2.24.2005

Desmond Tutu ROCKS

I have to get this down before I go to work so I won't forget:

I stopped by a little local nursery on the way home and bought more herbs. Since I'm currently broke, I raided the piggy bank for quarters to buy them. :) This time: rosemary, thyme, lavendar and arugula. Yeah!

As I ate my lunch of lentil soup and cheese toast, I listened to Democracy Now. They placed a portion of Tutu's acceptance speech at Fordham University for his honorary degree of Human Letters. Last month, I saw him being interview by John Stewart on The Daily Show, and was completely impressed by his incredible mix of realism and unflagging hope in humanity.

Today, as I listened and the tears rolled down my face, I began to understand how he has become such a revered figure. He spoke about South Africa and its struggle for freedom; he spoke about defense budgets ("death budgets" he called them) and how only a fraction of that money could completely cure hunger and homelessness around the world. He spoke about the Arab and the Jew and the family of God. He told jokes. And he appeared on The Daily Show- how cool is that? What other Nobel Peace laureate would do such a thing?

It was not his words that struck me, although those were inspiring by themselves. It is the incredible humor and strength in his voice. Preach on, brother Tutu.

2.23.2005

This poet’s résumé

Or, The Things I’ve Done for Money

I’ve:

crunched numbers

saved spreadsheets

peddled plants

brokered books

cleaned cages

scooped ice cream and squeezed lemonade

delivered drinks and dinner

swung a hammer

laid some tile

dug a hole

planted a tree

danced topless

attempted to enlighten indifferent adolescents

Sold:

kitchen knives

drugs

words by the quarter

my books

my CDs

my car

my vintage black velvet dress that made me look like a movie star

Answered the phone and:

sold tickets for motivation (it’s a great day at Peter Lowe International My name is Beth how may I help you?)

been called a stupid cunt (not a great day at Peter Lowe International, but at least it was my last)

transferred executives

gave advice about rotten roots

listened to the tenant’s 4am complaint about her Vesuvius toilet, then called the plumber

solved the problem

I’ve been a handywoman and a horticulturalist (you can take a whore to culture, but you can’t make her--- stop me if you heard this one…)

I’ve been a banker, teacher, waitress, dancer, and an ice-cream scooper

But the best job I ever had was the one that paid me no money and cost me no pain.

2.22.2005

egb Posted by Hello

Magdala

What follows is an essay that I originally wrote on June 2, 2001. This predates two things that upon rereading and reflection give me the freakin' willies: 9/11 and The DaVinci Code.

As a further preamble to this essay, it might be useful to know that the Saturday night before 9/11, I was cleaning out files in our office, and I was throwing out ream after ream of obsolete records. I was suddenly and potently smacked in the brain with an astonishing sense of remorse, and this thought: "What if this is it? The end of all?" I just as suddenly dismissed the idea as not a little ridiculous.

The following day was a football Sunday, and it being the Buc's only superior season in two decades, we were going to some friends' house to watch the game. It was pouring rain in sheets. As we came off the expressway and up to the first light, I was suddenly and completely overwhelmed with fear, remorse, and horror. I burst into uncontrollable sobs and began babbling to Charles about what fear I had about Ariel Sharon and his policies in the Gaza Strip and the Arab world hating us so much and what could we possibly do about it. Charles was aghast and sternly told me to get a hold of myself before we got to our friend's house. I managed to, somehow, but I was still confused about why I would have such a bizarre outburst, a propos of nothing. We had not been having a conversation about geopolitics at the time, just innocuous football chat.

Two days later, driving to my job at Citibank, I was listening to NPR Morning Edition. They were announcing that W was in Florida promoting his No Child Left Behind Act, and began playing part of some W speech. It was 8:11 a.m. I switched off the radio in disgust, not wanting to hear his voice, and so disgusted, I didn't even want to hear music. I arrived to work twenty-five minutes later. I arrived at my desk, went to get some of the bleak breakroom coffee and chat with my boss, and by the time I returned, I saw Angelo standing at his cubicle with tears rolling down his face. He had family in NYC. I can't even remember Angelo's last name, but I will always remember that he was the one who told me that a plane had struck one of the towers of the World Trade Center. We went home early that day and a week later a hurricane rolled through- not bad, but enough to make me aware that we now lived a lot closer to the water in South Tampa.

Anyway, without further ado, here's my June 2, 2001 essay:

2,001 years of history since the resurrection of Christ?

