Thursday, November 23, 2006


The Sun Never Says

Even after all this time
the sun never says to the earth,

"You owe me."

Look what happens with a love like that,

It lights up the whole sky.

As yet, I don't believe in God... but I do believe in my family.

Yesterday my mom, 64 years old, broke her tibia and fell down the last four steps of the staircase she was descending. My dad rushed her to the hospital were she had to undergo an immediate surgery to put a pin in her leg. Thankfully, she wasn't hurt worse.

The news reached our family and the response was not surprising at all. My twin sister called off her Thanksgiving plans. She and her husband loaded their van with their family of six, his tools and in the late of evening headed from Montana to Colorado on a 13-hour journey. They stayed in Jackson Hole just to wake up this morning and drive into Steamboat Springs, Colorado where my parents were working to fix up the building that was the home to our family business for years.

They will arrive and my sister will immediately go to work to make a Thanksgiving dinner for my mom, dad and her family. Her husband will spend the next three days of his Thanksgiving break doing construction with my dad. Then he'll load up his kids and drive them back for school on Monday morning. My twin will stay in Steamboat until my mom can travel and then take her back to Montana to take care of her until she can use her crutches.

Next week, my older sister will take her youngest son, 17, with her to Steamboat from Idaho to work on the building until all of the work is finished so my dad can come home to Montana. My parents' sole source of income is tied up in that building and with it in disrepair, their livelihood is very fragile.

Just a month earlier, this same big sister--in an act of total unselfishness--bought plane tickets for five of us: my older brother, his wife and daughter, my fiancee and me. She did this so that we could attend an uncle's funeral in San Diego. This sister is anything but financially secure, yet she didn't hesitate to make possible our family's gathering for this solemn occasion.

This family of mine is not without a history of conflict and pain, but what is amazing is that through the years we've worked hard to resolve and forgive each other for our missteps and mistakes. Most of all, this family has shown its true colors when we've most needed each other.

Gandhi once said that:

"Life will not be a pyramid with the apex sustained by the bottom. But it will be an oceanic circle whose centre will be the individual always ready to perish for the village, the latter ready to preish for the circle of villages, until at last the whole becomes one life composed of individuals...the outermost circumference will not wield power to crush the inner circle but will give strength to all within and derive its strength from it."

My strength to struggle for peace and justice, and risk my livelihood para la causa is derived in every way from my family. For me, it's definitely worth the pain to reach across the fire and make my relationships work. It's worth it to forgive. It's worth it to distinguish my true needs from my desires, and then to let go of as many of my cravings as possible. I will remember that to be "right" I often label others "wrong": I will work to let go of the desire to be right. I will try to remember that the consequences of my actions are the very ground upon which I stand: I will try to stop actions that cause others to suffer. Today especially, I give thanks to my family for all its grace.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Deja Furniture

It may be time to seriously consider joining Gregrandgar in returning to the "natural." I'm in the process of moving and I can hardly believe the amount of crap I have re-accumulated in just four short years.

Four years ago, alone in my house, wife vamoosed for a saner existence, I realized it was time to make some serious changes. A journey began that I know see as an eternal and ontological one. I sold nearly all I owned (I had to keep some of my clothes and my kitchen supplies as chef), but I let most of it go.

The twisted twist of fate began at the very moment I sold my things. A young woman I was rapidly falling for keep coming around my house buying up all my possessions. Guess what? We're getting married just four years later! I barely stopped living with the very things I wanted so desperately to escape. I was going for minimalism and ended up right back where I started. I want the woman, not the crap. It's starting to feel like a Borgesian labyrinth.

Tomorrow, I will move my/her things one more time to one more new "home." The best I can do is get rid of things every time I move. Maybe I should move more often?

Friday, November 10, 2006

bob marley

This is what put the "Bob" in "Che Bob." This man was amazing!
Silvio Rodriguez - Ojalá (mano a mano)

Listen to the audience serenade Silvio.

