Friday, December 26, 2008

Rachel Maddow vrs The Patriarchy

Rachel Maddow

I have been following Rachel Maddow's lively critique of Pastor Rick Warren, the preacher chosen by Obama to give the invocation at his inauguration. The choice of Warren has caused quite a stir on the left due in large part to the mega-church preacher’s support of California’s proposition 8 banning gay marriage and his likening of gay marriage to incest and pedophilia. Maddow, herself a lesbian, isn’t going to let this slide by without notice.

Pastor Rick Warren

Warren however, isn’t the only Christian leader to make audacious statements about gays lately. Pope Benedict, who not surprisingly, is opposed to gay marriage, recently likened homosexuality to the destruction of the rainforest saying, "The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less." According to Reuters, the pope called behavior beyond traditional heterosexual relations "a destruction of God's work." The pontiff warns that blurring the distinction between male and female could lead to the "self-destruction" of the human race.

Pope Benedict

To thinking people who do not have a stake in upholding the patriarchy, homosexuality and gay marriage are no threats to the human race. In fact, less thoughtless breeding by humans could come as a relief to the rest of the planet and benefit the human race as well. The only thing that is truly threatened by gay marriage is the patriarchy. Homosexuality makes male chauvinists like the pope and pastor Rick Warren squirm. Christianity is a patriarchal religion. If you want to keep women firmly in their place you do not want any blurring of gender distinctions.

Rachel Maddow on msnbc set

Obama has said all along that he wants to bring all Americans together. Choosing Preacher Rick may be a peace offering to all the Americans who loved Sarah Palin. Like it or not a large segment of the American population are bigots. At the same time this choice is a slap in the face to the gay community and an unhappy choice for civil liberties. I for one am enjoying watching the brilliant Rachel Maddow poke holes in the patriarchy with her sharp wit.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Mele Kalikimaha!
Obama Emerging from the Sea

(photoshop - with my apologies to artist Christian Riese Lassen)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Six Random Facts Meme

Naturalist, photographer and blue-haired roller hockey goalie Monika Wieland of the blog, Orca Watcher tagged me for the Six Random Facts meme. You can read more about memes right here. This one is like a party game to get to know fellow bloggers.

Here are the rules to the Six Random Facts Meme:

1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules on your blog.
3) Write six random things about yourself.
4) Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5) Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

A while ago my sister Patty sent me my old Girl Scout Badge Sash. I referred to the merit badges earned in my youth to pick out six random facts about myself.

1. Hey Look! I earned a merit badge for Witchcraft! Actually, I think this one was for outdoor cooking. Those outdoor cooking skills came in handy at the Earth First! base-camp by Dixie, Idaho where I was known to rustle up some grub.

2. I’m not sure what this one was for but it seems to be about the changing seasons. For 20 years I practiced rituals based on the changing seasons with a group of women called Earth Rising.

3. Here’s my happy camper badge. Before my outdoor cooking adventures in Idaho, I left my home on Lopez Island thinking that I was going on a camping road trip for a few weeks. It turned out to be a few years. I called it the camping trip of no return.

4. Ah, the sewing badge. I don’t sew much anymore but at the height of my Luddite back-to-the-land days I sewed my clothes by hand with needle and thread. Those were the best clothes I’ve ever had.

5. The sculpture badge: when I went back to school to complete my bachelor's degree in Fine Art I had to take a sculpture class as a requirement. After I carved my first piece of stone I was hooked. I ended up getting an MFA in sculpture and painting.

6. Finally, the book badge. Two unwritten novels live in my head, Confessions of a Barbarian Priestess, an action adventure revision of Euripides, Medea told in Medea's own voice and Land of the Free, a sweeping saga and historical romance set on San Juan Island during the Pig War era.

Blogs I've Tagged:

Sue at: Gleanings Radio Show
Steve at: My Dog Ate Art
Susan at: Susan Wingate, Writer
Anita at: Thornbush Report
Annie at: Daily Paintings
Mike at: A Bagpipe Journal

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Feng Shui for Prosperity: The Lakshmi Report

Day five of my Prosperity Grounding & Mantra practice and I'm not rich yet. However, the wolves are staying on the other side of the door and maybe for now that is good enough.

Luxury is more than just money. Today I had the luxury of a snow day at home. The same woman who advised grounding and the Lakshmi Mantra for financial well-being also recommended I try Feng Shui for prosperity.

If you stand in your doorway looking into your home the far left corner is your prosperity corner. Things you want there to attract wealth: flowing water, the colors green, red & purple, gems, coins, goldfish, lucky money cats, horses, healthy plants, symbols of prosperity. What you do not want: dirt, grime, broken things, symbols of poverty, kitty litter or clutter.

