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Showing posts from 2016

Karma Rides Again

I recall an incident from 2013 when my love was alive and the niggly details of cohabitation were at the forefront.

We are on a plane for a short domestic flight and a flight attendant offers the usual complimentary beverage. I ask for bubbly water but Michael declines his own a drink, saying, “I’ll just share hers.”

Now, everyone knows that flying dehydrates the cells of this precious human body. Thus, with the prospect of him having his very own free drink but deciding to partake of mine instead, indignation sets in.
I insist, “No, get your own! I need all the water I can get!” 
 The tactful attendant wards off the onset of bad vibes by saying, “I’ll bring you a can and you can share it.” Michael acquiesces with a smile and goes back to memorizing the LA Times. (He’s not an idiot savant – just an incredibly bright guy who never smoked dope.)

I am in the midst of gulping our shared can of bubbly water when another attendant comes through with a garbage bag and asks, “Are you through?”

My Conversion to Dumb and Dumber

Escapism has always seemed like a strange phenomenon; a denial of reality where one purposely and willfully checks out of a here and now situation into a land of make-believe, while fully aware that the return to the untenable and unbearable is unavoidable.

During the Great Depression, many businesses went belly-up; in small towns with desolate storefronts, the one remaining functional operation was the local movie theater, a source of refuge from the horror of a society collapsing in on itself.

Now the function of fantasy-fare has taken root in my day to day life. No more documentaries on the Third Reich or genocide in Rwanda grace my screen. I search for romantic comedies, culture-clash comedies - in short anything that does not require serious thought or provokes probing questions on the nature of existence.

Escapism has become my friend and now I know why crappy, corny, silly, low brow movies do so well. Prospective filmmakers, gird your loins. It's time to descend into mindl…

Love Thine Enemy Like Thyself

In this period between President-elect status and the inauguration of King Rump, all sorts of rationalizations are taking place.

"Give him a chance."

"Have an open mind."

"He'll govern differently than the rhetoric-laced policies he eschewed on the campaign trail."

"Put a photo of him on your altar" (the worst suggestion so far).

Unbridled contempt and negativity help no one but there seems to be a basic naievity in the above postures. True, incessant whining and griping is a downer for everyone; to hurl counter-insults at King Rump and his kind in the hopes of out-sliming the slime merely engenders self-sliming.

Having an open mind, in my scenario, is being awake and aware to "the what is," which is in fact a hostile takeover of the US government. Adolph Hitler began his Holocaust with words. Organized killing came much later in the game, long after Hitler had thoroughly soaked his minions with hate-speech.

Where in Rump's picks is t…

The New 911

Since election day (our new 911), a creeping surrealism seeps through the airwaves as King Rump's cabinet picks are trumpeted via a larger than life flat screen. A toxic smog fills every molecule of perceptual reality during waking moments; as nightfall settles in, bedtime is met with eager anticipation as slumber becomes the refuge from this hell-in-the-making.

A mantra oft heard now - a country divided - is actually not accurate. Most presidential elections disenfranchise approximately half the voters, but in this case the divide is not between Republicans and Democrats but between the blind and the depressed.

Why did almost half of this First World country choose to ignore irrational behavior, lies, threats, deceit, fraud, and predatory behavior? Even the false news stories couldn't hold a candle to what came straight out of King Rump's black hole of a mouth.

The refusal of intelligent, educated people to see the dangers of this madman are not only troubling but mystifying…

The Slow-Moving Coup

In the two year period of single motherhood
between marriage #1 and and marriage #2, I dated one of the White brothers from the famed band Earth, Wind & Fire. Apart from a friendship that eventually surpassed romance, one thing stands out. Said boyfriend gazed into the air and remarked that in the 21st century there would be a Fascist takeover of the American government.

His comment seared into my brain and has remained in the forefront for over 30 years. What we see now is a full-fledged coup that brought to power a candidate with an extreme right-wing agenda. His appointment of Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist was only the first of horrific picks, all of them either members of the extreme right and/or amoral men of great personal ambition.

