Saturday, August 30, 2008

Stop and Think Before You Vote

I started this as a comment on BlogHer about the selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican VP but I seem to have a lot more to say so I copied my response and additional thoughts.

Yes, it is historical. Yes the options have appeared to expanded. I understand about the pull of representation and having your issues heard, supported and verified. I will not be so foolish as to try to argue against that pull.
Obama Hope T-Shirt
I saw a young African-American teenager wearing an Obama t-shirt. Not a "Thug-Life" or "OG Heaven" but a political t-shirt. I was in an elevator with a tv-caption service and a white male was beaming when he read the news post on Palin.

McCain T-shirt
I'm reading the BlogHer comments and conservative BlogHers who have never posted before are engaged. But that is not what this election is about.

For the next 4 to 8 years this president/vp team will direct and influence the affairs of the U.S. We owe China, Japan and other countries up the ying-yang in borrowed money. Our overseas reputation is shot to hell. We have a crumbling infrastructure in the delivery of electricity, roads, health care and the 100+ year old pipes under the street. Oh, yeah let's not forget the multiple ecological concerns.

We are adults that vote .

Part of that responsibility is to know beyond the surface who you are voting for and why and to articulate that to others. Get a grip folks.

Beyond Palin being a woman or Obama being of African-American decent tell me why we are to entrust the country to one of the candidates. Break it down to me and others that you meet.

I really don't care if you are Anarchist, Liberal, Independent or Conservative or Libertarian. You say you love this country? Then show that love by being an informed voter. Not by Fox, CNN or your favorite partisan blog. Go to each of the candidates' web sites and read for yourself what is and is not being stated. Understand what has been done and what is at stake.

Know what you want for this country and match that up against the stated positions. Can you live and accept what they propose? This is no joke! This is the real deal here and folks need to step up and chant more than "Change" or "Party Unity My Ass, I Wanted Hillary".

We cannot keep being willfully stupid Americans. Anti-intellectualism really does not work for the long term health of the country.

And by anti-intellectualism I mean not checking out information for yourself, that you leave it to mainstream media to tell you what is and is not true. If you need help go to the library and ask a librarian about information on learning about the candidates. The good ones can hook you up with multiple resource in a variety of formats.

Over the next few weeks I think I'll start posting some of the online resources but don't vote stupid. No matter who you vote for I'm begging you first make sure that you are registered and second know with your mind and heart that this is the correct thing to do.

I need to hug a tree or something.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Gladys Knight on the Finally Friday Freakout

I have been wrapping myself in musical blankets. They are my talisman and my touch points to how I have move though time. A good friend of mine said that I would be moving though a lot of emotions for the next few months.

I’ve put up a calm exterior for about a week but when I saw him I just crumbled. He understands me and told me to let it be, just accept what comes and work through as best I could. Sometimes life is just hard work.

I ate a pint of fat free sorbet. I normally don't do that but I wanted some and thought it would plug a hole. It tasted good but it didn't hit the spot. So for my first selection I'm pulling up "I Really Got To Use My Imagination".

Because I do.

When I was little I wished I looked like Gladys. Nobody questioned how beautiful she was, her voice beyond measure and nobody ever gave her grief about her hair. Long or short, Afro or straight is was Gladys Knight’s voice that shut folks up long enough to listen.

Plus she had those Pips surrounding her and that was so cool.

I don't look like Gladys. I am good with it but it took time. Can't sing my way out of a re-enforced bucket. Don't matter cuz I sing to myself anyway. It is time for me to move on and move forward.

But still there are flashbacks. There will be for some time.

Ms. Knight put a serious hurting on the Boys II Men classic End of the Road. I didn't know about this version of the song but I know that when Gladys re-interprets a song she goes all out.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Neuroanatomy, Samadhi and Universal Consciousness

Sometimes I write too much because I don’t want folks to miss anything. I don’t want to be accused of telling parts of the story. Then there are times when I know I can’t begin to convey the inspiration and knowledge that has been graciously given from one person to another.  One of my purposes on the planet is being a conduit for information so I have to make the effort even if I fall a little short of the goal.

