Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A story told through in i.m.: The SWAT bust

Something like that did happen once to me, when i was visiting some friends in a public housing unit. They had another friend, a local guy, visiting them. (These were poor white people, outside of Bangor). While I was relaxing and talking with the oldest son, in a lawn chair in front of the house, the SWAT Team moved in. They had me on my stomach, face to the concrete, for a while, with a German shepherd guarding me while the rest of the team moved in. They really scared the children. The guy, it turned out, was a street distributor, but the family claimed not to know. I kind of believed them. I was not taken in, since the SWAT guys liked my Alaska driver licence (it was real--I was just visiting from out of town).

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving, people of the world-earth!

Today is Thanksgiving 2005 C.E. (A.D.)at 08:04 EST. Good morning to my fellow Americans; good evening to our neighbours across the pond, not excluding all our African and Asian immigrant sisters and brothers in Europe. Halloa and peace to our African sisters and brothers! Many of our Asian and some of our European and African fellow human beings are still asleep or about to go to sleep. Good morning to our South and Central American fellow humans! To all other hello and good morning too!

I’m sipping some cold coffee and cream; yeah well i COULD put it in the microwave, but I don’t need to, it’s ok, and with the cream, this good coffee tastes great! It’s not too cold now here; we live in coastal Georgia, not too far north of the great Okefenokee and the other Floridian and South Georgian swamps where the Creek and Seminole alliance resisted the United States Army and Anglo-Georgian settlers and militia for over three wars, in the most expensive war in American history until this war on terrorism. I say this, rating the dollar amount for what it could buy in those days, I forget what the economists call it—real money cost—anyway this is a war that’s buried deep in our national archives or long forgotten and faded from our collective memory. [There is a place not too far from here named after a battle between the Anglo-Georgians and Americans, and the Creeks, Seminoles, and run-away African-American slaves. No one around here can say anything about it, for our teachers have failed to teach, till the violence of the past is almost nothing to remind us of the evil within us].

But I digress. Perhaps misanthropy will become fashionable again, and all its little off-shoots: misogyny, racism, nationalism, bigotry, and any other thinking and behaviour which allows human beings to commit harm, and this includes ignoring when others are in urgent need, to other human beings. After all, our planet is getting more and more crowded, we are toxifying it, sending it into imbalance… (I’m not entirely confident that the earth will balance itself without wiping out most or at least a great part of the human and animal populations, but for now I’m content to trust our Creator, the Almighty Force of Life, God if you want to use that name).

Now, if you’ll pardon the change, I’d like to change the topic to “Being Greatful for Family,” perhaps a topic which we take so much for granted that we don’t even think to open up this topic, because why? it sounds too folksy? not intellectual enough? or is it that the philosophy bulletin boards draw the malcontents?

Anyhow, it’s Thanksgiving, and I’m deeply greatful for our little nuclear family, and grateful for my mother and father, who are still alive and relatively well, thank God. I’m grateful for my brother and my sisters, even my sister who is autistic and mentally so retarded that she cannot speak any words. I am greatful for my uncles and aunts, my cousins and their families. I rejoice that we have life and love and wealth and are consious enough to share it with others.

My father is Irish; I am Sean son of Pete son of Walter of Atlantic City. Where Walter came from I don’t know. I sometimes think he came from the Ulster Scots though these days Dad seems to be leaning to the more Southern Irish, maybe Cork, but who cares? But that’s for another thread of essays.

My mother is the eldest daughter of a scion of Mexican Creole family, I say Creole in the original sense, descended exclusively from peninsular stock, our Castillian and Basque geneology does not claim any indigenous Mexican, African, nor Jewish ancestors. We did this by maintaining a rigid code of race consciousness—call it racism, anti-semetism, even white supremacy if you will, but I had no hand in this, or did I? I’ve married a Prussian, so I suppose I’ve continued along in this tradition, though I don’t encourage anybody to exclude someone just because their skin is dark or they are Semitic, African, etc. However, I’m grateful in a sense, because I’m albe to approach other white supremacists without them turning off their listening mind, just because they might perceive me as a “mud-person.” So, am I a “nigger lover?” “jew lover?” Yes, I am, because I love all that reflects life, I love humanity, I even love animal and plant life.