The FBI stepped into the election process to inflict maximum damage to Hillary Clinton. The Russians hacked Democratic party member emails and released them on Wikileaks (and the content was pablum compared to the dealings of King Rump over the d…

Blind Pigs

Please excuse this disparaging titular reference to pigs because they are divinely sensitive creatures. In the current lexicon, however, they are a symbol of smut.

I can't bear to listen to Fox News for its uber-right wing rhetoric, nor do I listen to MSNBC with its more liberal agenda, even though my sentiments echo the later.

CNN is my choice because it is a centrist channel which airs both the right wing sycophants of King Rump and the Democrits. My preference tends toward soaking in a range of opinions without being completely dipped into the shit of Fox or the safe haven of MSNBC.

Hold on though - safe haven? Well, this is where the blind pig analogy begins to settle in. Almost no one in the media is addressing the point that King Rump's ascendency is based on lies, repeated so often and with such a vituperative pitch that the masses took it in as truth. The mainstream media seems to ignore this lethally effective tactic that was a ploy straight out of Adolph Hitler'…

King Liar Ascends the Throne

On the eve of Rump's election, a media commentator said that she hoped the character Donald Rump created in his campaign for "effect" is not the person he will be as president. Another person on the panel reminded us that who he represented himself to be is indeed who he is. Rump's victory speech was none other than that of a wolf in sheep's clothing lulling the flock into complacency.

Commentators are all talking about what Clinton did wrong to lose the election. They are missing the point. Donald Rump perpetrated The Big Lie. He rallied an ignorant and uninformed base with lies so big and bold that his toxic brew found a cancercous spot in which to rest in the American body.

Perhaps the most disturbing are the people I know in my daily life - many with Master's Degrees - who were as woefully uninformed as that "basket of deplorables" a.k.a. the KKK. Why did these educated Californias join with the Far Right to support Rump?

Hillary Clinton just r…

The Need to Be Needed

Recently, the Dalai Lama published an OpEd piece in the New York Times that caught my attention, although that's not peculiar as I regard him as the most sane person on the planet. He wrote that we all have the need to be needed. Infants need caregivers as a matter of life or death, but as they grow into childhood and beyond, if they feel useless or unseen, an acute pain will grown in their hearts and minds. At the other end of the spectrum, the elderly often feel pushed aside, not appreciated for their life experience, and discarded even while the body yet breathes life.

Buddhist philosophy exhorts the individual to perform actions to benefit all beings, with the inference that at our best we are "givers" and not "needers." Yet, the Dalai Lama pointed out the pathos of human existence. Unless we understand that we are an vital part of the universal sphere, that we are very much needed to create a kinder reality, it is like being cast out to sea in a boat with…

Don't Let the Propaganda Machine Eat You

I came of age in the 1960's. In my twelfth year on earth, I experienced what it was like to be a minority when I represented the local teen chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. at their National Convention - the sole white face in a sea of dark-skinned people. My parents took me to the march on Washington at the age of fourteen to hear Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech; at the time, no one dreamed that it would become the quintessential speech of the 20th century. In college, I marched on the Pentagon to protest the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia and felt noxious tear gas burn the lungs and blind the eyes. And the night Nixon was elected, I was rounded up at a demonstration in Times Square and felt the boot of a policeman connect with my backside, turning my body into a blue-jeaned projectile hurtling into the paddy wagon.

Then and now, lobbying for progressive change meets with serious headwinds from those who lack empathy for "the other,…

Nov. 8 Election

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Impregating Thoughts

Long gone are the days when one could click on a You Tube video and get content immediately. Popular sites now monetize their wares with advertisements that let you "skip ad" in 4 seconds to get to the beef; in some cases a full 14 seconds of advertisements must be endured.

This trend leads me to contemplate the very nature of advertising. Why would a business allott their hard won dineros for an intangible thought form to be tossed into the general population in the hopes that the great washed will flock to their doors?

Because - spoken words coupled with visual images have a sneaky way of wiggling into neuronal pockets of the brain to live on and subconsciously bug us with their presence. Capitalists long ago understood this, so much so that our news and television shows are really just an entertaining break from commercials.