Yes, she said clutter. My prosperity corner is in my guest-room/art-storage room. Talk about clutter. Today I cleaned this room and set it up as my yoga room, something I've been meaning to do for a long time. I still have a few piles to go through but I'm thinking I should be in pretty good graces with Lakshmi who, according to wikipedia, "Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped by those who wish to acquire or to preserve wealth. It is believed that Lakshmi (wealth) goes only to those houses which are clean and where the people are hardworking. She does not visit the places which are unclean/dirty or where the people are lazy".

In the very corner of my prosperity room I made a prosperity altar. Beach glass and glass floats to symbolise moving water, (flowing energy), Ganesh, the Hindu elephant god to remove obstacles, My footed replica of an ancient Egyptian offering bowl with agates, turquoise, crystals, jade and coins, and my "Keep the Money Coming" post card.

Lucky Jade

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Wars: News From the Front

Billy-Bob Thorton as Bad Santa

“You’d better watch out, get ready to cry,
You’d better go hide, I’m telling you why
‘cuz Santa Claus will take you to hell.
He is your favorite idol, you worship at his feet,
but when you stand before your God
He won’t help you take the heat.
So get this fact straight: you’re feeling God’s hate,

Santa’s to blame for the economy’s fate,
Santa Claus will take you to hell."

Feeling God's Hate? That's Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church's Santa song which also includes the line "Santa's to blame for the dead soldier's fate." The Kansas group has applied for permission to put up their "Santa Claus Will Take You to Hell" sign, where else, but the Washington State capitol rotunda in Olympia. The group, also known for protesting at the funerals of Iraq war soldiers because they believe the war and the deaths are God's punishment for the U.S. condoning homosexuality, held a protest in Olympia on Sunday against the infamous atheist sign currently on display at the capitol along with a Nativity scene and a Holiday Tree.

Kansas Baptists Protesting Atheist Sign at Washington State Capitol

Meanwhile, the Department of General Administration, which oversees the Capitol grounds, declared a moratorium Friday on any pending and future requests to put up displays in the Capitol building. According to Janet Tu of the Seattle Times, "The moratorium applies to Westboro's application, along with pending requests for a Buddhist display, a Jewish banner, a mannequin of Satan holding a statement against atheists and wishing them a merry Christmas, an aluminum pole in celebration of the invented holiday of Festivus, and a "Flying Spaghetti Monster Holiday Display."

A menorah is still scheduled to go up Dec. 21, since that application had already been approved.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Money and Prayer: The Lakshmi Report

The Lakshmi Report - Day 2

I got an email this morning…

Greetings from,
We're writing to let you know that we are having difficulty processing
Visa (exp.xxxx/xx) payment for the above transaction.

A few Christmas presents I was actually going to buy I have now canceled. Having been raised a Christian I wondered momentarily if I was being punished for not shopping locally. Instant Karma? Well no, I’m sure there is a perfectly logical and mathematical reason why my debit card was rejected.

I am so fucked.

Can prayer help?

I remember reading once in the book, Adventures in Prayer, by Christian writer Catherine Marshall that prayer is not some fancy ornate thing. "Prayer" she said, “is a delivery truck”.

Oh Lord, please put the pedal to the metal.

later that morning...

My great fear this morning was a horror of the dreaded cascading bouncing check syndrome. With fear worming around in the pit of my stomach I forced myself to do the grounding meditation and the Lakshmi mantra all 108 times before I went to the bank to check on my account. My prayers were answered! I was not over-drawn! Plus I was able to pick up 50 more of my Christmas cards from the printer on credit until Tuesday. And I still had $17.00 in cash! I went to the market and bought a bunch of bananas and some blueberry jam feeling quite redeemed and prosperous. But I still can not tell...

Is this working or not?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Price of Silence
The track, donated by Aterciopelados and arranged by fusion music guru Andres Levin, combines the voices of Hugh Masekela, Julieta Venegas, Stephen Marley, Angelique Kidjo, Yungchen Lhamo, Aterciopelados, Yerba Buena, Natacha Atlas, Rachid Taha, Kiran Ahluwalia, Chiwoniso and Emmanual Jal with those of U.S. artists Natalie Merchant, and Chali 2Na of Jurassic 5. Introduction by Lawrence Fishburne.

Happy Birthday Emily Dickenson

Emily Dickenson ~ Oil on Canvas
link to artist: Marjolein Vandersluis

I DIED for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?
“For beauty,” I replied.
“And I for truth,—the two are one;
We brethren are,” he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.

Emily Dickenson

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Youtube Prosperity Practice

Prosperity Practice: Update

I found everything I need for this practice right here on youtube.

First, Ground with Starhawk then say the Lakshmi Mantra while watching the images of the goddess of wealth and beauty at full screen on youtube. You have to play the Lakshmi youtube 4 times to get a whole 108 (the magic number) repetitions in. It goes faster without the youtubes but I enjoy the voices, music and images.

Grounding Meditation


Lakshmi Hindu Goddess of Earthly Wealth

Aum Hrim Shri Lakshmi Bhyo Namah

Charm for Attracting Wild Money

Poet Marge Piercy

Charm for Attracting Wild Money

You are the green of Elm leaves in summer.
New you are crisp as filo dough.
Old you are soft as well worn leather.
I will rub my hands with honey
and run through marble lobbies of banks.
I will dance for you strung like a jester with bells tinkling.