You might think I’m off in la la land, saying this about loving all people. However, allow me to support my expression of fondness for people by saying that the good that the few does outshines the evil that others do. I prefer to cherish the good, to encourage it by praising, much as pa and ma would do as I grew from a wee bairn (babe) through a lad (boy) into a man. Today we try to encourage our lad and lassie to do well, rather than do badly, and to do good rather than evil. Just so should our World Bank, our G-8, our alliances such as the NATO, the U.N., the O.A.S., S.E.A.T.O. O.P.E.C. and Islamic networks, encourage the doing of good, the healing rather than the tearing apart, the violence, the annihilation of guerrilla, of terrorism, of war, of serial killing…

As the old sagamore said, “I have spoken.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Reading the entire dictionary, systematically

(AuAg)Te4 sylvanite, a silvery yellowish ore mineral.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Gabe Prosser's (1800) and Nat Turner's revolts (1831) — 3 minutes ago

Gabe Prosser's (1800) and Nat Turner's revolts (1831) — 1 minute ago

In the 1800 Census there were counted one million two thousand thirty seven Negroes, who represented
by cafegroundzero on Nov 17 copyrighted Please do not sell, trade or reproduce any part thereof without express permission from the author.

In the 1800 Census there were counted one million two thousand thirty seven Negroes, who represented eighteen point nine per cent of the total human population. Of these Africans and Americans, eight hundred ninety three thousand, six hundred two were slaves and one hundred eight thousand, four hundred thirty five or ten and eight tenths per cent were Free People. The Northern states had thirty six thousand five hundred five slaves. Most of these were in New York and New Jersey.

Gabe Prosser,
a Black male who might have been born in 1775,
from Henrico County, Virginia,
with his wife and two brothers planned a revolt.
Outside Richmond city, they organized other slaves.
They made swords, though crude, and bayonets.
They made five hundred bullets.
While they did this, they studied
the location of Richmond’s armories and ammo caches.
Prosser wanted to end all slavery.
His plan was simple: capture Richmond, killing all whites
except the French, Methodists, and Quakers.
Eventually, his troops would attack other towns
and he would be made King of Virginia.

James Monroe,
Governor of Virginia,
wrote that the plans included most of the slaves
of the city and surrounding plantations.
‘Knowledge of such a project,’ he wrote,’pervaded other parts,
if not the whole, of the state.’

On Saturday night, 30 August,
over a thousand angry slaves,
some armed with scythes, others with bayonets,
a few with guns, met outside of Richmond.
They then discovered that a storm had taken out a bridge
which they needed to make their advance. Spooked,
many of them gave up the project. But two slaves betrayed
the conspiracy, and the Governor called out the militia.
Numerous arrests were made, and Gabriel Prosser,
with a couple dozen to five times seven more,
were, with proper compensation to the owners,
tried and hung till they died by the noose.

‘From what he said to me,’ said Governor Monroe,
he seemed to have made up his mind to die
and to have resolved to say but little of the subject
of the conspiracy.’

In November of that year,1800, continued unrest
resulted in the arrests of dozens of suspected rebel
slaves. Rebel slaves.

Nat Turner was born to Nancy that year, 1800.
Nancy had been brought from Africa, sold to the plantation
of Benjamin Turner, in Southampton, Virgina.
Nat Turner was the property of Samuel Turner,
then sold or won by Thomas Moore, then Putnam Moore,
and in eighteen three was hired out to Joseph Travis.
Turner had been a genius. One of Ben Turner’s sons taught him.

Nat Turner turned a preacher,
and a zealous preacher was he.
Among the Negroes on the Travis plantation
Nat Turner gained in respect,
and felt convicted to lead his brothers and sisters
to freedom. On the Fourth of July, 1831,
Nat and four slaves plotted an uprising, but last minute
aborted. And 21 August 1831 with the unlucky seven
he attacked the Travis Plantation, killing them all.
They got arms, horses, enlisted other slaves,
and out they galloped, murdering and burning all around them.

In one long hot day and one long bloody night,
they killed one and fifty of the white;
but the revolt failed in four days.
Turner hid for six weeks,
but was found, tried, and hanged.
The trial and execution were held in Jerusalem,
Virginia, that is.

Between the years of 1800 and 1900
(my grandmother was born in 1889),
approximately 4 million slaves were brought to Latin America.
Cuba alone, between 1800 and 1865, the year in which
General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomatox,
between 1800 and 1865, imported 386,437 slaves.

Nov 17, 09:02PM PST |

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

If you only had one year left

of your life, if you had some way of knowing you were definitely going to die within one year, what would you do with the time remaining? What kind of work would you do? Would you change your will? Would you write one? Would you travel? Where?

Would you make amends to anyone? What would you say to your loved ones? What would you say to the people you can’t stand, but whom you have to see every day? Which projects would you finish, if any?

What are the priorities in your life today? What should they be? How can you begin to change that now? What can you do tomorrow?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Can we ever outlaw War?