Neuroanatomy is the study of the anatomy of nervous tissue and the nervous system.  Many of you have heard about Jill Bolte Taylor. If you never heard of her it is ok. Jill studies the functions of the brain in regard to the nervous system and its functions. I found out about her remarkable presentation at TED a few months ago. 

This is a 20 minute presentation where Jill first talks about the brain and the left and right hemispheres.  She then talks about having a stroke and, well I’ll let her tell you about her travels.



In her presentation Jill talks about the energy source that she was able to tap into with the right side of her brain.

“And at first I was shocked to find myself inside of a silent mind. But then I was immediately captivated by the magnificence of energy around me. And because I could no longer identify the boundaries of my body, I felt enormous and expansive. I felt at one with all the energy that was, and it was beautiful there.”

The energy led her to “an alternate plane” where everything and everyone is connected, total love, acceptance and all understanding embrace your being. Her left side of her brain was analyzing her condition:

“Then all of a sudden my left hemisphere comes back online and it says to me “Hey, we got a problem, we gotta get some help.”

Talk about the duality of the mind/spirit.

Now for those that do not believe in Spirit or alternative realms of consciousness, not to worry.  Perhaps this was a function of brain chemistry that is invoked when a serious trauma occurs to the body and the mind. The word dopamines did come up in her presentation. If you checked out the video you can stop reading now because I may bring in elements of the woo-woo factor.

This is not an unknown experience. For the record, you don’t have to have a stroke to get to that level of universal consciousness.  There is a concept in Buddhism called Samahdi. Spiritual teach Sri Chinmoy offers this explanation of

“There is no mind; there is only infinite peace and bliss. There nature's dance stops, and the knower and the known become one. There you enjoy a supremely divine, all-pervading, self-amorous ecstasy. You become the object of enjoyment, you become the enjoyer and you become the enjoyment itself.”

Some folks access this state by prayer. Some by intense meditation. Other may find themselves in the middle of a forests or an ocean enveloped by a peace unknown to them in their city life.  You can’t force it to come to you, it just does. Barefoot Bhaki has a good explanation:

“I’m laughing, thinking that Samadhi is something that we can work our way into, like a 10 step plan or big formulaic equation. I have no control over those moments, they just happen to me.  When I am in that little moment of bliss and understanding, I don’t experience any clinging to it. It passes away and as consciousness returns, it seem natural to just smile and move on.”

Krishna at Deciphering Spirituality uses poetry to try to convey the experience of Samadhi

I can see both the scientific and the universal connections to the energy plane. I don’t have to chose but the questions and the possibilities are overwhelming. I resonated very much with the video.

It made it hard to go to the Salt mine and pretend to be a drone.  I know there is something more.

More Science Less Samadhi

Lizzie at Madam Fathom has reams of stuff on understanding the biological basis of the mind.

Shelly at Retrospectacle, A Neuroscience blog takes a look at a bit of history on how the ancestors looks at brains.

Want a little philosophy mixed in with your brain studies?  How about neuroanotomical gender differences in the brain?

Want to know if you are a left brain or right brain person. Just for fun over at Blogthings you can take a quiz to find out which side has dominance.

For those studying anatomy, particularly brain anatomy, here is a little help from our friends Pinky and the Brain.

More Samadhi Less Science

Magda at Journey of My Mind writes about taking a Philosophy of India class that somehow joins the words Samadhi and Yogi Bear.

As I mentioned there are many paths to try to reach Samadhi. Aligning with Grace has a listing of Yoga Sutras from the Alberto Villoldo's Yoga, Power, and Spirit: Patanjali the Shaman.

This was originally posted on BlogHer.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

RickRoll Barack Style - Never Gonna Give You Up

I tried not to do this. Really. I am still meditating on what is best for the country and I commit to no candidate as yet. But this made me smile and I do like to see men dance.



