Friday, July 28, 2006

Canadian Border Security

Sorry I haven't been keeping up with everyone, and I'm leaving shortly for Long Island for the first week of August - but I promise to get caught up on my return.
I just couldn't resist this one before I left!

Source: Manitoba Herald, Canada

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The actions of President Bush are prompting the exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and agree with Bill O'Reilly. Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.

"I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield,whose acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. "He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left. Didn't even get a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. So he tried installing speakers that blare Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through, and Rush annoyed the cows so much they wouldn't give milk."

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons, drive them across the border and leave them to fend for themselves.

"A lot of these people are not prepared for rugged conditions," a border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a drop of drinking water. "They did have a nice little NapaValley cabernet, though."

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about the Bush administration establishing re-education camps in which liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.

In recent days, liberals have turned to sometimes ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have taken to posing as senior citizens on bus trips to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans disguised in powdered wigs, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizen passengers on Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney hits to prove they were alive in the '50s.

"If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we get suspicious about their age," an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and renting all the good Susan Sarandon movies. "I feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history majors does one country need?"

In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada Vice President Dick Cheney met with the Canadian ambassador and pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals, a source close to Cheney said. We're going to have some Peter, Paul & and Mary concerts. And we might put some endangered species on postage stamps. The President is determined to reach out," he said.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

absolutely not feeling serious . . .

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"I dunno, press the button and find out."

Your Political Profile:
Overall: 20% Conservative, 80% Liberal
Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
I must admit, for this last one, some of the questions had me a little confused - still figuring out American social security and a few other things....

and what can I say, life has been way too serious lately....

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

a day in the life of

There are many bird feeders, and bird baths in my yard. I love the birds that come all year to eat and chat and nest.
One of my favourite things to watch is the robins in the bird bath dancing their "happy dance". I've always loved robins, their return signals the arrival of spring, the growing light, the emergence of life. I love the way one or two will slyly follow me when I water, eyeing the spot where hose water meets earth, slipping into it (when I'm 'not' looking), playing in the splashing and then hunting for lunch and with sucess the quick stick legged rush away. This I find especially joyful. There are many reasons I won't spray my lawn, but the robins are a big one.

I happen to be the neighbourhood repository for all injured wild life (and the collector and burier of all found dead wildlife) - you know every neighbourhood has to have one of "those" moms -so, not only is my back yard full of life from chipmunks to cardinals, squirrels to goldfinchs (all expecting to be fed!), I also know where all the bodies are.

Yesterday my son come running home with 'that' look on his face and said I needed to "come right away". So much for the potluck curry I was making. He lead me to the bottom of tree where a baby robin was curled up. Alive, but injured and alone. My son and his friend had already named him (her? it was too early to tell) 'Chirpy'. Chirpy sat there mouth open, one good eye open looking at me. No robins came by to 'scare me off". We reguarded each other awhile, while my son ran off and dug for worms, and . . . I caved - I always cave. There are outdoor cats in the neighourhood, No one was getting upset about me leaning over him. How could I leave him there? I decided. I scooped up Chirpy to take to my favourite pet store, that had taken care of an orphaned robin before. Now if you want fun and adventure try holding a baby robin while driving (we tried having my son hold Chirpy, but he -Chirpy- had an impressive tantrum). Add to this listening to my 11yr old son talk non-stop, and giving 'very-helpful' advice and recounting the story over and over (and over) again.

At the store the "guy who takes care of orphaned birds" was away, so 15minutes later I found myself leaving the store with a borrowed cage, baby bird food (you do NOT want to know), eye droppers and instructions to feed every 2 hours. Really it wasn't much different than trying to get baby food into a 4month old baby.

In the morning, despite my best efforts, Chirpy was curled up at the bottom of the cage, dead.


I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

D H Lawrence (1885-1930)

Of course, this doesn't help me from feeling sorry for the little bird whose tiny body was added to the many under walking stones and plants in my garden.

I don't always have the best success rate.

I took a chipmunk,
from my

cat today

and held it’s
tiny soul -
within my hands;
until his
panicked gasping

stopped, watched til
quiet breathing settled into

calm - and
sleep began

we sat upon -

my porch listening
to birdsongs,
till breathing ceased -

then I sat alone.
watching finches,
doves a

after I had buried
his tiny soul;
and come inside
my daughter asked me
how he was -
and, I pointed to the
chipmunk in the feeder.

because, some days

I am a liar.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Posting for Peace

"What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee: Have at thee, coward!"
(Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet I, i, lines 68-69).