Pacifism is becoming fashionable again, I think more as a reaction to American and European involvement in foreign wars. Pacifism is something which works when your own land is free to foster your opposition to involvement in someone else's war or civil unrest.

What do you all think? What do YOU think?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Posted: 31 Oct 2005 10:14 AM
We've got two developments of interest in this regard, two at least I say: one is the revival of the celebrations in the old style, the "pagan" or "wiccan" style. This is gaining many adherents in the United States. I don't know about Canada.

The other is the backlash against Halloween, and all things which hint of witches, worlocks, magic, or witchcraft by the Christian right wing. I suspect the more they rant against it, the more the young folk take to the Wicca, Satanism, and other odd cults.

Re: Halloween
Posted: 01 Nov 2005 06:03 AM
What a pity that people seem to continually align Christianity and Right Wing.

At the risk of offending politically inept contributors I would say that Jesus would have been a politically "socially conscious" person - thus he would have been all for many concepts traditionally anathema to right wingers.

Anyways back to Halloween - the new agers, witches etc have tried repeatedly to get this happening in Australia but it just doesn't rate a mention.

Re: Halloween
Posted: 01 Nov 2005 12:56 PM

In the United States it is the conservative and reactionary Christians who themselves align or declare to be right wing. Conservatives really prefer the term conservative, Christian, or Moral Majority. There is also the term neo-Con, which is, I gather, the "enlightened" conservatives, or so-called centrists realigning themselves with the right or conservative.

The "New Agers" have lost much ground in North America, in the US in particular. They are now considered to be active mostly in Southern California, San Francisco, Seattle, Anchorage, some cultural "islands" in southern Florida and along the East Coast. Oh, I forgot Chicago, Minneapolis, and Memphis. In other words, the "New Agers" and other "Liberal" or humanists are fragmented, isolated, disorganized... or so it would seem.

I suspect there is more activity than is noted by the various media, including the internet, which is over-rated. There is a vast "underground" which has yet gone unrecognized by much or most of the media. This includes but is not restricted to certain churches, college and university organizations, ad hoc groupings of individuals, the Rainbow circuit (no, I am NOT referring to 'the homosexual conspiracy'). Within the last 30-40 years, the FBI, police, and other governmental agencies and institutions have succeeded in either rendering ineffective or coopting various dissenters, including the radical environmentalists, anti-war activists, labor, student, and feminist groups. For a good read on this, I recommend Bell and Lasch.

Posted: 31 Oct 2005 10:16 AM
It's so hard to hold a bonfire around here, unless you own a great lot of land, and can find a spot shielded from the road, from curious onlookers.

Several years ago, some angry Christians rode into the forests of Fort Campbell and burned the Wiccan community house to the ground. Around this town in Georgia, folk recoil in horror if you say you like Harry Potter.

Re: Samhain
Posted: 31 Oct 2005 03:13 PM
And yet I bet they allow their children to go trick-and-treating. Or is Halloween also a no-no?

Re: Samhain
Posted: 01 Nov 2005 06:00 AM
certainly in Australia the Christians I know do not align themselves with any pro-Harry Potter or Pro-Halloween stance.

In the case of Halloween I have never seen any "trick or treating" in regional Queensland which is where I have lived most of my life.

Re: Samhain
Posted: 01 Nov 2005 11:41 AM
My trick-or-treat comment was aimed at J-P, in whose country I believe children are encouraged to indulge in this sort of thing. Here in SA, we have enough sangomas, shamans, iyangas, tokoloshes and so forth to keep us busy, without bothering about Haloween.

determination noun
1. the act or an instance of making a decision
2. the condition of being determined; resoluteness
3. the act or an instance of ending an argument by the opinion or decision of an authority
4. the act or an instance of fixing or settling the quality, limit, position, etc., of something
5. a decision or opinion reached, rendered, or settled upon
6. a resolute movement towards some object or end
7. the termination of an estate or interest
8. the decision reached by a court of justice on a disputed matter
9. (a) the process of qualifying or limiting a proposition or concept (b) the qualifications or limitations used in this process
10. the condition of embryonic tissues of being able to develop into only one particular tissue or organ in the adult


Posted: 01 Nov 2005 01:02 PM
At the risk of offending certain smug reactionaries and fascists, I suggest that one may consider that there is a mood, an air, a movement about, that is not confined within national borders. Some people are tired of being stereotyped as Liberal, Conservative, Radical, Fascist, Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Buddhis, pagan, humanist, atheist, agnostic. Concepts of self and group thinking and action are being re-examined, put to the test once more, restructured.

determination noun
1. the act or an instance of making a decision
2. the condition of being determined; resoluteness

I think we have entered into a very interesting time in history. We shall see what happens.