If an equally well done version can be show of the other candidates for President I will post it. It can't be mean spirited but if it is funny I'll think about it. I make no promises.

I ain't running for nothing but a bus. And yeah, I like Rick Astley!
Hat Tip/LibraryStuff.net

That Certain Hour and One Second Beyond

It is funny when famous people die, particularly if we had affection for them it is a community shared event. Everyone knows how the other feels, we have a level of pain but we stand on the shore and give our respect and props to the departed.

My mother has passed. This is what African Americans say when someone has died. It means that her spirit has transitioned to the next plane of existence. Some call it Heaven. Other call it Glory. Universal Consciousness. To my Atheist and Agnostic friends she is no more.

About maybe five years ago, before Internet video really took off there was Flash animations. One of my favorite was from Diego Maclean. It was called Hora Certa.

Man running from DestinyIt is about a man trying to outrun his death. It was his destiny when he was born but most of us want to renege on the deal.

Some of us after having hard times in this life start to chase death. Most of the time he is not ready for us unless we really convince him we want to go. If you watch the animation you will see me, I got stuff to do and I'm moving a fast as I can before tall, dark and gruesome lays hands on me.

I'm processing a lot of sensations right now. I'm almost back but I have been altered. How shall I go forth? What did I learn or is this really some kind of bio-chemical joke?

No, I don't belief life is just a bio-chemical joke it is just that we waste so much time on hurtful, wasteful things when we could spend the time being authentic, nurturing the planet, being respectful and yada, yada, yada.

As I was flying back over the country I looked at the Colorado mountains. Beautiful, there were colors in the rocks and black lacing ribbons embracing the mountains. And unless we get cold blooded stupid nothing I experience will last longer than the beauty of those mountain.

That helps but still...

Diego has moved on to do live video and promotional videos for a variety of clients. You can check out his portfolio.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Issac Hayes on the Finally Friday Freakout

I'm a little bit older this week. There are tributes and memories all over the land this week. Issac's music wasn't Motown. He was a major force in Stax Records. Issac was straight up R&B but he also incorporated orchestrations. However the violins, organ and other accents never overpowered or diluted the music. You came to it as it was, it was not filtered or for mass consumption.

No disrespect to Motown intended. This is a condensed for television video of Walk On By. Those in the know understand that for the full effect you must soak yourself in the entire album. I wish I could have seen him perform but I was just way too young.

 

Long before he went solo he worked with David Porter to create signature tunes for Sam and Dave a pound of stuff for The Soul Children and influenced three or more generations of music and musicians. Major props to Mr. Porter who is an excellent songwriter/performer in his own right.

You could not  live on the east coast and not know of Issac Hayes or David Porter. I don't have anything new to tell you. No words of wisdom.

Bernie Mac said a year before he passed he wanted to kick back and enjoy his family and the blessings of his hard work. Bernie knew what what important and I'm sad he wasn't able to live that part of his dream.

Randy Pausch rocked the world academically to tell you to live to your vision and potential and not let other people's expectations block your path. That man had a knock down dragged out fight with cancer and I'm not sure that Randy lost the fight as much as he was victorious in planting a million seeds of inspiration.

I'm just hoping that nobody else I know makes his or her final exit.

Space it out folks.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dyslogistic Speech – Are You A Woman?

I was sitting at a table sipping tea when I heard a man say to another, “You know he’s a little b**tch, right?” Um, gee what was he trying to say? That the man was gay? That the man expressed feelings? Perhaps the person in question was on the rag, metaphorically speaking.

Not the first time I’ve heard men using the B-word to refer to another man in such a manner. Dyslogistic speech is a word or group of words used to express disapproval or intended as an insult. Now any word could be a pejorative term so context is extremely important. Here is an example:

There are many women who surf the net, read blogs or write them. But they talk about frivolities…well they shouldn’t. If more of them talked about serious things, their impact will increase.

You can read the full context of the quote from a comment over at Salon but you get the idea. No “bad words” were used but the writer seems to suggest that all women bloggers do is talk of frivolities. We could ship him/her pounds of paper on our BlogHer discussions about healthcare, politics, race, gender, identity issues, and concerns about the planet.