Come to me, come to me, come!
I will not keep you in a dark trust fund.
I will not chain you to labor at a mortgage
or harness you to clanking stock issues
but will let you wander free
as an alley cat through the city.

I will turn you out of your cage
to sing arias in the tree tops.
I am not mean but foolishly kind.
You would speedily rejoin others of your species.

Come, oh murmuring swarm,
build your wasp nest in my empty purse.

Marge Piercy

legitimate work worthy of compensation?

I've been wondering lately how I'm going to manage through January & February while I'm laid off from the Whale Museum. I will have no income and as I have been living paycheck to paycheck that means (barring miracles which I am actively encouraging) no money. I really do not want to scrounge around for servant work. I already hate the rich. If I have to pick up their used dental floss from their hairy bathroom floors just to maintain my current level of poverty I fear my resentment will impair me as a human being with a soul.

I decided to surf the internet for artist's grants with full knowledge that even if I found one it is too late to help me through this winter. I didn't find much except I did find some data to support my theory that artists get no respect in terms of work. This from a survey taken by United States Artists.

Lee Krasner ~ Self-Portrait ~ Oil on Canvas

"In a survey of attitudes toward artists in the US a vast majority of Americans, 96%, said they were greatly inspired by various kinds of art and highly value art in their lives and communities. But the data suggests a strange paradox.

While Americans value art, the end product, they do not value what artists do. Only 27% of respondents believe that artists contribute "a lot" to the good of society.

Further interview data from the study reflects a strong sentiment in the cultural community that society does not value art making as legitimate work worthy of compensation. Many perceive the making of art as a frivolous or recreational pursuit."

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Decking the Halls

Capitol Holiday Kids Tree

Here in Washington State everybody likes to participate in decorating this time of year. At the capitol in Olympia tonight they celebrated lighting the Holiday Kids Tree. The tree, sponsored by the Association of Washington Business, is related to a charity drive for needy families and has been a tradition for 18 years. A few years ago a Jewish group added a Hanukkah menorah to the decorations. Following that, a local real estate agent sued when his request to display a Nativity scene was denied. He won his case and the cedar creche with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus was installed. (Hey, where are the shepherds and the wise men and the donkey?) This year the Freedom From Religion Foundation contributed a sign to the holiday decor. The sign reads:

At this season of
may reason prevail.
There are no gods,
no devils, no angels,
no heaven or hell.
There is only
our natural world.
Religion is but
myth and superstition
that hardens hearts
and enslaves minds.

The sign caused considerable comment including from Bill O'Reilly of Fox News who said that "Washington State is ground zero for just about every nutty secular cause on earth." Yeah! I have never been so proud to be a Washingtonian! O'Reilly posted Governor Gregoire's phone number on TV and encouraged people to call her and complain and many have but our governor has defended the atheists' right to display their sign in the Capitol. Then, this morning the sign was stolen only to turn up later at a country radio station in Seattle. The atheists sign is back now, secured and has a slight addition, "Thou shalt not steal."

All the hub bub has generated a new slew of applicants wanting to put their own holiday symbol in the capitol rotunda. Among other applicants, carpenter Jim Buenzli has applied for permission to add a Festivus pole which he plans to install next week.

My only complaint about the atheists sign is that it is not very festive. Yet, I confess I'm not sure how a person would express atheism in a visual metaphor bright and festive enough to cheer us Washingtonians through our dark winter days.

George Washington Bust Flanked by Atheist Sign and Nativity Scene

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Google Is Messing With Me!

Wow, I'm not even sure how I managed to get into my blog just now. I've been relying on the premise that if you put a hundred monkeys in a room full of typewriters something will eventually get written. Somehow I managed to monkey around with my keyboard enough to blunder onto my blog... in spite of Google!

Google has taken over Blogger. But Google does not recognize my username and defaults to a username from a place where I no longer work that I briefly set up a gmail account for. They will send significant information to an email address I no longer have but not to the email I use. Not helpful. When I try to sign in or reset my account I can't because although Google will not recognize my username when I am trying to sign in, when I try to reset my username it tells me, somebody is already using that username. Yes, well, that would be me! That is, if I could sign in..... AAARRRGGGGGG.

I've spent way too much time monkeying around with this. I will now be taking a little break from blogging until Google gets the bugs worked out of taking over Blogger.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Michelle Obama’s Inaugural Ball Gown?

Isaac Mizrahi sketch for Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama.

What will Michelle wear to the Inaugural Ball? For a fun look through fashion sketches as designers vie for the honor and prestige of designing the gown go to Women's Wear Daily for a slide show of fashion drawings.

Check Out all 35 fashion sketches at: WWD

Chado Ralph Rucci sketch for Michelle Obama.