If advertising can influence us in their brief moment on a screen or radio, then what could a friend, parent, relative or boss do to our brain with …

The Mirror of Self

Every individual sees the world from a subjective vantage point. How could it be otherwise? We have only our five senses (in some cases six or more) which inform our interpretation of the world and its kingdoms of near-infinite variety.

Moment by moment we are presented with a landslide of choices as to how we will perceive and process incoming information. How we will then craft "the story," based on a selective process, is colored by past experience. What gets accentuated and what gets filtered out become uniquely our own reality and version of "the truth," relative though it may be. 

Sadly, ego-centric minds will slant their version of reality to fit self-serving drives which usually trump "the other." Fortunately, there do exist human beings capable of understanding the interdependent and dynamic nature of our being-ness -  even if that mind is biased by an intricate pattern of filters called the gene pool that stretches from the dawn of time into nowne…

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

As a staunch left-of-center humanitarian, the right wing of the Republican party has my blood boiling over or running cold, depending on their policy du jour. However, as the old Arab saying goes, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

I will admit, albeit sheepishly, that it seems most (and I mean most, not all) of the Republican right wing actually have a ground-level sense of decency - NOT when when it comes to their Taliban-style agenda against Planned Parenthood - NOT when they appoint Supreme Court Justices who strip away civil rights so hard fought - NOT in general - but simply because many of them are not "nuts," even when their legislation is ignorant of what grows a harmonious human community.

Caring for one's young is not a sign of great compassion. It is an inbred genetic response held by lions, bears and ants. So when Trump is lauded for his love of the Trump children, let's face it. His animal instincts are working just hunky-dor-ily.

Americans of…

Hello Russia!

The current bru-ha-ha-ha in the news is the collusion of Trump's campaign manager P.M.with the Russian-backed President of the Ukraine who fled to Russia after being deposed. 

Trump has a penchant for Eastern European babes who are the descendants of Communist block parents/grandparents. He also gives Putin an "A" for leadership (love the man-boobs on the horse photo). Thus, it is no wonder that a bizarre form of glasnost is blooming like a noxious weed in the heat of summer.

I myself have ethnic roots in the Ukraine, Georgia (of the Mongolian area), Lithuania, Russia and Poland. I get the Eastern European-Russian vibe entirely, but derived from the Jewish strand; the pogrom-makers of the realm remain a mystifying puzzle of hatred. 

Putin has said he would welcome better relations with the US. Surely, all world leaders must strive to unite as a global family with the benefit of mankind as the top priority. Yet, if the goal is to join forces to form a "gang" that o…

The 450 Pound Gorilla

Harambe, the rare 450 pound gorilla, lived in a quasi-prison called the Cincinatti Zoo. Yesterday he was shot to death as he watched over a toddler who had fallen into his watery pen. 

Looking at footage of the event, one wonders what was actually going on in the mind of that amazing creature. For most of the time before his demise, he sat protectively next to the child, occasionally shifting his body posture slightly - almost as if he was wondering how the child should be picked up. The gorilla looked much like an inept dad who doesn't have much experience handling a young'un.

Then, at least twice, he grabbed the child by the seat of his pants and swept him to another part of the pen. That action triggered a memory of watching a documentary called "Blackfish," where an orca whale in captivity pulled his trainer under and swished her around until she drowned. Another fear rose to the surface as well - elephants who have turned on their trainer and stomped them to death…

Boring People-Not

My late husband Michael was an associate of Michael Mann, the pre-eminent Hollywood director. He used to say, "Mann could film the phone book and it would be interesting."

As I lay in bed this morning contemplating life's gestalt, various possibilities for a new documentary project floated across my consciousness. Cover a war? Document the life of a famous human rights advocate? Find a unique and bizarre story to capture the public's imagination?

In fact, one could randomly pick any stranger on the street and do a fascinating exploration of his or her life, no matter how seemingly bland or uneventful. Simply the fact that a human being is a complex system of thoughts, emotions and genetic matter make for an epic story. What does it take to survive birth, grow up and find a way to stay alive?

As we all know, plenty!