But because we (female) people do it is a considered a “frivolity.” We’ve seen and heard dyslogistic speech so often most of us have developed mental calluses: “the little woman, soccer moms, femnatzi, nappy headed, ball and chain, spinster and on and on. You can find more political examples at the NOW Media Hall of Shame page.

One of the most power ways to combat instances of dyslogistic or pejorative speech is to educate. Girl_Thesis is doing just that by posting her final thesis on how the word “girl” is used as an insult for male and females in the English language.

Dale Spender, an accomplished linguist, has written in the past about a ‘semantic rule’ that she notices in English. This ‘rule’ entails that words that are marked for the female gender will develop negative meanings over time, regardless of their original definitions. I found that girl was no exception to this rule. In 1668, girl was considered to be an offensive term used to refer to maid servants, irrespective of their age.

This usage remained for a long time, possibly up until the 1950s, as evidenced in the film Corrina, Corrina, in which the middle-aged maid (played by Whoppi Goldberg) is called a girl, and is so insulted that she quits her job. By the early 1700's, girl was being used as a term of reference for sex workers. In the 1800's, girl became a word used to insult black women, such as in A.W. Tourgee’s 1879 written work, “you must remember that all colored women are ‘girls’.”

By 1921, the term girlie (a variation on the word girl) was used to refer to naked women or women in erotic contexts, such as a girlie magazine, or a girlie show. In 1986, effeminate males were referred to as girls in order to insult them, especially in sports.

Smart Like Me takes on Thesaurus.com and expands the discussion about the association with gender and words. Diane Teagarden has a long opinion post with examples and citations of The Socialization of Sexism. Diane does bring up interesting examples. I don’t agree with all of them but at least she is trying to codify the ones that she perceives as being consistently displayed in our society.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that sexist words and concepts hurt women. Men folk don’t fair all that well either. Renee at Feminocracy wants us to consider that:

When we socialize boys to view femininity as a pejorative, not only do they learn to demean women, they learn that to be associated with anything that is deemed female is to be considered an inadequate male.

So the next time you read or hear some numb-nut troll proudly extol the superiority of his existence because he is not (god forbid) female, doesn’t knit or hasn’t a clue where the kitchen is or how to feed himself without some woman to help him then this is what you do.

I want your to read Melissa at Shakesville's post on Sexism and Mysoginst Language.  And then give the bugger a (vocal) raspberry.

This post is also posted at BlogHer.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Mae West on the Finally Friday Freakout

What do any of us know, really? There is truth. There are the facts. Just when you think you know something or someone up pops the hot breath of fate blowing across your tracks and bada-bing, you don’t know nothing.

When the most importing political voice of the week concerning the U.S. presidential campaign is well, Paris?

A socialite heiress and professional, er...um. Ok, I don't really know what her profession is but she seems to make her own money and is not sponging off of maw and paw.

Blondes seem to be troublesome people. Once upon a time there was another troublesome blonde. She was provocative, her interest appeared to be of a prurient nature and she stirred up the men folk like Beyonce in line at a Tommy's Burgers 39 cent sale.

From 1935 this is Mae singing and double timing with the guys in a tune called He's a Bad Man but He's Good to Me

Actress, writer, producer and entrepreneur - the dame owned chunks of Hollywood and Los Angeles. She was nobody's puppet and for a good chunk of time Mae yanked the chain of the censors:

"When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before.”

For those of you who would like more info on Mary Jane West please check out her biography at the NNDB and Bombshells.com

I leave you with the trailer from I’m No Angel. Check out that dress she is slinging around :34 seconds into the trailer. Only a women with meat on her hips can wear such a beautiful gown.

“No man can take me, no man can break me.”

Sling it sister, sling it.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Joy Nash - Teach On Sister

This has been said before. Many women have spoken these words but Joy puts it out there with humor, fun and self confidence. Do not let the haters and the size zero marketers get you down, don't shop where you are not wanted and live, baby live!



