Saturday, December 20, 2008

qoals, quotes, and quixotic bipolarity

So this public place was to be a place to deep dive on things that distract me. The absence of entries does not directly collolate with lack of distraction.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ample: Star Quality

A tear: I cried on November 4th 2008. So is my tear a good predictor of the power of the play A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration? Probably not, but my tear’s affirmation is.

On November 28, 2008 I was part of the alchemy of the first full run of this plays' world premier at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven. Under the direction of Tina Landau, the creative team engaged me, audience member, in the historically rooted fictionalized events of December 24, 1864.

With austerely orchestrated music, subtly transformational movement navigating precarious staging, a chandelier, an anvil, the communality of coffee and symbolism of gloves; a diverse and talented cast of fourteen embodied ninety characters, both human and animal. Yes, there was a talking horse, potent musical parody, powerfully executed solos, inter-faith choruses, and elevated historical facts & figures from our Civil War History, three wise men, a lost child, a scarcity of trees and a disrobing and much, much more. Three stories were concurrently told, weaved together with seasonal and period music.

The musical celebration is the engine of this storytelling. This work is so abundant with detail, symbolism and intent that this could be under-estimated. An older white male audience member behind me repeatedly described the play as like a high school musical review. However, an older white Canadian male in the audience wondered if this dramatization of America through song could safely be shared south of the Mason-Dixon Line. And the everyman with me said that traditional songs were, for him, infused with new meaning and the parody was on par with the power of late night TV. For me, Oh Christmas Tree will be forever equated with spreading hope and gladness far and wide.

In this play, more suitable for all ages than is her reputation, Pulitzer Prize winning Paula Vogel does not leave risk taking behind. America’s ghosts and the take no prisoners’ tension illuminates some fundamental struggles at the core of our country’s formation as united states. Within the decade of its gestation, this playwright cultivates information about geography, history, music, ideologies, and most critically the under-told stories of the other. The result is an abundance of food for thought for theater-goers potentially for years to come.

  • For those students of theater, exposition of the three stories joined together by song has ample elements to explore. And if non-period references stay in the play after preview week, the pros and cons of the directorial decision on the potential for the story as a classic can certainly be debated.
  • For the fact finders, the weaving of fact and fiction provides ample room for clarification. When did Walt Whitman leave the battlefields? Do mules and horses have pheromones in common? Did Henry Wadsworth Longfellow disapprove of his son Charles fighting in the American Civil War? Were any African–American freeborn at the time of the War? Did Mary Todd Lincoln buy American? This is a random list of question, however, a formidable course-worthy list of questions could be explored.
  • For students of American History, an exploration of the story interconnections could evoke conversation about the building of a national identity, the rise of social movements, and the challenges of social justice.
  • For star gazers, the implicit setting of a star a top of the Christmas Tree with gladness of heart can be the communal coffee of any gathering of family or friends during the Holidays.

If I were asked at intermission, Do you expect to have an emotional response to this play? I would have confidently said NO. However, I was not alone in ultimately feeling a deep fundamental emotional response to both the pain and the hope. Mine was not the only tear. And even if I personally found the unveiled Christmas Tree was over the top and too current in design - I was captured by the implied topping of the tree with a star - I was held prisoner.

I am confident that this story will become annual holiday fare. If your personal economics allow, I strongly urge any student of American Theater to see this production this season.

If I could give a gift to our new President and his family, it would be tickets to this play.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Winning, watching and value…

I need to execute a plan. Decide upon a day. Make a call. Then Experience.

I have had good fortune, as a listener to WSHU Public Radio, to be among those soon to be watching the world premiere of "A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration," written by Paula Vogel The new play opens at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven this week. And as it is with plays, the story will come to life with set design, direction and acting of a team of players and music as this is a musical. Maybe it will be the birthing of a classic as is the aspiration; or another view of the man Lincoln and his inspirations. Whatever the outcome, I feel blessed to have won tickets. I do regret is that my closest family is on the other side of the world and will not be by my side.

My public access channel is showing a caterpillar feast in incredible close view with an informed narrative. Music is signaling transition to… not very much at all…but it did get my attention. Viewer discretion is advised for this 13 minute nature documentary because the production contains images of ants attacking a live larvae. The Ant Tiny Predator.

I am continually amazed by the products available for consumption via 1st amendment expression and my advocacy for this local channel.

A recent reoccurring thought is that Americans are blessed to have a people willing to work in public service positions. I find the voices in my head giving thanks when pundits hurl criticism at those serving. There is an odd hope that these voices in my head will mysteriously join good karma.

Very special people find an effective merger of the needs of others with the needs of self. And then there are heroes, selflessly committed brave souls who act and inspire. I believe that Hillary Clinton is not on a personal trajectory to the White House. I believe she is committed to walking her talk and that she is aware that the journey is not a prescript. I believe the president-elect is similarly pre-disposed to ‘make a difference’ not just ‘make a mark’ in time.

One of my favorite pontificators described our current economic situation as ‘gnarly’ on Today’s Politics, Burgers and Beer hosted by Faith Middleton on WNPR. The program is promoted as debate, opinion and informed conversation; so is pontificate a fair description Yes, it may be a bit harsh but sometimes the self-regard seems to invite a pin prick.

Building teams and plans in a fish bowel is not an enviable position in which to be. I am fatigued by the negative energy. What can we contribute to the conversation, positively. Like Open Source contributed…partnering, innovating, sharing .. adding VALUE.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What people say ...

The tenor of the debate makes the mother in me stir with the thought 'You know better'.
Debate is too gracious a description of the public conversation associated with electing someone to the highest office in the land.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

As requested

sometimes an image speaks too much truth, sometimes not enough.

This week truth, and its manner of telling, was once again in the news. Illusion, does it serve truth? Inference, does it serve truth? Timing, does it serve truth?

Truth as a value, ideal and object of pursuit is too often blurred, sacrificed, obscured. This week I let the whirl go by except for this little reflection: I grow tired of the abundance of misinformation.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

ATT, Joe and Hope

I am finding my pattern of three as this blog evolves. The blog appears to be what rises to the top in the abundance of information in my life. Stuff that would otherwise be skimmed has the opportunity to be reviewed via deep dive.