What if during that 2,001 years a cover-up: the Magdalene was the Beloved Disciple of Jesus? A jealous Peter became the rock upon which the Church was built, a Church which spent a good deal of its time and energy making an especial argument that women were not fit vessels for God or mankind, instead a cesspool of corruption, to be avoided at penalty of your very soul.

Jesus never spoke such words, and yet. And yet. Jesus loved the women in his life, and lifted them up. And yet. And yet. Women and men died by the hundreds of thousands for being witches and warlocks. What if, I ask, those women and men were not evil at all, nor even non-Christian, nor even Satanic, but people who believed in the teachings of Christ as the first true democrat, Christ and his Beloved Disciple as the First Couple. The first couple to heal the breach that bred hatred of womankind and woman’s fear of man. To heal the breach of gender that is the binary code of our species’ creation.

The disappointment of the Magdalene as she realized the her Lord’s teachings were being undermined even before her generation died out. Undermined for the sake of her apostle brother Peter’s envious soul. He could not stand the thought of Jesus loving her more than him, than the other disciples. Not even worthy of life, as he supposedly proclaimed in the Book of Thomas, taken from the Nag Hammadi Corpus found in 1945.

Is it coincidence that these documents were found after hundreds of thousands of Jews, gays and other “undesirables” were exterminated in World War II? 2,000 years after the initial cover-up, new evidence comes to light that subverts the doctrine of female suppression. Did millions of people have to die for that to happen?

A woman, hero and founder of the greatest faith on Earth?

Isis reborn through her son and lover Osiris. Goddess = Holy Spirit. Osiris become Christ, Christ reborn into the light of the Ess.

Magdalene must have wept to see her hopes dashed. Her Lord and Master lit a fire in her heart, a fire that would bring to all humanity the love of equality and the equalizing force of love. Women have access to the Source, indeed are the Source, as men are the Source. That God is Us, the magnificent US that is only known through union with each other, man and woman, in spirit, not only in procreation.

And yet, before she was martyred herself, she knew that her Lord’s teachings would be corrupted and the full Word would be unknown. How convenient that the four pages of her revelations of Christ’s words to the apostles are missing from the Nag Hammadi Corpus. They rejected her words, asking how could Jesus reveal things to her and not to them. Did Christ fear that his disciples would desert him if he revealed it to them? Did he confide those revelations to her alone so that she would recognize him when he was Risen? Did he have such faith in the Magdalene and in his disciples that he did not know they would squabble after he was gone?

It is precisely because women have been refused access to the ministry of Christ that so many women turn to other means and ways of accessing the source of divinity in ourselves. What if there had been no cover-up? What if Mary Magdalene’s place in the beginning Church had been accepted, if her position as teacher and minister and founder of the Church had been allowed? Why has patriarchy done men and women both the disservice of denying a woman’s place at the altar?

Kali reborn among our century. In her more terrible aspect, she might resemble Satan, the divine adversary to beset humankind, to test humanity’s limits. Kali, bringer of destruction and wrath

Athena, in guise of and in aid of mankind, moreso than a hope to womankind. Craftiness. Spiderwebs. Aegis, strength divine.

Artemis/Diana, huntress and lover of animals, not necessarily virgin, but definitely a maid on her own. Mary, mother of Christ, also a maid, not necessarily a technical virgin. If the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit = Goddess, then..... Mary a vessel for the Ess’ child.

Inanna, bitch-Goddess reaping what she sowed. Ishtar Astarte demons become because denied their rightful place. Eris welcomes destruction under her feet.

It is time for the divine Family to step forth and for us allow the divine Parents to assume their rightful place. Mother, Father, Child. We are all children of the universe/god/goddess. Every last one. Each time this knowledge is suppressed and the Logos is burned, this knowledge must be relearned by the entire species. Why are the four pages of J’s revelations to Magdala missing from the Nag Hammadi library? What was so inflammatory about them?

It is time to rework the tapestry that has come unraveled. Unraveled because it was not woven correctly in the first place. It denied the great parenthood of creation. 01 binary code gives the perfect solution. You could not encode the information without the 0 or the 1. The zero the red egg and the one the fastest sperm zygote blessed be savior come. It must be both or none at all. But none and one together make all.

There is a legend in the Eastern Orthodox church that Mary Magdalene held an egg and it turned red. Another legend, in China, originating on Dragon Boat Day, says that on 12 noon of Dragon Boat Day, if you can make an egg stand on end, you will have good luck for the rest of the year. Lining up the zero with the one. A line and a circle creates the entire geometry of the universe.