Personally I wouldn't have called her fat but then I saw a section of the video and yeah, she's got a belly. We ought to make all junior high school girls of all sizes watch this before they look at another episode of anything on the CW.

Um, I just learned it has been up for at least a year with 14,000 comments. I'm always late to the party but at least I got a taste. Rock on Joy!

Forward, my sisters, forward!

Hat tip from Bitch Ph.D

Friday, August 01, 2008

Dean Martin (and Earthquakes) on the Finally Friday Freakout

I did not have to wait until Friday to start freaking out. Yes indeed, earthquakes will get your attention and do so quickly. The newbie Californians have just been official quake-tized and now understand that what you think is true ain't necessarily so.

The earth does move. It shakes. Things that appear solid begin to crack and fall. The word perception is not worth the dictionary it is printed in; there are only intangibles. In the end it is being prepared for the impossible that counts.

Love don't hurt either. And laughter. Your instructor for today is

Here are the usual questions and answers.

Q1. Were you scared?

A1. Hell yeah, I've experienced five or six of the 5.0+ suckers and I functionally spaz out. Meaning I do what I need to do to be safe but I'm verbal about it. Me and the dogs in the neighborhood are your first alert system.

Q2. What does it feel like?

A2. You have two main types of quakes in California - my opinion mind you.

You got those surfing quakes where the ground moves like waves in an ocean. One time I was surfing in a three story brick apartment. I think that was the 1989 San Francisco Quake. Those aren't so bad, kind cool in retrospect.

The other kind is that jackhammer from hell or an inconsiderate lover. Bam, bam, bam, bam BOOM bam, bam, bam. Stuff is flying in the air, the earth is moving and mental clarity has just dived into the nearest closet. You are on instinct.  You are on your own except that your neighbors will look out for you afterward. Part of the unspoken code of living here.

That is with the main quake. You have aftershocks to constantly remind you that you are scared to Perdition and it is a long time before you can tolerate the sound of somebody making popcorn.  Now Mother Nature being a creative dame likes to mix and match so it is never really the same sensation. Each quake has its own identity.

Q3. If it is so bad why do you stay?

A3. Because earthquakes are an excellent reminder that life is not fixed. Change happens no matter what you believe  or what you say you want to happen. It ain’t all about you.

There are other forces at work and you (me) better recognize and respect those forces of nature.  There are things you can do to mitigate the effects but if this was your last day did you live it like you wanted to?

Many folks struggle with that question but quakes are a good motivation tool. Once you get over your bones rattling from the inside out. Besides, I don’t do blizzard anymore. Nope. You can have them.

Q4. Are you prepared for “The Big One”

A4. I have batteries, portable radios, non-battery  and battery flashlights. I have water in storage and dry food. Need to stock up on the can foods but that is doable. I have walking shoes and my music/podcasts on my mp3 player. And CD player.  I even got Spackle(tm) for the cracks. And books. I can’t do this without my books.

Oh, darn, I forgot I have to replace the earthquake wine/champagne. And I will buy a hand cranked emergency shortwave radio this weekend. No more messing around with that, I’ve been meaning to buy one for three years.

So because I care about you I want you to make sure that you have what you need when your personal “Big One” come a knocking on the door. It doesn’t have to be a quake but whatever it is get your stuff straight!

Ready.gov – This was my first quake in an office. I usually have them at home.  Seriously, download and print the emergency checklist so you know what you have to get and where to find it in your home.

SPCA – If you have pets you need to know that quakes are a big freakout inducing event for them. You got to provide for your charges so bone up on what they need too.

United States Geological Services – has a whole page of resources that you should check out before the electricity goes bye-bye.  That’s right. You ain’t gonna be able to Twitter, Plurk or IM your way out of this one.  Hook yourself up before hand and make one of your friends do the same.

People we got to help Dr. Kate Hutton and Dr. Lucy Jones out. They have talked themselves horse trying to get folks informed and prepared. 

Each one teach one.