Thank you PAUL JANENSCH for your comments on the upcoming convention - your commentary which included the question "Why is ATT sponsoring so many events at the Dem convention?" rises to my top three. As a local consumer advocate involved in cable, iptv and internet matters this question speaks volumes. In my opinion, this company has been political and less than consumer friendly in its colorfully architected media pursuit of market share. Since there is some talk that a democratic win would include the creation of a new and necessary cabinet position - a CTO ; part of the answer to the Professor News question may be found in examining what part of this policy would ATT want to influence?

My day started with more than a glimmer of hope.

Awareness of Joe Biden for me is much like these ideas that creep to the surface. I have a concern about my memory. I am trying to explore why certain items seem to remain crystal clear as emotional memories but shallow in detail and why certain ideas and experiences come to define me.

Ironically, I have an emotional memory of Joe Biden. The puzzling of pieces put my personal experience in 2001. I was traveling by train to Washington DC to attend an ACM National Conference. As I do whenever getting on public transportation; I was people watching. Someone on a cell phone caught my attention. This individual was conducting business that seemed to be important. I remember thinking whomever this is, is purposeful, assertive, and well-reasoned. I immediately felt a sense of trust and respect for this stranger. I had absolutely no idea what the topic was, or whom I was watching, but I felt protected. While watching various episodes of Road to the WhiteHouse on CSPAN I kept tapping into this emotional memory. I remember having an absurd thought that if I could only share this feeling I had with others in some visceral way; that he, Joe Biden, could be considered a more viable candidate by more voters. I can not make it visceral but I can share this as a serendip that means a more to me today.

So I put this post out into the world: It seems almost absurd but today I woke to news that gave me a new sense of Hope.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

images, dandies, and tweets

Some images are come by accidentally. Some take on lives of their own. Most can fill-in the blanks of a story. Some images also need blanks filled in. I named this image: aftermath - wearing liberty. I took it at Ground Zero. Because I know it is Ground Zero - it speaks to me. Without knowing this, the picture is incomplete in its telling. Clarity takes many forms. Maybe this too is true of truth.

Sometimes information can saturate. Saturation can cloak memory. Lack of sleep can do the same. Together, too much input and too little sleep, form a haze of thought something like scrabble with an acute random connectedness. I often get to a point of saturation. Today it happened. I know I heard things of interest to me but my mind feeling intent upon this knowing - registered blank. Distractions fill in these blanks. Blogging with conviction becomes more difficult in the haze. (I am the generation of purple haze- Are You Experienced? not the generation of hazegame.)

Some distractions: Papa wants to know if I can Google backwards to find a word he can not spell. The word is bat poop. Last night I Googled radish-tops-eat and confirmed what he had wondered about for years: Yes radish tops can be eaten much the same way he eats dandelion greens or wild spinach. I did not take any real time from the day job to be with him, or to be good to me today. And last evening's sleep was again interru
pted about 4 am with noises of raccoons in the kitchen. We have relocated 10 so this visit was not expected.

Another word that entered my sphere of distraction was tweet. A week ago I declared I had no awareness or knowledge of tweet as other than bird sounds. However, the Twitter social-networking message tweet is now in my purview:
through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question you can be known between the lines. Tweet is the way I have overheard my children talk on the phone for years. I am not ready to go there. But I did discover If about the future... which from book to tbd; is a place for further exploration. It is the archival references to free spoken word ripe for my future visiting, that compel.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

WOW, surge and buzz

It rained very intensely a few times today. The air feels so much better now that my brief walk with Jake was truly enjoyable. I connected with a few neighbors. Rare to find others out during these walks. It made for a nice break in the day.

I did not connect with the Internet, TV or radio directly today. I did share with others, an excerpt from a note to me, I titled proud tears. The extended audience shared vicariously as I had a WOW response. WOW has such different meaning in the parlance of our teens. Many loose hours of their life in WOW space. But the gut reaction WOW is what I received and shared. Getting inspired sharing gives me an energy surge. Surge, now there is a term becoming well worn: military, economic and radio. Now this place WHERE NEW ARTISTS SURGE TO STARDOM was somewhat new to me, and it is currently NOT surging. But I enjoyed these pics and may send thus one along to add to the collection. I look forward to seeing the caption if they continue to be monitored. Captions suggestions are welcome in coments..

Monday, August 4, 2008

open door policy

We have had a dog door for years. The cats discovered it and have liberated themselves and appear to be living 99 lives. One rescued cat, Artimus, timid and in the basement for 6 months is now a confident hunter happy for a brief respite among his humans. My bird feeder has become a death trap. Jake, whom I have introduced already. rarely used the dog door after midnight. But he has recently joined the cats on raccoon patrol which starts about 2 am. We original discovered peppermint wrappers on the floor, then heard a scurry of all the animals running through the house knocking the dry cat food feeder off its bench. There was a replay the next evening. Papa heard the noise and attested to seeing at least 6 racoons

Saturday, August 2, 2008

phrases of the day

When I allow other voices into my day, certain phrases bring me to a literal stop, to scribble down for later reflection. I feel some intuitive connection that could benefit me if mined. But mining is always tbd.

Technology places
, a reference to the the instruments carried on the belts of the presidential candidates, connected to me to both my community access advocacy work and poetry team experiences. The word place evokes memories...there was the catch me in seminal times places of adolescence poetry tour and the public-people-place aspect of the community building project. Excerpt below:

Community Building’ is a process not a place. It requires the gathering of people in or through a public space. Participants share, listen and reflect. When used in the conduct of public business; community building is inclusive, collaborative, and representative of diverse voices. Based on a shared vision or problem it can be used to identify solutions, reach consensus, devise and implement strategies for resolution or change. It most often involves individual and collective actions of diverse peoples for a common good.

And then there is my virtual place of my work-at-home existence and the itch to just leave its physical confines after days of too little physical movement: when I exclaim I need to get out of this place.