Understand this, love is gravity and gravity is love. Holds the planet together and us on it. We must understand it to travel the universal highway or we will never get off the planet.

Just over the horizon.


Cayman Islands, April 2004. This was the view from the balcony hammock of our condominium on remote part of the island. How lovely it was. We were unbelievably lucky honeymooners. Posted by Hello

2.21.2005

Day 42: The meaning of life

"We may know what we are, but not what we may be."
Hamlet, Shakespeare

Hunter Thompson shot himself last night.

I woke up to hearing that report on the radio; Charles has his alarm set to NPR (very loud), so Morning Edition comes blaring into the bedroom every morning at 640 a.m. My first thought, which I said outloud in a hoarse voice was "I don't want it to be Monday yet."

This sentiment was confirmed when I got up and went into the kitchen. While filling the coffee pot, I looked out my eastern kitchen window and saw the sunrise. Pale blue sky was streaked with pink and orange sherbet clouds and bolts of sunlight shot through the trees into the dewey air. I definitely do not want to go sit inside at a desk on a day that starts with that kind of beauty.

I know that the human world is flawed, sometimes horrific (more often than it should be) and tragically ridiculous. But on this Monday morning as I sit here at my dining room table in the morning sunshine with a delightful cup of coffee and the dogs at my feet, it is easy to ignore it all, even after waking up to hearing that HST shot himself. Which was of course followed by all kinds of bad news from elsewhere in the world. I'm sorry Hunter is gone. He had important things to say, and his perspective will be missed.

But over the radio's stream of reports on humanity's shortcomings, I can hear the mourning doves rustling in the oak leaves, a dog barking in the distance, squirrels battling it out and a bird singing from the overgrown ficus tree in the south part of our yard. The morning sunshine is lighting up my house with great cheer and fills me with hope. I feel like it is important to note these things- we all know what the bad news is, and it is easy to forget that there is still beauty and loveliness in the world. I am paying attention.

But it is still Monday and I still have to go to work. I promise to hold onto that magic that greeted my eyes when I opened my front door to the dawn.

2.20.2005


The finest women in all the world standing in one place. Posted by Hello

Dorothy and Bill Brackman, date unknown, but sometime in the late 1940's. My paternal grandparents.

Dorothy Brackman (nee Dorothy Boykin) was a fan of the movie star Barbara Stanwyck, who was later in the Western TV show Big Valley.

Mimi, as my brother Trey and I called her, died of breast cancer when I was five. This was back in the 1970's, when the medical establishment believed that preventing addiction to narcotics was more important than alleviating a terminal patient's pain. She died in unbelievable pain.

One of my only memories of her was of her laying on her couch as my brother and I left our grandparents' house. In her typical fashion, she winked at us, giving us a little "chick chick" sound as we left.

Many many years later, I think it was near Thanksgiving in the late '90's, I was watching the movie Fireball on Turner Classic Movies. Barbara Stanwyck plays a streetwise dance hall queen who happens to also be a gangster's moll. In an attempt to hide from the authorities to protect her gangster fiance, she hides out in the boarding house of a band of professors who are working on the latest edition of an American encyclopedia.

Gary Cooper plays a professor who is working on an entry in the encyclopedia on recent American slang, and brings in Barbara Stanwyck's character in order to study her use of slang. In one scene, she is alone in the bachelor pad. As all of the elderly gentlemen encyclopedia writers pour into the room where she is adjusting her stockings, she flirtatiously hoists her leg up onto a chair, looks at the elderly professors and then winks, giving that same little "chick chick" my grandmother gave to me and my bother, to the gentlemen, who are flabbergasted.

As I watched that scene, I was transported back to a time long before my grandmother's suffering. I saw a moment in time that she enjoyed, and was inspired by it. It was like reliving one of her own memories. Posted by Hello

Frank and Ruth Lovell, September 20, 1947: my maternal grandparents on their wedding day Posted by Hello

White Sands, NM April 2003: Kelly took the original picture and then I played around on photoshop to get the sandwriting to show up better. Posted by Hello

Clearwater Beach, February 2004: Charles and I went to the hotel where we were going to be married and he snapped this picture of my toes at early sunset. Posted by Hello

Little sister Julia- she tasted the RAINBOW! Posted by Hello

Day 41 2005: after the Rockabilly Ruckus

Wow.