So if any of us ever pronounce a person "boring," then the fault lies with us for not mining the intricate and fascinating inner life of what it mea…

Ants Are Afoot

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I live in one of those squeaky-clean upscale Southern California neighborhoods with a Homeowners Association to enforce squeaky-clean behaviors. On the bright side, an interactive website dedicated to homeowners allows us neighbors to share tips that would be the envy of Better Homes and Gardens

Although the ten or so emails received each day get automatically deleted, one did catch my eye.

It read:

Malik Basadii, Eagle Rock Homeowners

Just noticed ants in our front yard and wanted to take care  of the problem. 
The post managed to get a laugh out of this grumpy pre-caffeinated person perusing her emails while waiting for the morning coffee to finish brewing.
How can it be that a person living on the edge of a mountain range, albeit on a manicured plot of grass, bushes and flowers, be surprised to see ants in his yard? Is he unaware that the planet is populated by insects that outnumber us by at least 10 squared to the billions? And what would he do if someone were to show him a movie of the…

The Decline of the Western Empire

Ancient Rome faced an immigration problem that was the harbinger of its decline. Today's geo-political landscape echoes this eery trend. Like Rome,  former colonial powers in Europe have seen an influx of immigrants from the lands they once occupied for blood and treasure. As a result, the ruling classes are turning up their noses and a toxic xenophobia has begun to grow like a cancer.

What the far-right politicians and their growing base seem to miss is an inexorable law of karma in which they grow more and more enmeshed.

If a nation meddles in the affairs of another country's people and their resources - for self-aggrandizement - then a deep connection is forged. Yet this common bond is grossly unjust, with the occupying nation becoming somewhat akin to a punishing parent.

Once this unequal relationship is cemented, the result is an exchange of the most unhealthy kind. When the occupied seek refuge in the homeland of the occupiers, whose characteristics have been embedded in th…

Plants Rock

After a brief attempt to listen to the Sunday morning edition of CNN, the television got switched off as its owner emitted a distinct, "ACHHHH." The endless drone of Trumpism and anti-Trumpism has lost its luster; the news cycles seem more like mental masterbation than information. What happened to the war in Syria, refugees in dire straits, the zika virus, the state of education and endless other news stories that might inform us of the something other than the collective bubble in which we now hibernate?

Seeking solace from the slime-attack of morning news, I sit outside on the terrace appreciating the glorious good mood of the garden. The plants are ecstatic. Doused with buckets of rain in between brilliant sunshine, fed a special organic fish paste twice in the last month, they are standing tall and proud, flaunting gorgeous plumes of orange, yellow, magenta, purple and red. A fact little known to the city slicker or rain forest dweller, California cacti and succulents …

The Crack in the Liberty Bell

If, in his rise to power, Hitler's rallies had been disrupted to the point where he did not speak, would this now be frowned upon, given the deadly consequences of his rhetoric?

Twenty years from now, would we regret not having pushed against a vile, cunning and power-hungry narcissist named Donald J. Trump?

On the other hand, his most prominent GOP rival Ted Cruz presents an equally diabolical alternative. Caught between a rock and a hard spot? In the frying pan versus the fire?

Although the above truisms have lasted for many a decade and still ring true, Senator Lindsey Graham coined a new phrase worthy of recording in the annals of time. He was asked which fellow Republican he would support in the GOP race: Trump or Cruz?

He replied, "You are asking me if I would rather be poisoned or shot!"

Ah yes, the nature of samsara. Our time on this earth is all too short and yet somehow, what we do, what we say, is all so important. 



The Rancored and Defiled

Historically, the majority of humanity have gazed at the moon and observed a glowing whitish-yellow ball in the sky, whether it be  full, waning or waxing, yet never gotten further than a cursory glance.
What makes certain individuals think out of the box to formulate an understanding of how the moon effects the tides, growing seasons and all kind of earthly behaviors remains a mystery. It's obvious that certain people are gifted with an unusual creative intelligence that allows its human to understand the what, where, whys and hows of this world. Thus a scientist is born.
Another kind of exploration involves the observation of one's mind, a universe unto itself. The unexamined Self becomes susceptible to the many ills plaguing mankind: fear, anxiety, depression, paranoia, imagined scenarios believed to be real, violence against self or others, and a litany of unimaginable crimes besetting mankind.
It takes an equally unusual person to plumb the depths of his or her psyche to…