Halo for Fear-a description by Barbara Walters of her work-life motivation struck a chord. As the primary bread winner/caretaker I could relate. I will look forward to her book Audition making it to Library shelves. I wondered is it truly different for women. I think so but it seems unfair to not see that the some self-employed men have similar stress.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Do stories ever end and other deep thoughts

Before a personal story ends, Memoir writers decide that there is enough of a story to be told, to be penned, to commit to. Reflection and significance are ingredients. Compelling is important. And how to begin requires selection of an end for the unending. I am a derailed storyteller because I can never decide upon an ending.

When this entry was conceived, there was 100 days remaining; to elect a new president and to make ready my primary daily bread assignment for go live. These turning points are not ends. They may be middles or starts. What comes later – the benchmarking measures like the 1st 100 days of the presidency and questions about the completed project speak to the lack of true ends.

New tools allow us to manage or compile data and images and the elements of story. Sometimes pseudo stories emerge much like pseudo poems from folks exploring sentences and fragments instead of paragraphs and chapters. New tools can inevitably make endings ever more, less likely. Time capsules of experience accumulate. Folks like me get to avoid deciding on a larger scale than outside of the moment’s distraction – about endings. Volumes of reflection, commentary and noise emerge – and stories that could change, heal or inform salt and pepper the abundance.

Blogging, this hybrid commentary journal process was activated by me to reflect upon significance. Scribble. Distraction. Curiosity. Ponders. All in a format that allows me to avoid questions wrestled by true storytellers. Maybe coming of age with the TV drama view of story, most of which now tell multiple stories simultaneously and attempt to develop characters serially, neatly prescribed time, foreshadowing and tension until there is a fade to credits has contributed to my dilemma.

I began to read the World is my Home. I did not get to the end yet. It has been months since I set it down. I started it in the middle, as I recall. The 1992 biography of James A. Michener was published 5 years before his death, an end marked by his decision to remove life supports. A collection of selective reminiscences, his story for me did not end when I closed the cover of the book nor would it have if I were on the last page. It continues here. His story lives on because they were scribed. Each new reader restarts the story. And every new writer underwritten at UofTexas at Austin by Michener funds ensures his story never ends. This novelist did story his way. He followed his intellectual curiosity, informed his style from the experience of opera arias and ultimately his narration rewards the reader or listener with knowledge. His large novels are said to be absent psychological insight. I have purchased but have yet to read his sagas. A novelist that could have been a blogger is an indulgence that I can not yet invite in to my frame of reference. So I digest short stories. This week it is People I wanted to be.

Go Live is less than 100 business days away and the day job is carnivorous. Is eating my soul, flesh eating? Deep thoughts are set aside as core hours begin now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Conversation and the value of versus: Poems

Tension is a building block that can engage the audience within story; it is known to add challenge to conversation and is said to exist naturally between science and faith. Its value is 2 sides of a coin: and often a headache. As an element of style - it must be worked, to work.

The New Poet Laureate is getting air time. I listen. I wonder if a good poem every 10 years does a poet make? I wonder if a poem a day is a good expenditure of time. And then I know the truth: calories need burning. So I borrow an impromptu haiku from the poet from my middle and smile knowing birth is not under-rated, poetry is.

Time displaces truth

Tumbling down the rabbit hole

I am far too late

Monday, July 14, 2008

25 cents is the price of a miracle

Charlie is my Dad. His refrigerator magnet says WORK is a 4 letter word. He retired at 55. He is now 80. He putters, finding ways to save dollars and cents. He dabbled in stocks and bonds for a decade or so, but got out before all that went totally bust. He spends his days being Judge Judy trained. Other lifelong learning is aided by History, Discovery and the Weather Channel.

This weekend we shared lentil and cactus soup which he made, followed up on some health insurance claims, and discussed the behaviors of our mutual companions, feral cats and my rescued Bull Mastiff pup, Jake. I can not play cards well enough to bet a quarter, so I watch him play one of the 100 something ways to play solitaire. We chat. He mumbles about gardening in pots. We do have some healthy basil and a few strong tomato plants. I say we because I purchase the starter plant or seeds and he tends to them. The price of motivation. He has discovered our Hot Tub. Now that I mark his calendar on the date when it has been treated, he is using it regularly. I needed to learn how to communicate this readiness for use in a manner that would not offend. It was challenging. I failed a few times but I think I am finely on track. And as to the Hot Tub, he is on track as I fail to use it. More chat or exploration about short term memory. I try to remember tidbits from the news which I think may be triggers for conversation and potential stories. I work at conversations. I had scribbled a few things down that are not handy at the time we chat. I think hard: mental gymnastics and then realize that the term I was trying to recall intellectual aerobics. The differences discreet would be fun to follow. The memory was a description Tony Snow used to describe Meeting with the Press. I then think that if I have a storied life I will be a success. Both references come from elegies of the kind the video world provides: Sunday Morning Articles. Then distractions abound within me and Dad is no longer in focus. The miracle I wish for is that a card player will appear that will risk an occasional quarter. It does not take much for Dadto put up walls. Failures with neighbors and Senior Center - mostly bad timing but he took it all too personal which make me the only community he truly has. It is a tall order being a community and it does not take much for me to be distracted. The voices in my head say you need you time now, dad has had what you can give today. Balance too is difficult.

Sometimes I sense too much in common with this hermit who lives like a troll in the back house. So much unsaid here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

transitions abound

A year of substantive change:

Graduations: Graduate School for Cliff and High School for Heather
Global volunteering by Dan (shown here with nephew Alex).
a baby born to Valerie and Paul (MacKenzie J.) on the 4th of July.

All are solid moments of accomplishment for them and pride for the family.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

between the eyes_gun control

Poachers kill deer by shining light between their eyes; then shooting them between the eyes. In dear hunting 101 this is defined as shining and described as illegal. Deer hunters can be law-abiding, responsible citizens or poachers. The decision to poach is not made when the gun is purchased, it is made when a passion is activated that overcomes respect for laws natural and man-made. The decision to kill deer is made when the gun is purchased. Decisions and passions are always at play in determining the effects of guns.

Since the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling suggesting that there is a constitutional individual right for law abiding citizens to keep a loaded handgun at home for self-defense I have been in a dissonant limbo. I have been trying to discern how my experience can contribute to the discourse, what I truly believe about the Constitution, lessons of history, the value of discourse and the significance of grammar in the discernment of intent in authorship. Like the 27 words and 60 some amicus briefs the conclusions have not been matter of fact. However,facts have been substantive.