Rockabilly music is just plain good fun. A little country, a little Elvis, a little punk. The blend makes for infectiously fun music. I'm a fan.

Last night, after a gorgeous 70 degree, sunny breezy day of playing in the dirt, I went with my husband to the Rockabilly Ruckus, hosted by our local community owned and run radio station, WMNF. It was held at Skipper's Smokehouse, a local seafood dive with a great outdoor stage and audience area under the trees.

The bands were completely awesome. I danced until quite literally my legs and feet ached and drank beers until I peed like a racehorse.

Hot Rod Walt and the Psychodevilles
lean over into the psychobilly category from time to time (aka punkabilly). Being the wild woman I am, the lead singer's wife, also the band's photographer, pointed at me while I was whipping around at the front of the stage during a particularly wild set and asked me to come on stage. So there is now photographic evidence of my latent bandwhore tendencies- even got a free tshirt (thanks guys!) for my efforts. If you don't believe me, go to the website in the next few days and check it out for yourself.

Slip and the Slipknots
played traditional rockabilly with a classic country feel to it. Very very talented.

Cigar Store Indians also traditional rockabilly- but they are just the slightest bit insane- especially the lead singer. I was right up front for that set too. They played a tribute "Ring of Fire" to Johnny Cash, when Charles finally joined me up in the throng. They slipped easily from this into the Ramones of all things (Hey Ho Let's Go!), during which a slight mosh pit broke out and a poor aging hippy woman practically got trampled. WMNF, you see, being our truly local, truly community owned and run radio station, is home to all the hippies who are still living their dreams, and unfortunately for this woman last night, she ran into the hard rumbling truth of our generation's tendency towards brawling at wild concerts. She was unharmed, except for her humor. All's well that ends well though:

The Dempseys, a mad trio of drummer, bassist and guitarist (but they all switch around and play each other's instruments, and the guitarist also plays the trumpet) all but brought the house down with their INCREDIBLE playing and onstage insanity. Oh my God. Truly, if you ever get a chance to see these psychobilly extraordinaires, do so. Out of Memphis TN, these guys are literally one of the best bands I've ever seen play- regardless of genre. They climb on the acoustic bass, they play a double-necked guitar simultaneously, and they do tribute to all the great guitar players in a 10 minute medley that is a show all on its own. But their talent on their instruments is really unsurpassed.

I am grateful that I get to enjoy such excellent performances from such talented musicians. What a night. The ache in my legs is gone this morning, and I escaped the hangover I should by all rights have at this point. Came away with two tshirts and two new CDs instead. Life is good.

I'm going to go play in the dirt again today.

Much love to all.

2.19.2005

Day 40 2005: Valentine's Day is bad for dogs

Valentine's Day can be hazardous to your dog's health.

After a week of the flu, I had finally started feeling like a normal human being again by Monday the 14th. I actually went to work that day, but didn't work too late- I did, however, wear a bright pink sweater in honor of the manufactured holiday. A day for Hallmark and FTD, really, more than the rest of us. Charles and I decided that our anniversary was more meaningful, it being our specific day. (It was also the day Ford released the first Mustang in 1963, which I take as a good omen.)

In spite of our collective cynicism- Charles, sweetness, in an effort to outshine all his colleagues' spouses (several of his coworkers are married women, many of them recently) made dinner for me. This consisted of seared sushi-grade tuna encrusted with sesame seeds for an appetizer, which was followed by caesar salad, lobster tail (oh oh oh I do love lobster tail), t-bone steak, green beans and a side of angel hair with alfredo sauce. Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon topped it off, along with a vase of bright red tulips- because "roses are fucking boring" in his words.

I'm getting to the part where Valentine's Day hazardous to your dog's health. Caution: this won't be pretty.

Charles, sweet chef, made enough food for a family of six. This is par for the course when he cooks. I, in spite of my plumpness, (which has much more to do with having sat on my ass in front of computer for the last 5 years than binging), am not a big eater. By the time I'd eaten the lobster tail, which was half the size of my arm, the salad, seven green beans, two bites of pasta and two bites of steak, I was disgustingly full. So the rest was leftovers.

Tuesday for lunch I had leftover pasta- not as good heated up in the microwave, but hey, it was fast and cheap and I got to eat at home in the peace and quiet.

Wednesday I had cream of wheat for lunch. I know, but it's comfort food and Wednesday sucked.

