Saturday, February 2, 2008


David Letterman is increasingly on fire with his political commentary. The returned writers are giving him gold. In his monologue on Thursday night, he said "So we find out today that John McCain has been endorsed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. (pause) Arnold indicated his approval using primitive sign language from his cage."

Later, in honor of it being Gunner Dick's birthday, he read Top Ten Things Overhead at Dick Cheney's Birthday Party:

That's nice -- a card from Osama
He must be happy -- he's sneering from ear to ear
MMMMM! Chocolate cake with Lipitor frosting
Dick, you don't look a day over 93
Hey, his daughter is making out with Condoleeza
Instead of a pinata, we're gonna beat a Gitmo inmate
How about a rousing chorus of "For He's a Miserable Old Prick"?

(Guess which one of the above was MY favorite?)

And from two nights earlier, Dave airs NBC's "promotion" of American Gladiators plus the State of the Union Address (this has appeared on other blogs, but is too funny to not share here in case you've missed it).

("Regionalism and Religiosity" from Strange Maps)

Rummaging through Strange Maps (which I've plugged here before) turned up a couple of gems this week. The first, copied above, is a map of Regionalism and Religiosity of the United States. This is a must-have for activists, analysts, and cultural commenters alike.

The second map, designed by David Michael Miller, I would have sent immediately to my little brother Bill, a blues musician who had his own band (Bone Dance), had just appeared on an anthology album before he died, and whose favorite joke was to drawl during a performance "I'm dyslexic, and when I went to an abandoned crossroads in Mississippi to sell my soul for a blues career, I wound up signing it over to Santa."

The map, Birthplaces of Mississippi Blues Artists, was fascinating to me beyond the blues aspect. Much of my ancestry came through Mississippi, and likewise African-American history in the U.S. always leads back there (or South Carolina). Strange Maps has this to say about the map:

"Mississippi is the poorest of all states, but fortunately also has a happier distinction: It’s the place where most of the quintessentially American music genres originated, from blues and jazz to rock ‘n roll. An amazing accomplishment for a state that has under three million inhabitants, but it’s worth noting that most of the musical history of these genres was written by Mississippians outside of their native state. This is due to the Great Migration following the railroads north to Chicago, an exodus that continued throughout the first half of the 20th century. This mainly black exodus was caused as much by plummeting cotton prices as by the contiuned disenfranchisement of former slaves. It resulted in Chicago’s status as the capital of jazzs and blues music (and Detroit as a major centre for soul)."

("Birthplaces of Mississippi Blues Artists" by David Michael Miller)

My friend Mara in Seattle has sent me a sneak preview of vedic astrologer Joni Patry's predictions for 2008 before they appear at her website, Galactic Center. I'm including them below for your edification.

Predictions 2008

This will be a miraculous year for change and transformation. The planet will never be the same after these transitions take place on planet earth this year. It is a time of new beginnings. This is a year of many turning points. Planet Earth is an extremely volatile place to be. The duality has never been more obvious. But the quest for truth and humanity is on the rise. Consciousness is changing. Spirituality is a focus. This is a year of awakening. We are merging with the awareness of the Great Seers.

The Presidential race will predominate the year. There is a definite shift in the type of leadership needed for our country. People want truth. The government will create a better world to live in. This year, there is the changing of the guard and this will disrupt the status quo. The economy will be on a rise this year of 2008, but be prepared for the bottom to drop out in 2009. The transitions in the change of administration will create chaos in the economy for the USA.

Planet Jupiter in the sign of Sagittarius indicates spiritual awareness. The aspect of Ketu to Jupiter gives an interest in mysticism and metaphysical subjects. We all need to know why we are here. Jupiter in Sagittarius produces religious fanatics, who fight for their causes. Righteousness and justice face off on the political scene. The physical world is out of balance and is creating havoc on humanity for the abuses to this physical planet. Over population and greed are what have fueled the world and the planet will reverberate and shake due to this. Planet Uranus will oppose Saturn causing a huge wake up. There will produce more natural disasters than ever before. Mars opposes Pluto/Jupiter indicating explosions of anger. When there is a profuse amount of anger in this world, planet Earth begins to shake producing major earth quakes and destruction. The injustices in this world will surface. Injustice produces the rise of anger, producing a very volatile condition for this planet.

Expect the unexpected! There will be very strange and violent attacks. People seem to be losing their minds. Between 02/26 and 3/14 Uranus will cross over the eclipse degree point that occurred in September indicating massive explosions and shake ups.

Saturn and Ketu in Leo are fiery and dry, producing destruction with fire. Next July and August, Mars and Saturn will be together in Leo, producing a condition that is excessively hot and dry, creating an environment for fire and war. August is especially dangerous around the time of the solar eclipse. Earth quakes and extreme weather disturb the planet.

The time around the elections looks very turbulent. Uranus opposes Saturn indicating sudden changes that awaken a new awareness. The political shift to a new administration will be a surprise and will immediately create a new feeling and direction. Expect the unexpected!

The economy seems to be improving amongst all the chaos. Mars is the indicator of real estate. Jupiter and Pluto aspecting Mars indicates a shift in direction of the real estate market. Values will begin to rise creating a strong surge in the market. Changes in the economy will be positive for productivity with the real estate markets worldwide.

The American government will take charge, and make huge changes that improve the economy dramatically. Changes in laws and regulations produce more prosperity. Jupiter is the indicator of prosperity and being in Sagittarius gives it great strength producing a prosperous world.