Starting with my shallows: I was relatively certain I believed in the idea of a living constitution, that the spirit of liberty guarantees discussion not rightness and history; it is essential to interpretive context. Exploring these assumptions I relearned that Jefferson felt the strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. That the Minutemen 'worldview' is a substantive context for interpretation of the Second Amendment but arms and the consequences of their proliferation have changed more than government. As a child I was inspired by Justice Holmes through stories heard while touring the homestead . There ideas were rooted like
we must interpret our Constitution "in the light of our whole experience and not merely in that of what was said a hundred years ago."

The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas [and] the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market
I was reminded that DC voting rights have yet to be secured. Ironically, the right to handguns have now been. But the strongest lesson was the from the day in my VISTA service that I was to role-play Patty Hearst in a Police SWAT Training having my own American Experience. That day remains with me as does this understanding: the decision that you can kill is made the day you acquire a gun not the day you use it. Gun use is rarely rationale. And while the lives lost that touch my personal story are many and none have been by gun - all have been by passion.
So did I reach a conclusion: VT and DC represented the gun law extremes. Law-abiding people can disagree. And I will not knowingly befriend anyone who finds it necessary to own a handgun. Accidents happen. And today it is the dissent of Justice Breyer who argues for balancing public safety against individual rights that speaks truth to me, In my shallows I favored gun control in 1979. However, on S.W.A.T. Police Training Day it took only 4 hours to turn me into a killer of men. The solid grammar arguement aside:
One can, rationally, sensibly, logically read “shall not be infringed” as taking TWO, DISCRETE antecedents: (1) “A well regulated Militia being necessary” and (2) “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” — so that the amendment precludes infringement of TWO SEPARATE things (a) A well regulated militia and (b) “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”Thanks Loup-bouc

The living constitution can change through interpretation. A living constitution will have well articulated dissent.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What we value enough to copy

In conversation came the reminder: To be a storyteller you need a story to tell. I have been sitting on a story that was kindled during my vacation now several weeks back. As I start pealing the memories associated with the story I know only the following: It seems to be about outrage, heritage and what we value enough to copy.

The mangled roots of this ‘blog-journal’ begin at the turn of the 20th century. And, this story will be transformed by how the global economy challenges tourists to value authenticity; and, how and why culture is preserved by Native Americans and the purveyors of our nation’s history in this century. And in the world of the Internet this story can be informed by comments of others.

My personal part of this story starts with stops at roadside booths in Arizona and Nevada, to appreciate and purchase authentic Indian jewelry. Before this story started seeping into my purview, I would not have described my personal shopping for native jewelry as shopping for something authentic. I was trying to be about low impact discovery. My goal was to learn to relax and enjoy – to vacation.

I was the quintessential child in a candy store looking for a special treat. I was mesmerized by how similar, yet naturally different, the crafted-work was on the same table or in the booths of several Indians gathered flea market style. I learned that the stone was often named after the area it was mined, that some areas are now barren and that in Bisbee, the seasonal rains wash the turquoise into the roadside basins. I was told that the bevel side is up. Much of the strung, cut and polished gem stones crafted into jewelry used newer string technology which meant that clasps are no longer essential. Most importantly, I sensed that the business of making and marketing jewelry is a family affair. And I was surprised to find an Antique Indian Jeweler at the Boulder City Jamboree.

My eyes were on vacation. My brain was being delighted by the handiwork of others. But this rare get-a-way experience was sensing an undercurrent. I came to understand the livelihood of Native Americans artisans involved jewelry making passing from generation to generation and putting sons and daughters and self through college. It is prideful. It is full of tradition and inspiration. It is essential to the culture and it is being stamped upon by the flat world. One proud native mother expressed her outrage about fakes saying "Jewelry with .925 is not Indian". I bought from the work of her son for mine, and her for me and took away in some distant space in my brain her outrage. I was trying to be in some ideal place called vacation.

Ironically, this Indian mother’s story was further revealed to me in a place of mimic and replication - my primary vacation destination: the Grand Canyon. [1]

At the Grand Canyon National Park Desert View Watchtower Gift Shop, a sign above strings of silver feathered turquoise necklaces read: Authentic non-Indian jewelry. This sign above jewelry is the significant picture I failed to take. If I had thought journalistically, this image could have informed much of this story. The sign spoke awkwardly of the economic based invasion of Native Americans by replica jewelry Made in China and machine stamped .925. [2]

The watchtower, a mimic of Anasazi Indian watchtowers, is infused with storytelling both figuratively and literally. The design of this national park building completed in 1933 was commissioned and awarded to Mary Colter. This five-story site to see is on a promontory overlooking the Grand Canyon at the eastern end of the south rim.

The architecture informed by archeology, ethno-history and the work of Indian mural artists, including Hopi Fred Kabotie embodies the value of copying, storytelling, and preservation of Native American Culture. Authenticity is reportedly at the core of the architect’s work. The replica design was informed by turn of the century southwestern archeology. On its walls the tradition of storytelling in rock art are copies rendered by artist Fred Greer. These copies may be the only existing record of the original story painting found at an Abo, New Mexico Archaeological site.

Ms. Colter’s designs were commissioned by Santa Fe Railway and the Fred Harvey Company which launched the Native American souvenir business. This company’s transformation includes becoming the concessionaires of National Parks. The souvenir and concession business began by leveraging the traditions and skills of local artisans. This leveraging spawned tradition based Navajo, Zuni, Hopi and Pueblo family businesses that have now supported several generations of displaced Native Americans. So the ability of this outraged Indian mother to market to tourists, culturally based jewelry and crafts, is directly tied to the business that is now the target of her rage. In civilizing the southwest, trinkets were mass produced by artisans supplied sheet silver and pre-cut turquoise by the Harvey Company.

This story, in all its hyper-parts, evolved because of an undercurrent of injustice I sensed but for which I had no context to take a position. The outrage of the Indian mother is now in context. I believe that if committed to practicing integrity and quality, National Park Gift Shops should not be selling Made In China Indian jewelry. My research,subsequent to vacationing, reveals that this act of selling imports as Souvenir is not out of character for the legacy company. And the new company, that gets access to 5 million visitors a year, is following a common practice. But, souvenirs for the Las Vegas are different than souvenirs from our National Parks. I concluded that Indian Crafts sold at our National Parks should be authentic not imported reproductions.

