, March 1, 2008

Let's See What We Can Do

I'd like to put in a plug for a blog I discovered after the blogger left a comment to one of my posts. Godless Liberal Homo. I like this blog because the posts I've read so far contain practical, easy to access information on actions people can take to try to make our voices heard. I've also discovered that "libhom" is one of two people who started the March 19 Iraq War Blogsworm. Please check out both sites. These people aren't just ranting, they're actually doing things and helping others to take action.

Since I've started reading blogs and then began to work on my own, I've gained a renewed commitment to keeping informed and to giving thought to what I can do to make a difference politically and socially. I am so encouraged that it is from other people that I've gained this renewed energy and not just from some left-leaning publication. The information from alternative press sources is important and needed but I also need the human connection to regular people who, like me, are fed up.
About ten years ago, a friend of mine, who's done a lot of work with sustainable farming in South America, said that people worldwide were beginning to feel that a new revolution would be fought via the internet. I hope enough of us are willing to fight.

If the truth be told, I actually hate politics. It takes a strong effort on my part to stay informed and not be lazy about analyzing that information. It's often deeply painful for me to witness our government's actions and their impact, particularly on people and our planet. I often feel paralyzed, angry and despondent. I have a dear friend, a man, who frequently cries with frustration and shame over the actions of our government. I have a beautiful, brilliant, loving daughter of 20 who is gay and wishes to attend law school in Canada and hopes to stay there because a potential marriage to the young woman she loves will not only be recognized nationally but will be as legal as any marriage can be.

The last eight years have been hellish for those of us who value freedom and human rights issues; who appose war, who don't like to see the religous doctrine of the radical right take over public policy, who want to see the needs of ordinary people put back on the agenda. Political analysis is not my forte' and I don't pretend it is. I just want to make the contributions of an ordinary citizen; of one who loves her country but deplores the actions of its government. For the Bush administration has not only not acted on issues of importance to its citizens, it has downright acted against the interests, needs and freedom of its people. It has lied to and manipulated us and has given us nothing more than a very bitter taste in our mouths.

I know this is a very serious and sober post. It's hard for me to be funny about these topics, though I admire those who can laugh at it on a regular basis and I do often laugh with them. I'm laughing less and less, though, I'll tell you. It's becoming less and less humorous to me that my president is not only dumb but downright stupid. I guess it would seem more funny if the stakes weren't so high. I often wonder if the neocons hand plucked this stupid, ridiculous man to represent their hateful agenda, in an effort to take the edge off and distract us from what's behind the "lights on; nobody home" persona. Political satire has its place but political action does its part.

Pagan Sphinx

Friday, February 29, 2008

Children's Book Art: Making The World More Beautiful

"But there is still one more thing I have to do," she said. "I have to do something to make the world more beautiful.
~ Excerpt and illustration from Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

Click on image to go to the Jan Brett Home Page

Illustration from Sylvester And The Magic Pebble
by William Steig

Illustration from In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

“…we can get away with things in children’s books that nobody in the adult world ever can because the assumption is that the audience is too innocent to pick it up. And in truth they’re the only audience that does pick it up.”
- Maurice Sendak

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Gray And Famous

Below: Susan Sontag
Left: Andy Warhol

Left: you're really cool if you know who this guy is!

Above: actress Diane Keaton

Singer Emmylou Harris

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Live Free Or Dye

I spotted the first silver strands on my dark head when I was about 28. When I gave birth to my second child, at the age of 30, the strands were becoming more prominent. I didn't mind it until about two years later when the strands really began taking over. I was only 32 and I felt old. So...I colored...and colored...for years. I always maintained that I would stop when I was 45 and, alas, I did. Three years later my hair is, I'm guessing, about 75% gray.

I like the color: a shiny silver that looks bright white on top in sunlight (as in the photo). I get a lot of compliments on it, albeit sometimes backhanded. Other women sometimes say things like: oh, aren't you brave! Or, it must of been hell to grow out (which it was). Interestingly enough, men are the most complimentary and supportive. But to my other silver-haired female counterparts, I'm just another comrade.

In Anne Kreamer's book Going Gray she discusses a test of her sexual appeal to men. She set up two accounts on In one she displays a photo of herself with colored hair; in the other a photo with gray hair. She noted with surprise that the gray-haired photo received twice as many responses from men as the colored hair pic. Anne Kreamer, like I, speculates about why this may be. I think it's because middle-aged men are not the shallow dudes they were in their youth. I see this in my male friends, my ex-husband and my current partner. They value honesty and colored hair is anything but honest. Besides, most artificial color is too harsh and hardly looks natural at all; especially when brunettes try to find a version of their natural hair color, as I did. I doubt I fooled anyone.

Everywhere I go I look for women (and men sometimes) who, like me, wear their hair the way nature intended: gray, silver, platinum or salt-and-pepper. Of course, in my neck of the woods there is a disporportionate number of women who don't color. The hilltowns of Franklin County, further down the road into Greenfield and further still to what we fondly call The Happy Valley, aka The Five College Area (Mount Holyoke, Smith, Amherst and Hampshire colleges and the University of Massachusett), there are many proud silver heads to be found. So many, in fact, that I hardly stand out.

Not so in other places I've travelled: San Francisco, Zurich, London, Lisbon and Montreal, among them. Gray hair on a woman under 65 seemed a rarity to me. In these places, I did stand out. In my home country of Portugal, my well-intentioned middle-aged cousins haven't passed up opportunities to encourage me to resume coloring my hair. In that country, it seems as if there is a hair salon on every street corner, (right next to a bakery). It is their husbands who tell me flat out in front of their wives, not to color my hair; that it looks fine the way it is.

So, does it matter to me what the women think of my hair? Sure. Will it change my resolve to keep my hair natural? Nope. I'll just hold my head a little highter and let my freak flag fly, as David Crosby once sang in Almost Cut My Hair.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

love is a place by ee cummings

Evening at Sunset
a painting by ee cummings
(click on image to see more of his art)

love is a place
& through this place of love move

(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a word
& in this word yes live

(skillfully curled)
all worlds.

ee cummings

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