Monday, January 25, 2010

Not So High On Arrival

Out of the blue, this book came in the mail from Amazon. High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips. I didn’t order it, and I don’t want it. I'm not high on its arrival. I contacted Amazon and was told me the book’s arrival in my box was a mistake, but they don’t want it back.

So now I own this book. I heard it reviewed on NPR but only remember that Mackenzie had sex with her father. Which reminded me of that book The Kiss by Katheryn Harrison, a memoir of incest. The Kiss was both revolting and engrossing. Katheryn Harrison was like a voyeur, standing outside her own doorway, luxuriating in her own demise. The memoir was beautifully written, but I don’t ever want to read about incest again.

I wondered, after reading the book, if incest is more common than I think. I remembered how when I was a girl, there was this one girl in my class, Resa (not her real name), who was beyond mean. She was one of those beautiful little girls who would torture the uglies in the class, or rather, she would inspire others to torture the uglies.

Funny, how I never noticed the boys picking on each other in that way. Instead they held magnifying glasses over flies and watched their wings burn. Maybe that’s what the mean girls did in their own ways.

I was never friends with Resa, but one year, she did invite me to her birthday party. We were in fifth grade. All I remember about the party was that her father gave her tons of boxes of skimpy lingerie and sexy nighties. All of the nighties were lime green. She slipped into one and flitted around the living room, looking like a lunar moth as she waved her skinny arms in the air.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


A few years ago, I read this book by John Perkins that said that our country was turning into a corporatocracy. His book, though a great read, read like a piece of conspiracy theory. But it was an easy and fun read, and the logic of the book stuck with me. In short, he said the US is run by corporate greed, and its corporations abuse 3rd world countries in unspeakable ways. Not a new theory, but the book was interesting and extreme. Of course, of course, I know others have said this in other ways, but Perkins' book made this theory into a thrilling novel (yep, an economic thriller).

Ever since then, I have seen evidence of all that he said and more.

But one thing I didn't realize until reading the article below (I'll excerpt it and give a link) is that our new Supreme Court ruling has invited a kind of global corporate influence into our elections. In other words we could feel the impact of Chinese corporations or Saudi or . . .

Please check it out.

"The Court's decision is far, far more dangerous to U.S. democracy. Think: Manchurian candidates.

I'm losing sleep over the millions — or billions — of dollars that could flood into our elections from ARAMCO, the Saudi Oil corporation's U.S. unit; or from the maker of "New Order" fashions, the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Or from Bin Laden Construction corporation. Or Bin Laden Destruction Corporation.

Right now, corporations can give loads of loot through PACs. While this money stinks (Barack Obama took none of it), anyone can go through a PAC's federal disclosure filing and see the name of every individual who put money into it. And every contributor must be a citizen of the USA.

But under today's Supreme Court ruling that corporations can support candidates without limit, there is nothing that stops, say, a Delaware-incorporated handmaiden of the Burmese junta from picking a Congressman or two with a cache of loot masked by a corporate alias.

Candidate Barack Obama was one sharp speaker, but he would not have been heard, and certainly would not have won, without the astonishing outpouring of donations from two million Americans. It was an unprecedented uprising-by-PayPal, overwhelming the old fat-cat sources of funding.

Well, kiss that small-donor revolution goodbye. Under the Court's new rules, progressive list serves won't stand a chance against the resources of new "citizens" such as CNOOC, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Maybe UBS (United Bank of Switzerland), which faces U.S. criminal prosecution and a billion-dollar fine for fraud, might be tempted to invest in a few Senate seats. As would XYZ Corporation, whose owners remain hidden by "street names."

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Supreme Court Rejects Campaign Spending Limits

The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend
freely to support or oppose candidates for president and
Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in
federal campaigns.

The court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that
said corporations can be prohibited from using money from
their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads. The
decision almost certainly will also allow labor unions to
participate more freely in campaigns and threatens similar
limits imposed by 24 states.

The justices also struck down part of the landmark
McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and
corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election

Read More:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Today I noticed there is yet another beef recall.
Just a little more E. coli.

I was getting my hair cut,
and the stylist asked me
exactly what does E. coli do to you.
Besides maybe kill you? I asked.
Yeah, she said. Besides that.
What are the other symptoms?

My Dream of Oprah

I had a dream that Oprah decided to start a news channel
That would go up against Fox.
I woke up wishing it were so.
I woke up thinking
Only Oprah can save us now.
Jim said I should write her.
I've been thinking about it.
Dear Oprah,
I had a dream.
You were the queen of TV.
You owned your own newsroom.
And all of the good people were regulars on your show.
Nelson Mandela, Wangari Maathai, Paul Farmer . . .

And at the opening of each episode,
Someone would say
To the beef companies:
I will not ever
Eat that shit.
(Okay, so they'd say it eloquently.)
And everyone would stop eating it.
Just like that.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti and U.S. Aid

A few days ago I was listening to the news as I flipped channels, and I heard one reporter ask if our US policies (in the past) were somewhat responsible for the poverty in Haiti. What policy would that be? The phone rang, and I turned off the news. Below --a really good article that answers that question.

What a sad proverb . . . When you are poor, everything can be blamed on you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Dangerous Kiss

I've been reworking my entry from ages ago about the dangerous kiss. I think I'm getting closer to it now. Maybe.

I will enter it again. See how it works, and if. I already published it in Gargoyle, but I'm still not quite happy with it. Not sure about the ending, I guess.