1) Most visited natural wonder on the planet. 5 million visitors a year with up to 30,000 visitors per day in peak season. 2) Sterling Silver objects are stamped with either the word "Sterling" or ".925" which refers to 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper.

Some take-a-ways:

  • Sometimes transformation obfuscates purpose, and often transformation is economically based.
  • Philanthropy has a role to play as an underwriter of efforts to transfer tradition knowledge.
  • Goals can be in conflict therefore resolutions must be value based.

Postscript: At the AMERIND MUSEUM, the ‘Traditions in Clay’ Exhibit depicts a history of pottery making and ‘a competition experience’. The results of the competition were expressive in several ways and copying was part of the participant experience. A museum collection interprets. This interpretation coupled with the story of the tradition transfer made me tear-up yet I hold no details in my memory about the pottery or tribe. I only have this sense of gratitude that this experience was available and that I had a moment to connect.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Really productive serendipity

When I selected serendipity as one of my labels, the voices in my head said blogs can breed LIKEthink and this label will be a reminder that your intentions include making chance connections that could influence your destiny in actions or words. I do not associate or bond well. My people interaction is based on in-common stuff: work, certain interests, life circumstances. In this I am not alone. And in this in-common I do select bonding levels – most often shallow levels. I tend to focus on the tasks, prefer observation and often lead out of frustration. I have good friend qualities for emergencies but no one calls me just to chat. No one. To blog is to let the voices in my head chat and it kicks up the dust on dopamine the feel-good neurotransmitter. Maybe it will improve my conversational skills. There are bloggers I have come to enjoy thru their words (Amy) and actions (Jason). There are others that will be revealed as I work the RSS technology of this world.

But as these conversations occur I do notice that the in-common stuff among people can breed – good and bad. I was reminded in the overheard conversations about politics this week about in-common bad. I will connect an old essay here on this distraction at some point.

Callouts: This past week I had a small victory in the in-common world of Community Access TV and a moment of awkwardness in the in-common world of work. The victory: successfully getting clarification with DPUC docket 08-04-09. For more than a decade, some volunteers were being held hostage by power tactics that included fear of reprisals and threats of underwriting changes. Truth had a small victory. The awkwardness: a public description of me. While it shared that my values and skills have made a difference there was large irony in that few folks will ever have such a lens on my life and work again because of my failure at the basic art of sustained conversation.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Lifelong…then retirement or into retirement

Life-long: what are the benchmarks? Is it duration or duration in relationship to the length of one's life. When must a lifelong relationship, idea, pursuit, regret begin to qualify? Is meaningfulness implied? What are the shades of meaning: continuous until a person's death, continuing through all or much of one's life? This out-of-place meandering began while at a retirement event of a co-worker.

When something is more than 50% of your life and the majority of your daylight it probably qualifies. Family relations most often do. A person’s work can qualify and sometimes that work is at one place of business. This is a phenomenon that is changing. It is one I never expected to be part of but one for which I can now claim a duration maker of more than half of my life.

For my co-worker the years are 36. The retirement is about to start with a summer vacation at the camp of his making with his best friend who is intended to be the rest of lifelong. He practiced retirement for a week before deciding that he was ready. Ready and able are not mutually exclusive but the able part usually comes far later than readiness for most (maybe I am projecting here). If employment is more than making a livable wage then one may never be ready. There are very few positions on 60 Minutes, or tenured professorships in the perfect climate, or artists that can sell enough to sustain daily bread or piano men or living poets with solid indirect income sources.

As I tried to kindle connections I found rhyming words: The batches of rhymes seem to speak to me about passionless day jobs: along phrases are scrape, rush, shove, stretch, play, pull, tag, or come along.

Lifelong is now a learning buzzword. It is something we are all expected to make claim to. I invested in this claim six years ago when I processed through a second graduate program. Sometimes I think it was only proof that I could type ever more poorly with more sleep deprivation. The brain exercise was sometimes fun and challenging enough to make me feel that I was evolving. However, I am not sure that the benchmarks for lifelong learning sited herein.(p.2) were achieved in my personal journey. I am often reminded of the three word marketing rule, as it is often deployed, and the challenges of good tauts. Grad school is where I learned I too could make hyper Connections like one of my most favorite books and made 4 television adventures by James Burke. (And I too have a box and scribble that may become bones or blog entries or remain for future ruminations.)

And then I get totally distracted in the world of connectivity and find bliss.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Well I was not sure I would be remembering the momentary distraction word for today: but in passing it connected and was recallable. Am I evolving, too? Is this buzz word informing or reforming or self-involving? The term infers substantial change. This term reconnected me to something else I wanted to explore: Guerrilla Marketing and the idea of unintended consequences that I anticipate commenting on here after June 5th.

As a business analyst I have always been informed by errors, challenged by defects, and found that gaps suggest opportunities. Are these tools for evolution?

I need to evolve further the potential of FREEMAN PENNY QUINN, the 1st. I need to evolve further the toolkit for citizen journalists. I need to evolve further the daily practices that promote good health (yes I did walk Jake today!).

Evolution is a very busy thing but since it is nearly tomorrow I will need to get busy with it later... (but 1st a bedtime story about the other word of the day to which i can say I am often far from being gruntled ...unless of course, there is word play.
nite cliffy)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Just Days Away - Cape Town - my middle

And he replies in draft: In my ideal internship I would be making a difference helping to empower others using the skills of writing and performing. Any internship that can combine these subjects of study (Language Arts, Theater) with an opportunity to work with youth as a teacher or collaborative group leader would be a perfect fit for me. My primary training is as a writer/performer of theater but I have extensive experience as a performance poet and coach.

I see internships as emersion learning, collaboration experiences, participating in something larger than self and potential or practice for making change in the world. It is real life. It is not safe. It is not predictable, maybe even ubiquitous. I come to the process in formation of myself – a person with natural ability for idea making but desire to acquire a greater understanding for idea actualization. I want to learn how to better organize and mobilize myself and others in order to achieve concrete goals. I believe in follow through and have had success in the past but I have never truly pushed the boundaries.