Thursday I had more leftover pasta, and pulled out the t-bone and ate it cold with worchestershire sauce. Since Loki got Charles' leftover t-bone on Monday night, I thought it was only fair that Maggie get my leftover t-bone Thursday. She seemed quite delighted.

Alas- we come to the ugly part. Friday morning I departed for work at my first office around 810am. There wasn't much to do at LHC's office, so I left around 1120 and arrived home at 1130 to discover that the poor dog had explosive diarreah inside her kennel crate. Loki, who has almost never relieved himself in the house, pissed all over the floor next to the sofa- I am guessing in distress over Maggie's plight. It was a sight and smell to behold. I hadn't eaten breakfast that morning, and was pretty hungry, so my nose was particularly sensitive at that point.

Maggie started out life a street dog, skinny and seriously undernourished. She was found by some good samaritan in the middle of very large and busy Tampa intersection and was taken to the humane society, where we picked her up only a few days after her incarceration. She is, I suspect as a result of this very early malnourishment, a bit soft in the head. To which Charles usually replies, "Ebeth, she's an idiot." She is also wont to relive her streetlife in the house at times, and has a tendency to go AWOL any chance she gets. If we lived in the country or even the suburbs, this wouldn't be a problem. But we live in a very compact neighborhood in the city limits very near two busy multiple lane roads, so I panic every time she gets loose. As she has a tendency to piss or shit on the floor on occasion, we have kept her kenneled when we leave for the day.

Friday the kennel was carefully carried outside and hosed off during my lunch break. The, uh, rest of the mess that was deposited outside the kennel in a three foot radius around the front entrance of the house was another matter and pretty much ruined my appetite for the day. As the kennel was now outside, wet and drying off in the sunshine, I decided to barricade the dogs in the front entrance (linoleum floor) in case Maggie was still in the process of being ill.

She was.

I came home from my afternoon shift at BLM's office around 7pm to find that Loki had hidden himself behind Harry's chair, and sort of under our bikes, which are in the foyer next to Harry's chair (Harry is Charles' late grandfather on his mom's side, and who gave us a lazyboy recliner many years ago). I saw him first and then slipped and almost fell as I came in, since the mess was directly in front of the door. Maggie was standing with her butt in the farthest corner of the foyer, with a bizarre expression on her face.

Sigh.

Poor dog. Poor Ebbie.

More cleanup.

Oxyclean, antibacterial soap, the last of the papertowels, three pairs of latex gloves, open windows and four hard ciders later, I was feeling swell.

Charles had beers with coworkers last night and arrived home long after all this had taken place, so he got the story and a faint whif of the day's adventures. He was buzzed, and I was buzzed, and we chatted for an hour or so, then fell asleep together on the couch. He says I drooled on him. I didn't drool. The phone rang and woke us up around 1030, at which time we ignored the phone and went to bed- partiers, we are no longer. Gone are the days of clubbing until 4 am. Now, we are buzzed after a few beers/ciders and alseep before 11 on a Friday night.

Charles snored like a goddam freight train last night, and I had strange dreams all night, so I didn't sleep particularly well. Around 515 Loki began wimpering, so I got up and let the dogs out and couldn't go back to sleep.

So, now I sit at my newly assembled dining room table (purchased a couple of weeks ago to fill up the dining room which has been devoid of furniture for a year- but that's another story), drinking lovely, rich dark Peruvian organic coffee and wait for the sun to come up.

On my way home last night, I decided to go to the Home Despot and pick up some topsoil, peat moss and a new hose (the connector of my old one broke yesterday during the cleanup). The dirt is to fill in the large sand pit created by the dogs over the last two years. When I say sand, I don't mean the lovely white sand you get at the beaches a half hour from here. I mean filthy gray sand that tracks its way into my house daily and covers every surface and makes my housekeeping a nightmare. So, this morning, as soon as it is light enough for me to see by- not long from now- I am going to begin filling this hole.

I am going to pick up grass plugs and mulch as well- and I guess some orange temporary fencing to barricade the canines from the area so it will have a chance to fill in and become green again.

Ah, life with dogs.

So, moral of the story is that Valentine's day can be hazardous to your dog. Okay, not necessarily VDay, but t-bones. Loki was undamaged by his bone, but bones are now on Maggie's verboten list. We stopped feeding them Beneful dogfood a while ago, because Maggie was disgustingly flatulent as a result, which often was bad enough to have to evacuate the area for at least ten minutes. A sensitive constitution she has, poor creature.