And so starts my thoughts on peace, which are many and varied. I type this wearing a light blue wrist band that says "Cultivate Peace The Hunger Site" complete with little peace symbols. I ordered it when I ordered my, very nearly 9year old'’s, new lunch bag, which is the same colour, and says the same Cultivate Peace on top. It wasn't expensive and I order during their ‘shipping sales’ (2 cents shipping). Also with my order, 50 cups of food were donated just for shopping for something I needed anyway. My daughter is thrilled with it and it will send a beautiful message everyday.

Perhaps I should join my disjointed thoughts of my first two paragraphs. I have always been fascinated by these lines of Tybalt'’s, and sadly they seem, in many ways, to mirror today's feelings toward peace. – Is it that no one today has the language? No, it'’s fairly straight forward. I believe it's the honesty of Tybalt's statement that I like. He is a complex character (as Shakespeare'’s ‘villains often are) but he states things plainly enough.

"What, drawn, and talk of peace!"

It is a paradox. How can we talk of peace with our swords drawn?

  • With our guns, our tanks, our missiles "drawn"
  • our nuclear warheads "drawn"
  • With our soldiers "drawn" in pain and dying
  • With children, families, communities dying

Why even call them soldiers, I will call them what they are -our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, our fellow humans "drawn"”. And on what? Or better yet, on who? Sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, our fellow humans.

"and talk of peace"

Hate the word, for this is no talk of peace. It cannot be. You cannot speak of peace with guns, you cannot speak of peace while killing, you cannot speak of peace while innocence is murdered. All who die are innocents, and all who live have innocence murdered. There is no peace in Hell, the one made here, the one that actually exsists, the one we reside over, the one that is our very own proud creation.

So why my daughter's lunchbag? For the same reason I don't drive when I can walk, I don't shop at Walmart (I shop at independent businesses when I can), OR McDonald's, the same reason I buy organic and am vegetarian, buy my clothes at the Goodwill or Cosignment shops. Alone, I can no more stop this war than stand on a railway track and stop a freight train, but with every choice I make, every action I take, and every word I say I make ripples, and they DO have an effect.

My older children (13 & 11) recently had a nasty fight - their consequence? Essays on non-violence. My oldest who is not Christian I gave the extra task of using Jesus' teachings to illustrate her point. (we go to a Unitarian Universalist Church, so they learn about everyone from Buddha to Gandhi) I keep all her essays (can you tell I do this alot?), but this one I really like, and have put some of its highlights here:

"Always treat others as you would like them to treat you. This is the Golden Rule. This proverb did not come from straight from Jesus, but Jesus used it many times in his life .... in a nutshell is: What you hate, don't do to anyone else (note: "What you find hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary" - Judaism) Also Jesus taught to many that "the non-violent" response to hating another requires an amazing amount of personal strength of insight and willpower - that it is no surprise that it is so seldom practiced. That's why violence all over the world is so much more persuasive. Also that is why countries like us and Iraq don't get along because we are using violence to hurt them - they don't live like that (note: non-violently) so they are hurting us back, and that's probably why we have war. We have been arguing with many different countries over our past and I don't think if Jesus was alive now his teaching of the Golden Rule wouldn't have approved of our wars that we have had in the past and are having now because we are not loving are enemies as we should love ourselves.
One of Jesus' ot
her teachings was if you love those who love you and favour those who favour you then it's not teaching anyone anything. What he did teach was anima, referring to the doctrine that you should never harm any living being or thing. This also inspired Gandhi to talk to people about "soul force" and that "non-violence should be and always be the law of all our nations and species"
Moral: return hate to love and don't use violence. . . .an eye for an eye really does make the whole world blind"

This is what I get for talking all that Hippie stuff at them.

Just for interest "The Golden Rule" is not Christianity's alone...

"No one of you is a believer
until he desires for his brother
that which he desires
for himself." ~Islam

"Hurt not others
in ways that you yourself
would find hurtful." ~Buddhism

"Blessed is he
who preferreth his brother
before himself" ~ Baha'i Faith

I do believe and take what she has said seriously, it is too easy to vilify Bush and Cheney, Exxon Mobile and so many other and to hate them. In the end however, hate only brings more hate. Loving your enemies should start right here - at home - if we are going to be able to honestly practice it throughout the world. I don't condone anything that's been done, but I don't believe hate (intolerance, cruelity - the list goes on) is the answer to anything in Iraq or anywhere else in the world, most of all right here, in our own thoughts and words. Thoughts and words have tremendous power. Hating the President will not end the war. Passive, peaceful resistance just may.