Leaving for Cape Town So. Africa in 3 weeks:

I anticipate that working in South Africa can speak to my sense of immediacy and relevance. I believe I may better understand my countries transition from the 1950s to the 1990 by experiencing Cape Town 20 years after fighting apartheid and censorship. Cultural transformation creates new struggles and maybe the civil strife of Cape Town today will inform my understanding of my own country, the nature of change, power and the potential of cultural diversity. And most of all I want to learn more about the role of storytelling in defining culture that is a distinctive, spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional way of living together with underlying values, traditions and beliefs.I want to get a better understanding between culture and education. I want to explore how cognitive openness to new styles of living, new and different understandings of one’s world, and new instruments of aesthetic and intellectual engagement can open up the possibility of culture being a helpmate of education.

He the best thing ever to come from my middle. I already miss him and anticipate his discovery will serve others as much as himself. Blessed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

If I might be disrespectful….

Today I was out-of-order and publicly chastised for thanking two individuals for a courageous vote. It was partly the room and the dynamics. It is not like I was really trying to be rude or intending to be rude. In fact it was totally unintended this rude thing. It was probably more rude to consider my gesture rude. The intention was to respect the efforts of the community of volunteers that worked hard to serve their community but failed to get serious consideration because of agendas. So my actions were declared rude because they disrupted control and a fa├žade of decorum.

If I could have slipped the thank-you note down the aisle I would have considered it…but that was not an option. A smile or wink could not be seen. And the gesture was a public one intentionally.

A few weeks prior teachers and parents actually were disrespectful, but they were not chastised. They were a mob and some behaved as such and most were not informed at all about the process for which they were gathered. How many votes needed or how the agenda works.

But what was rude was 8 years of service and one phone call demanding a public admission of an error I did not make. No this was actually malevolent.

What is worse than rude is lying. And my accuser is certainly confirmed as that.

What is even more significant is that personal attacks from a true fraud were part of the larger dynamic. In the last election I changed my vote for two people who are now serving as Town Councilors. Even with candidates of my choice failing to win I have never felt I voted wrongly. But two people on my local Town Council have shown me what two faces mean and at least next time around I know clearly who will not be getting my vote. And I just may be motivated to share this opinion widely.

Would I have done anything differently tonight - Nope.

ps. I have this thing about pictures being informing. A picture of me at a microphone is pretty uninforming. So I prefer action shots. And I was trying to create action.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Purpose..all in a day's engagement

Today I got to speak with strangers, passionately about principles upon which this country was formed. No matter what the outcome of the vote on Tuesday, I can say today’s 1 on 1 time was well spent.
I was at the parade in town today BUT I was not really there. I had a juggling challenge: To be respectful of those attending to honor the fallen with the opportunity to inform myself and the CB Team more about how the Community Access TV community building project resonates with residents.

The tone was random. Its details: 1 corner, 1 hour, 2 ½ volunteers (The 1/2 a penguin out of habitat.), a few revelations, several affirmations and perfect weather. The opportunity was both twisted with irony and suspended in time. Its true potential yet to be revealed and to be disclosed on Tuesday at the Town Council.

The memory evoked was ironic. In New Haven as LWV President @ 1986 I was host to
CSPAN. CSPAN was new and covering local grassroots elections. Bill Dyson was running for State Representative for his 10th year. This was my 1st experience with cable TV, futuristic technology and local partnering. The LWV was still considered expert in debate format and trusted for its non-partisan approach to community engagement.

The debate moderator and my peer (a.k.a. new partner-Junior league leadership) handled things much differently than I would have. We were in a downtown church after several prep meetings. Then lights, camera action AND the satellite dish failed. A few minutes of technical check and we continue the LOCAL debate. It is approaching 9 PM and we are literally closing in on the end of the event. The moderator comments within range of a hot microphone. “I felt like an Oreo cookie middle’. So politically incorrect and so fortunately NOT on National TV, I was relieved. Today @2008 the high tech box had a battery which was inadvertently drained. At the last minute plans for a LIVE feed of the parade to TV and the Internet was short-circuited. Very few knew we failed to attain our objective. Similarly few knew we proved the capability on May 24th. The citizen producers on the other corner were most likely being politically incorrect in a fashion that has been known to remind me of the Oreo incident. And the future was being touched. Many will be changed in the future by what we were attempting to do today.

But that is history and my focus was the near future. I was trying to determine the best step forward into the future for the CB Team.

So what was revealed or affirmed by talking 1 on 1 with random people? Dan came closer to understanding my dedication to project (This is important because as a parent who chooses community involvement over family time it is essential that the child(ren) understands that it is not either or, it is all for them.) Dan apologized that we got a later start than planned. But 100 or 200 signatures is not substantively different. Actually, none of our informing the community 1x1 effort will matter if the vote is otherwise already cast.

Dan charismatically got more than 100 signatures. He represented the ideals and the hope associated with the project. His commitment to democratic ideals and passion for justice were evident. I got about 40 signatures. But 40 out of 42 is good especially in a random interaction. I shared more details about the building, process and history. Dan stats were as good. Few shrugged us away. Fewer still said no if they agreed to be informed. People willing to listen was inspiring.

The basic concepts of the
proposal: do not demolish the building. Use it for a community purpose. Price is not the driving factor from citizen perspective. Preserving history & free speech is good. Partnering is expected. ALL of this resonated with 99% of those approached.

Affirmed: Those aware of the issue based on newpaper coverage did not hesitate to sign a petition. Many wanted to know why the town was not giving us the building? Most wanted to know what the opposition position was? No one felt the building should be demolished IF there was a legitimate community alternative.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Memorial..Community Remembrance

I mostly remember dad in his greens going to march instead of work, the Cuban Missile crisis and almost stories of the korean conflict. But then my generation's war took over and friends did not come home and poet friends brought the power of the Vietnam Memorial on the MALL in DC to life. I had to see it in person. Not many things get such a definitive must do in my heart and mind as I no longer have enough focus to create poems.