Groups preaching prosperity through spirituality will predominate, and take over the world in a storm. People are looking for the mystical seeking out the miraculous. This is the true awakening in the world NOW. The defining point here is the need for ego gratification, or true spiritual enlightenment. Inspirational leaders who are in it for the greed will make a major fall, and their ulterior motives will be revealed. But those who inspire others to achieve their highest good will shine.

Proof of other worlds and aliens will change perception and consciousness. This will be the real turn about. The government cannot deny this anymore.

All these realizations are birthing a new consciousness on the planet. Spiritual organizations with the need to change consciousness will grow and begin to awaken a new world.

(Sand sculpture by Jim Denevan)

By way of Everyone Forever (a wonderful place to track down what artists around the world are doing), I discovered the work of Jim Denevan. His bio reads "Jim Denevan makes freehand drawings in sand. At low tide on wide beaches Jim searches the shore for a wave tossed stick. After finding a good stick and composing himself in the near and far environment Jim draws-- laboring up to 7 hours and walking as many as 30 miles. The resulting sand drawing is made entirely freehand w/ no measuring aids whatsoever. From the ground, these drawn environments are experienced as places. Places to explore and be, and to see relation and distance. For a time these tangible specific places exist in the indeterminate environment of ocean shore. From high above the marks are seen as isolated phenomena, much like clouds, rivers or buildings. Soon after Jim's motions and marks are completed water moves over and through, leaving nothing." Two of his pieces appear above and below.

(Sand sculpture by Jim Denevan)

Hillel, the nondenominational Jewish organization which has been the main source for Jewish community on college campuses, has just released a professional resource guide for Jews on campus, the first ever to be published by a Jewish student group.

"The resource guide is designed to help Hillel professionals reach out to and engage the LGBTQ Jewish student population and provides tools for welcoming and working with this growing population."

D'ror Chankin-Gould, editor of The Hillel LGBTQ Resource Guide and Senior Jewish Campus Service Corps, stated "There exists a common belief that religious groups are not open to the LGBTQ community. This guide is helping Hillel break down barriers and cultivate an inclusive, welcoming home for all Jewish students."

The guide is available for reading and download at the Hillel site. It's a damned good resource, including the glossary in which each term is differentiated as being pertinent to gender identity, sexual orientation, or both.

(Wetlands planting by the Earth Conservation Corps, Anacostia, Washington, DC)

Last year I saw a PBS documentary about the Earth Conservation Corps, an extraordinary group of inner-city youth, black and poor from Anacostia, Washington D.C.'s blackest and poorest neighborhoods, who are working to clean up the "forgotten" Anacostia River, one of America's filthiest rivers. During the course of filming the documentary, one of the most energetic and charismatic of these young men was killed, a victim of random violence. I'll never forget how his colleagues individually and collectively dealt with his senseless loss, and found their way back to their underappreciated work.

Now I discover that Holly Jones has written a series of dispatches from working with and observing this group, available online at McSweeney's as Dispatches from the Anacostia.

The documentary was recently re-broadcast as part of Bill Moyers Journal and can be viewed there, as well as more information about the ECC and Anacostia. You can also read directly about the Earth Conservation Corps at their website, and, if you got it, send some money their way.

I, of course, haunt Liza Cowan's new blog, See Saw, for all the forays it offers into culture, history and art. My Google cache would reveal recent searches for Dolley Madison, Charles Eames, mourning jewelry, and a look-up for the meaning of "synecdoche" [A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for the general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing made from it (as steel for sword). From the Middle English synodoches, from Medieval Latin synodoche, alteration of Latin synecdochē, from Greek sunekdokhē, from sunekdekhesthai, to take on a share of : sun-, syn- + ekdekhesthai, to understand (ek-, out of + dekhesthai, to take).]

This week there are some photobooth artifacts of Liza herself, at ages 13, 20, and 25 or thereabouts. These accompany the opening this week of Nakki Goranin's show at Pine Street Art Works titled American Photobooth. I have to confess, I've become a bit obsessed with the gorgeous old woman and her dog whose image is used on the PSAW ad above. I really want to know who she was, and wish I had the chance to know her. I've actually dreamed about her, and had imaginary conversations with her (while sneaking morsels from my plate to her bright-eyed little pooch).

("Snow at Inokashira" [Inokashira no yuki], woodcut on paper by Kawase Hasui, 1928)


Anonymous said...

That was a fascinating read. All of it.

You are too too good to me Maggie. Thank you so much for making me a regular on your blog. I'm honored.

I wrote a long reply to the last two installments of Ginny Bates, but I was writing on a borrowed computer and the comment disappeared into the ether. I just can't redo it.

But I read avidly, and it stayed with me. Yes, into my dreams, even.

In soundbites: Separate bank accounts. Less merging. More trust.

I guess I'm believing in your characters because look at me giving them advice.

kat said...

On the predictions front, one of my coworkers had a very, very vivid dream. In it, there was an earthquake in February. It was so specific that she knew exactly which exits were blocked, which weren't, how the staircase crumbled and that our boss's secretary, Sara (who basically runs the place) was stuck in her office and had to get out of the 2nd floor window via a ladder.

Then she had the dream again.

We're starting to actually take this as a warning. All those in earthquake country, now might be a good time to check on that preparedness kit.

I'm not usually superstitious, either, but I'm a little worried.