Perhaps the gauntlet has already been thrown. Hmmm... time to examine those words. Yet again.

gauntlet 1 or gantlet noun
1. Arms & Armour a medieval armoured leather glove
2. a heavy glove with a long cuff
3. take up (or throw down) the gauntlet to accept (or offer) a challenge
History: C15: from Old French gantelet, diminutive of gant glove, of Germanic origin

gauntlet 2 noun
1. a punishment in which the victim is forced to run between two rows of men who strike at him as he passes: formerly a military punishment
2. run the gauntlet (a) to suffer this punishment (b) to endure an onslaught or ordeal, as of criticism
3. a testing ordeal; trial
4. a variant spelling of: gantlet 1:(sense 1)
History: C15: changed (through influence of gauntlet1) from earlier gantlope; see gantlet1


Posted: 01 Nov 2005 01:05 PM

3. take up (or throw down) the gauntlet to accept (or offer) a challenge
History: C15: from Old French gantelet, diminutive of gant glove, of Germanic origin.

In the US, there are a few movements about, one of which is moveon.org. Another phenomenon of note is "the Nov. 3 theses." This involves, I think, both an organized and re-invigorated effort to reform, perhaps radically, the Democratic Party. I think too, there is reform being considered within the Republican Party. I'm not sure what's going on with the Greens.

As I wrote above, we shall see. Consider then, that the gauntlet has been thrown down.

07:00 Flag's up, Exies playing, lass' gets ready for bus

On me second cup of java. Cafe' au lait. Wilma's cleaning up a broken candle. Altgeld's napping on the golden sofa. The Exies playing on an audio file imported via the connection. Was recommended by moonshine, a poetess from across the pond.

Oh, I took me fluoxetine. Good ta go. Got a full day ahead. Time for stomach med, caps form. Pop. Swig. Swallow. Polish glasses on shirt.

Time to check the news...

Second case of fragging recorded in war (OIF )

An infantry soldier is found guilty for killing officers with claymore and grenades, while at base camp in palace in Tikrit.

More on this later.

Babies' Dreams

"You know what, papa? I dreamed
I found a toad!" she says, still lying
on her back in the middle; mama's gone
and in the kitchen. Twilight tones
mute the details, and I smile as I reach
for my glasses. "So you did? What colour
was it?" She smiles, "All colours!
Green, and red, and yellow, and white!"

Weeks, maybe months, have passed,
and the daughter's growing up,
right now in her own bed, sleeping.

My son's voice is like a cartoon
"I got a digger! and a fire engine,
and a load truck, and an ambulance!"
He slept with his miniatures, until
not long ago, but now leaves them
on his favourite arm chair, or in box.
He's asleep, now in that same middle,
and mama's gone in the o'dark pre-dawn,
driving the pickup to distribute papers.

In the year after coming home,
the lass would wake us crying,
and I would try to take her,
but she said,"I want my mama!"
and there was not much more
I could do then; mama'd get her.
Later at breakfast, after a while
she'd smile and joke.

Every night, just about, for two years
she'd wake crying. Now no more, she's five
and she sometimes walks quietly out, squinting
and stands silently, accusing, or waiting,
as I turn around to get her to the sofa
or over to "the big bed," where she'll lie
now in my place--her brother's in the middle.
Mama would be on the other side, sleeping?

Now the lad wakes, crying, or calling
his composure is much more sure.
"Mama! Papa!" he sometimes rushes out
clutching a firetruck or a dinosaur.
I used to wonder what they dream
when their eyes would move under the lids.
One night at bedtime stories my daughter
stopped me, saying, "Papa, we cannot go

"to sleep until we figure what to do
for the war in Iraq!" We sit quietly
her attention on me, my stunned silence.
She is not quite five. I clear my throat,
"Well, what do you think we should do?"

"We should send a big airplane
and drop a bomb on the terrorists!"

"Annie, what if the bomb killed mamas
and babies, and papas who are not bad guys?"
She pauses for a second, concentrating,
but rejoins with, "Well, then we must
send a fast big airplane with a hundred
soldiers, and each soldier with two guns!
They will kill the terrorists! That's what
we should do, papa!" her voice is urgent.

Inside I've stepped between mines,
and am frozen in time and space. I smile,
and very carefully ask her,"When did you
think this?" She is calm, and sure of herself.
She is no longer a baby, but she is a baby,
and she sits planning public policy.
Where is the little girl? There she is!
Yet I both fear and mourn the loss.