While in Boulder City we stopped at several artisan shops. I saw the miniature cast of this memorial and had to find it. It is a powerful reflection and symbol of remembrance for sacrifices. It is the image in this spot.

But in all of the near sobs the strongest gulp is why are we again at war? I focus on the artists responses to find some meaning. And I am please to share my findings with my community this day away from work. A video with permission will play on public access station and pictures.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Siloing by Design

A silo is a place where fodder is preserved and stored to provide nutritious feedstuff for livestock. A silo is also where guided missiles are stored. As such siloing appears to be an apt description of how some communities restrict valuable resources. For example having funding and functionality for Public Education and Government Access TV distinctly restricted versus treated as Community Access resources is siloing. Since some believe the content of community access is ‘food for thought’ and others consider it an ‘ever present danger’ it seemed to me to be a fit usage of the term.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Where should I be, where is my mind?

My spiritual mentor would always correspond to me on a transformed scrap of paper. A sample of such a transformation circa 1993 is shown here. I found it difficult to throw away even with its tea stains.

I am at my work table where I access work from home and do community tasks via computer. The presumption is that on occasion I collect my thoughts here via this blog which is concurrently a collection of past and future memories. This process is expressed via a Maxim which is keeping a diary supports personal development.

So I am here but I just drove some distance. Driving is now a rare occurrence given I have one eye tracking left. This makes the passenger more aware of my vulnerability than myself. Dad was my passenger today. We arrived late to the
commitment to heaven ceremony (which requires either faith or imagination) held by the family of Rosalie Catherine Cook (his sister, my aunt and mentor). Gathered were unfamiliar faces that were connected through Rosalie. The gathering was small and polite. Charlie broke the ceremonial sounds with a how do you do to the person to his right. This fella married into the family via the youngest daughter of Bill, niece to Charlie and Rosalie. Yes there were cousins in the room. People who once participated in games of tag, kick-the-can, hide & seek all cousins from the occasional family picnic of decades ago.

Rosalie had been a beacon of family connected-ness in a older sister fashion while she lived in CT. That changed more than several years ago. Family distances were not bridged – hearing impairment and other aging issues taking the reigns of daily life when she retired to Florida. The rest of us entered lives after teen years. Her recent return home was brief. It allowed for one visit which included the expected squeeze of the hand…the ‘good to see you my dear' whisper in the ear, the 'what can I feed you discourse. Odd disconnected memories of Rice Pudding made me bring her some. She just smiled. Maybe it should have been Tapioca. (The absence of cigarettes was very pronounced. She had been the embodiment of
the meaning of Virginia Slims for me even as the cancer sticks poured from the pack of Camels or Marlboro.)

But the mind has no focus as the heart tries to reflect: cousins, pieces of art and some craft pull me in several directions. I do not turn on the radio in near fear of more connections that I cannot trace.

My sister has Dad now. They were part of the procession to the burial site along with another aunt and cousins. I returned to my table with a promise to myself to visit here before attending to the external loci of control. Upon returning, I did walk myself and the dog first because it is at this too that I fail daily.

Back to the main event: Dad did not recognize his daughter. She resides on the other ocean’s side. Many years have passed. Today as most days she embodies confidence. She was simply and smartly dressed with color accents. I immediately considered how “Rosalie would have just loved how she looks”. I did the basic black attire. it fit and the random thought for what stylish colorful item in my closet would Rosalie like, passed into nothing she would like would fit today – so the 'do not go there’ voices in my head won and I wondered in thought too much more pressing tasks at hand feeling I would be lucky to be dressed and on time. Not lucky.

Rosalie. You grace every room in my home. There is no more to write.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

the Landscape_degrees of separation

Separation can be an act or a state of being. Yesterday in Biosphere2 I quietly marveled at the how the states of environmental change had nearly no transition and that a range of some 20 degrees in temperature supported different life zones. This was science and something I very much hoped others were fascinated enough by to continue exploring.
I realized that very few things about science were made exciting to me as a child and I did not grow interested in things that had practical application. I often regret this.

[A strong memory is that Mr. Afragola, my HS Science Teacher, was fascinated by insects and held a belief that the would inherit the earth. With 300,000 species of beetles and the crazy ant story from the biosphere yesterday --- it is more understandable – his fascination and belief.

The crazy ant story should go here. It does not travel in straight lines. It took over the insect word of Biosphere2. It was a native. It was a subplot. ]

Respite is to be my goal as I have had non-stop task overload for employer and community for 5,500 days. In this attempt I find myself with working in my sleep. It appears very difficult to refocus on different self-fulfilling leisurely activities. The undone tasks surface in sleep. They are the minor ‘nice to have’ tasks that I do not seem to have time for that seem to being saying – you have time now – do me now. I have attempted to address the community related nighttime reminders with daily e-mail correspondence. In 8 days I will know if the interruption of my vacation was as important as it seemed.

This morning I made a connection in thought between the scrubby landscape of my Arizona vacation and my sense of less than well-being. The blackish brown mountain is set far off (and I would not choose it as a view) and the dusty stretch in immediate and constant travel view is full of prickly growth. Some cactus looms tall (with my years or more of uninterrupted growth), some are flowering and nearly all are fortified with thorns. It is a dustbowl with scattered, but connected, activity. I cannot put words to the relationship of what my eyes see, my head connected but somehow I feel this is a representation of my intellect and imagination.

It is time to move along so I will close here. I have a vacation wait for me to engage in it and the driver is preparing for my departure…

Friday, April 18, 2008

Free Vs. Fee_at what cost

In a recent typo the word free became a serendip 'fee' and evolved into a statement of condition about news is our world.

That particular slurr of the fingers happened weeks ago and hung in draft. I am barely coherent in thought today. I am on vacation. My legs have more mileage on them, my forehead the tell tale signs of sun, my brain gets feed morsels of data about camofluage, desert life - - a sign declaring please touch connected me to the head dress of many horned mammels and the wool of the same... the details are not being retained. But I am sure they can be looked up if ever needed. The International Wildlife Museum provided this close to nature experience and the Arizona-Sonora Desert the other. Today will be American Indians and Copper and Architecture. Then Science.

Many ideas passed right through me... I did not take notes.