The Dangerous Kiss

Strange things have been happening lately. How can I explain? I don't know if I want to admit this, but I am beginning to fear my Gmail. Gmail has this sidebar, and whatever information I type into a letter, Gmail replicates in the form of ads. Or that's what it used to do. Lately it has taken up replicating what I haven't typed. It has been replicating the contents of my innermost psyche. I am beginning to think it is reading my mind.

Today, for example, it says: Dangerous Kissing Tip-make him wish for more. I haven't been writing about kissing at all. Have I been thinking of it? I don't know, but I am now. Such kisses, too! How can I not want to know the dangerous kissing tip? Can Gmail give me the tip?

As soon as I click on the link to the dangerous kissing tip, I read the lines: Is he losing interest? Learn the secret psychology of getting a man hooked for good. Is he losing interest? Now I am worried. But then I read that I can learn how to understand men at last. And how to beat them at their own games!

I feel better, even if I don't know how to win. Victory is assured. I envision men kneeling before me. But I still want to know about that dangerous kissing tip. What happened to it? I hate to admit this, but I have a kissing fetish. I want to learn all about the dangerous kisses that wander freely in the world.

I do a search for the dangerous tip, but it doesn't surface. I find a site that displays all the types of kisses one can master, from the never-forget-me kiss to the tell-all kiss to the kiss-that-can-kill. I'm not a fan of vampires. But a never-forget-me kiss sounds nice. I click on it and the site asks for my SSN, my birth date, and the secret ingredients of my life. No, I tell myself. No. I can't tell the computer any more than it already knows, no matter how much I want to learn of the various kisses.

Already the computer knows me better than I know myself. It knows what is missing in my life. And how much I need it, with or without a kiss. But then I pause and think, I would really like a few kissing tips. I bet there is a dangerous kissing tip somewhere on this site. Maybe if I searched just a little longer. This is a secure site, after all. I can see by the icon at the bottom. No one will know what I decide. Or only he will know.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Genetically Modified Food

I have an obsession with the health news. I know that others have obsessions with the sports page, the headlines, the entertainment. I think I'm the only one I know who reads the health news with any regularity. It's always changing. One day eggs are good for you, and the next they will kill you. One day salt is bad, and the next it is good for a select few. And on and on.

But there are ongoing issues. And I do find them interesting.

Big on the news lately (or the news that I read anyhow) is the role of GM foods. How safe are they? Will they save the world? Or just make Monsanto own every seed in the world? I get asked this by friends who know I read up on this stuff. And the answer is always, the GM foods aren't tested. Why not? Well . . .

Monsanto has always had so much bad press. Lately, there are suits over it's patenting of seeds. Creepy and interesting . . .

I guess I first became aware of Monsanto when the U.S. started allowing the company to sell bovine hormones in this country. Of course, Canada and Europe didn't buy the Monsanto line that the bovine hormones were not only fine for you, but beneficial. My mother didn't buy it either, so I heard a lot about it. So, is our conventional milk bad for us? And if you buy organic milk, what about the rest of the dairy you eat?

Then there's the yucky Monsanto product, aspartame. (At least aspartame was a Monsanto product. I'm not sure if it still is.) Whenever I see someone drinking a diet soda, I want to say, STOP! So odd to think that Donald Rumsfeld was a part of the party of men who helped get apartame approved. But the stuff has really bad news attached to it. Plus a lot of studies say it makes you fat ( or rather, increases your appetite), so if you drink it to stay thin, well . . .

Of course Monsanto likes to claim that their GM foods will save the world by producing drought or pest-resistant crops. Miracle crops. But I'm not sure the evidence is in their favor. There are a lot of studies that suggest conventional ag. techniques are, in the end, the best for everyone. And there are some sad cases. The cotton farmers in India, for example

And what about the risk of these genetically modified seeds mixing with the native seeds?

And then Monsanto did argue that Agent Orange, or dioxin, wasn't harmful. Didn't they?

But then, you can always think you don't eat GM food. But are you sure? Even your vitamins contain GM food, as do so many other items you might not think of . . . And remember, they aren't labeled as such because the corporations don't want to alert you to what you might be buying, I guess. You have to scroll down on the entry below to get to a list. Or you can lookat the pdf for a more complete shopping guide.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Motherhood. I guess that's what you call it. A kind of constant alert in my system, a low-grade alarm waiting to go off.

My daughter is in the Dominican Republic doing research for the week. So yesterday I'm driving around doing my errands, and I hear on NPR that there's been a huge earthquake in Haiti, that the quake was felt in the DR and beyond. And there's a tsunami watch in effect for the Dominican Republic and . . .

Maybe you'd think I'd start praying or doing what my friend, Ann, calls--sending good thoughts. Instead my mind goes into one long list of swear words and doesn't stop for the next few hours. Not when I'm standing in line at the Giant Eagle, waiting for a script to be filled, not when I'm smiling and talking to the librarian, not when I'm picking up the dry cleaning. I have this awful feeling that I need to puke . . . the feeling I get when fear sits right at the bottom of the gut and rises.

I think about those CDs I listened to once by Pema Chodron who said--when you are afraid-- to think of all the people who are in the same place you are. So I think of all those mothers out there fearing and worrying for their daughters or sons. Pema said: think how they feel just as you do.

I think of them. I think of them feeling like they want to puke.

And I remember how my sister and I once "translated" that Emily D. poem about I'm nobody. We had a version that went something like. I think I wanna puke. Do you?/ Then there's two of us/ But we don't want to bother you nice folks here./ We don't want to disturb you lunch./ Don't mind us. We'll just go out back and throw up.

Oh yeah. Kid humor, I guess you call it. A little too true sometimes.