Be the change you wish to see in the world- Gandhi

I choose to be that change - the best I can - daily, with the way I live, my thoughts, words I say, and the actions I take. I believe (strongly) in peaceful social action, and - as best I can - push out hate with love.
It is a day by day process, and not an easy one.

Hey, there's that John Lennon song...

"You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one ..."

you never know.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Moment of Silence

Moment of Silence

Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to join me
In a moment of silence
In honour of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last September 11th.

I would also like to ask you To offer up a moment of silence For all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared,
tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes,
For the victims in both Afghanistan and the US

And if I could just add one more thing...

A full day of silence
For the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the hands of US-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation. Six months of silence for the million and-a-half Iraqi people, mostly children, who have died of malnourishment or starvation as a result of an 11-year US embargo against the country.

Before I begin this poem,

Two months of silence for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa,
Where homeland security made them aliens in their own country.
Nine months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
Where death rained down and peeled back every layer of concrete, steel, earth and skin
And the survivors went on as if alive.
A year of silence for the millions of dead in Vietnam - a people, not a war - for those who know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their relatives' bones buried in it, their babies born of it.
A year of silence for the dead in Cambodia and Laos, victims of a secret war .... ssssshhhhh.... Say nothing ... we don't want them to learn that they are dead.
Two months of silence for the decades of dead in Colombia,
Whose names, like the corpses they once represented, have piled up and slipped off our tongues.

Before I begin this poem.

An hour of silence for El Salvador ...
An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua ...
Two days of silence for the Guatemaltecos ...
None of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years.
45 seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas
25 years of silence for the hundred million Africans who found their graves far deeper in the ocean than any building could poke into the sky.
There will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their remains.
And for those who were strung and swung from the heights of sycamore trees in the south, the north, the east, and the west...

100 years of silence...

For the hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples from this half of right here,
Whose land and lives were stolen,
In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek, Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears.
Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the refrigerator of our consciousness ...

So you want a moment of silence?
And we are all left speechless
Our tongues snatched from our mouths
Our eyes stapled shut
A moment of silence
And the poets have all been laid to rest
The drums disintegrating into dust.

Before I begin this poem,
You want a moment of silence
You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
And the rest of us hope to hell it won't be.
Not like it always has been.

Because this is not a 9/11 poem.
This is a 9/10 poem,
It is a 9/9 poem,
A 9/8 poem,
A 9/7 poem
This is a 1492 poem.

This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written.
And if this is a 9/11 poem, then:
This is a September 11th poem for Chile, 1971.
This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in South Africa, 1977.
This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at Attica Prison, New York, 1971.

This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.

This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground in ashes
This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told
The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks
The 110 stories that CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored.
This is a poem for interrupting this program.

And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?
We could give you lifetimes of empty:
The unmarked graves
The lost languages
The uprooted trees and histories
The dead stares on the faces of nameless children
Before I start this poem we could be silent forever
Or just long enough to hunger,
For the dust to bury us
And you would still ask us
For more of our silence.

If you want a moment of silence
Then stop the oil pumps
Turn off the engines and the televisions
Sink the cruise ships
Crash the stock markets
Unplug the marquee lights,
Delete the instant messages,
Derail the trains, the light rail transit.

If you want a moment of silence, put a brick through the window of Taco Bell,
And pay the workers for wages lost.
Tear down the liquor stores,
The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses, the Penthouses and the Playboys.

If you want a moment of silence,
Then take it
On Super Bowl Sunday,
The Fourth of July
During Dayton's 13 hour sale
Or the next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautiful
brown people have gathered.

You want a moment of silence
Then take it NOW,
Before this poem begins.
Here, in the echo of my voice,
In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand,
In the space between bodies in embrace,
Here is your silence.
Take it.
But take it all... Don't cut in line.
Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime.
But we,
Tonight we will keep right on singing...
For our dead.

by EMMANUEL ORTIZ, 11 Sep 2002

you can also hear this poem in mp3 format by clicking here
*there is more on the audio version than here in the written one. it is equally beautiful.