I did log in to the Internet for some citizen advocacy tasks. Maybe with these behind me I will be able to experience and retain. It is time to start the day away from my regular life.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Deerkill_ I can not let Fear Stop Me

My mouth is dry and eyes bouncy. Breathing is often interrupted these last few days by a ragged cough. My week of work and community service both have felt like rolling a boulder up a mountain but there is a sense of irony that maybe this boulder is deflecting and protecting me from debris. Sustainability is the word of the week, ‘reasonable need’ the concept and ‘Why?’ the eternal question. Joni Mitchell singing Big Yellow Taxi [@1970] ‘paved paradise and put up a parking lot’ the instant replay of my fatigued mind.

Words of the past somehow get through the mire: I read a poem written about my 1970 world-view and I post it as if new – out in the world. I realize I am pushing this symbolic boulder in anticipation that others may find fulfillment if I can help keep the door to free speech and art is kept ajar open in my home town.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

How Can Right - Be So Wrong?

This question How Can Right - Be So Wrong? was raised into consciousness a few times this week. Once in good storytelling: The movie ‘Gone Baby Gone’, A few times, during recent citizen advocacy challenges, And daily in the balance of ‘work’ and ‘life’. When faced with the consequences of action taken 'on principle' can we find our core values in conflict? Is it merely a question of their priority?

Core values are to govern how we make decisions, clarify who we are and guide our behavior in the world. When compromised ‘who we are’, changes.

Frustration with processes that sometimes take years to complete or maybe even re-cycle often seem better served with short-term solutions. Short-term goals are needed for process owner sanity, life-cycle and knowledge management. However, short-term should still be compatible with the long view.

If the foundation is broken it is better to clear and rebuild than selectively modify. Determining how broke is broke needs consensus. And in the politics of change, power brokers will identify small fixes that cater to the short-term needs of a few making consensus even more challenging.

Political Power is best served by an 'informed' electorate and a demonstration of the will of that electorate for a common good. Education on this process is challenging as well and I was please to find this site that is trying to meet those challenges.

The informing quote of the week: learn that you can disagree with people without being disagreeable. Source: Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

standing ... i should be standing

In the news today...i hope someone notices the cause...

Dad agreed to be the hump loan if needed..
We have a committee...
a challenge looms large....
Pulled off a TV show that I hope to see,,,someday....

garbled words...revise, revisit....breathe...

i am the rat in the race ,,,,being tested...

passion is still the primary ingredient...

So. Africa looms large in my future...what does this portend...

a moment ...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Blogging interrupted by citizenship

Members of the Energy & Technology Committee:

I, ..., current Chairman of the Cable Advisory Council Comcast Branford and Statewide Video Council designee; DO NOT SUPPORT HB5814, An Act Concerning Community Access Television. [I do however support Community Access TV in to the wee hours of the morning.]

As an advocate of Community Access Television for 30 years, I wish I had the opportunity to either support the repeal Public Act. 07-253 or support a bill that better defines funds and enables Community Access. Neither option is available in this short session. The outgrowth of inquiries on how to fix, what PA 07-253 broke, seems to have become an opportunity to further codify the limitations of ‘video’ services as acceptable and to dismiss some significant regulatory outcome of DPUC proceedings of the past few years.

I have submitted a list of concerns with this Bill and Pubic Act 07-253 and share this adaptation of FCC Commissioner Copps’ remarks on ‘Localism in Broadcasting’ as it could pertain to Community Access.
We are making George Orwell proud. We claim to be giving Community Access a shot in the arm — but the real effect is to reduce access to a deep link in a world wide web of glib marketing campaigns, high priced attorneys and competition for ‘the tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to see the TV of their choice for a price they can afford.

We do this upon concluding many things: 1) localism is the cornerstone of our regulation 2) communities need access to valuable, locally responsive programming, 3) there is a presumptive need for communities to have community channels, 4) the flexibility of digital technology can ‘better serve’ the needs of the underserved 5) Community Advisory Boards are not conclusively a means of addressing local needs, unless they are representatives of all segments of the community, 6) periodic consultation is appropriate, and finally, 7) modification of certain rules, policies and practices may be necessary.
Reform is needed. But to paraphrase Rep. Fontana’s recent remarks about SB492: Do we need a chain-saw to cut through the complexity of this bill? Does it establish a level playing field, provide transparency and is it responsiveness to the public? I believe not.

More than a decade has passed since PA 95-150 ensured that all communities in CT would have Community Access otherwise known as P.E.G., Public Education and Government Access. This Access legislation was unprecedented in its provision to serve all residents of our State. Communities and providers had choices to make based on each community’s definition of reasonable need. A variety of community access operations across the state were transformed. Some are thriving, most are surviving, and all are at a digital crossroads. Many are trying to balance the day-to-day demands of keeping speech free and accessible to all on shoe-string budgets while keeping one eye on the preservation of the rights of those they are trying to serve.
PA 07-253 Concerns:
  • Complexity of language in new law
  • Too many terms for carrier/distributors of TV
  • Opportunity to update and simplify language not taken
  • Complexity of multiple mandatory advisory councils and lack of clarity of roles
  • Lack of community representation in community advisory selection
  • Video provider is not required to provide a basic service
  • Video provider exempt from interconnection/start-up costs
  • Video provider exempt from provision of senior discounts,
  • Video provider technology limitations may not enable retransmission from all PEG locations
  • Cable opt out does not grandfather provisions of most recent franchise agreement
  • All language appears to lead back to FCC minimum channel capacity and funding
  • Cable Council funding remains same rate after a decade
  • Lessons Learned from mandated consumer studies and surveys not leveraged
  • Funds create competition between communities for funds, grant requests require greater overhead than disbursement systems
  • General feel that it was written from the video provider’s point of view
  • Lack of fair competition
  • Lack of understanding of basic concepts of Community Access

HB5814 Concerns

  • The bill is not what it was expected to be
  • Overturns regulatory outcomes of months of state employee and citizen work
  • Changes allow for persons with conflicts of interest to influence management of Community Access
  • General feel that the bill was raised to pay off certain groups to get endorsement of U-verse limited PEG functionality
  • All the issues 07-253 are not resolved and may be further aggravated.