The Yes Men
Flurry Of V's - V For Vendetta

No comment!

Missoula, Montana

I wonder what other U.S. cities can claim to be as politically pivotal as Missoula, Montana?

Missoula gave the U.S. Senate to the Democrats on a platter. Voter turnout in Missoula was over 70%, and it was this town that voted overwhelmingly for Jon Tester! Jon Tester and Jim Webb (newly elected Senator from Virginia) were in the deciding races that gave control of the Senate to the Democrats. Appropriately, this is a country of political apathy with voter turnouts usually hovering around 40%, but not in Missoula (original home to the Wobblies "free-speech fights"). In Missoula, one can find an over-educated/under-employed population that turns out 3000 people for a Day of the Dead parade in the cold, dark of the night to watch floats walk by that include protestors denouncing the U.S.'s history of violent intervention in Latin America! Our congressional delegation is smart to move their headquarters to Helena, Great Falls or Billings where they will not have to face the protests in front of their offices. In Missoula, one can attend a rally called "Dump Bush!" with 5,000 angry citizens. Missoula passes every educational mill levy. Missoula is currently trying to adopt a Sweat-free Community resolution thereby making the city purchase sweatfree products only! Ahhh Missoula, take a bow!

With only 900,000 people in this state, each and every vote carries tremendous power. Montana's U.S. Senator-elect, Jon Tester, was elected with only 198,302 votes and only won by a margin of roughly 2,800. In Virginia's tight senatorial race, Jim Webb with 1,172,671 votes won by a margin of 7,000 votes.

Montana is a Red State despite the fact that we've now got a Democratic Governor and two Democratic Senators. Missoula, however, is a relatively progressive pocket in this state. This is due in no small part to the presence of the University of Montana, a reputedly progressive university. It is often chided and ridiculed for its progressive politics around the state. With its university in hand, Missoula is thus known endearingly as that "damned hippy town!" Considering the results this town has produced by delivering to American politics a new face with a 70% voter turnout, I'd have to say the old notion that "marijuana breeds apathy" has been turned on its head.

Speaking of marijuana, Missoula passed an initiative that may prove it deserves much of its reputation. By a relatively comfortable margin, Initiative 2 was passed by Missoula voters on election day. This initiative makes enforcing marijuana offenses against adults the lowest priority for Missoula County law enforcement. Appropriately, Missoula voters understood the need for law enforcement to focus on serious crimes instead of the massive amount of energy it has focused on arresting marijuana users. Over the last couple of years, marijuana arrests in Missoula County have skyrocketed while cases of robbery and rape have gone unsolved. The reason for this disproportionate enforcement can be explained politically. By focusing on marijuana crimes county law enforcement can have high arrest rates and appear to be doing their job. Unfortunately, serious crimes have been committed in this town and remained unsolved. Missoula voters saw through the politics and took measures into their own hands.

"The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana." --Norman Maclean

Saturday, November 04, 2006


With elections fast approaching in Nicaragua, the US is MIGHTILY concerned that their old nemisis, Daniel Ortega, appears to be in a position to clinch the victory. So , in an act of such blatant hypocricy one has to wonder what these fools are smoking, the usual assortment of conservative congressmen, state department lackeys and pundits are directly interfering in the sovereign internal workings of a countries democratic process. They are intimidating and threatening the voters of Nicaragua through various low down and underhanded means including a threat to block the remittances sent home to families in Nicaragua by members living and working in the States. Remittances play a large role in the economy of this impoverished nation, a further injustice who's structural underpinnings lie in capitalist exploitation and for which I would need another page and a half to rant about.

Suffice to say, when somebody like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez DARES to express support for a candidate in, say, the Peruvian elections, the US oligarchy goes ballistic with charges of "meddling". The "democracy" the US supports is the kind where our handpicked technocrat wins, something like the purple fingered farce in Iraq. The kind of democracy we punish is the kind where less-than neoliberal or War on Terror-friendly candidates come out on top...think Hamas victory in Palestine.