One day, Teodora decided to be an artist. Readers may be certain that this is old
news, but a fetching surprise awaits those who persevere.
“They appear identical, yet are not,” she pointed out to an imaginary audience,
practicing early in the unlikely event of a sudden lecture invitation.
At 6:oo PM, Teodora removed her new salmon-colored beret and began
chopping the last of the begonia leaves into a classic Autumn Desert Salad. “Let’s
see,” she mused as she whisked a fried egg into a light dressing of Heinz Catsup,
“Tomorrow I shall manage a hedge fund. Either that or tow barges up the
Mississippi River by tug boat”
Teodora bit into a large begonia leaf and reconsidered as she chewed.
“On the other hand,”she remarked “Considering the current state of the fine arts,
perhaps I should extend my contributions for several days, even a week…in any
case, it’s straight to bed for me”
Perhaps recalling her general ignorance of the fine arts, Teodora had slipped off
her stool before completing this sentence, and was halfway down her bedroom
hall as the last hint of her plans drifted back to the kitchen.
“Theatre .. Century .. American novel…
A long pause:
We can only pray that our young heroine develops an intense interest in
industrial hygiene before tomorrow morning.
Photos/ Paintings / Text / Claire O’Brien © 2014
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Community activists with heart, spunk and vision.
In Lak’ech Ala K’in
Café Mayapán is more than just a restaurant. It’s part of a nonprofit organization that provides job training and neighborhood revitalization. Housed in an old El Paso warehouse, the Cafe employs workers who were displaced when that factory closed. Next door is a mercado, selling arts and crafts, and several community organizations are housed elsewhere in the building.
I’m an African child
who fights for justice,
who never prays for war,
vocalizing the one language of love.
Droning a drowsy syncopated tune, Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon, I heard a Negro play. Down on Lenox Avenue the other night By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light He did a lazy sway . . . He did a lazy sway . . . To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.
Go Johnny go
Go Johnny go!
And the rhythm rhymes rollin’
Got to give us what we want
Gotta give us what we need
Our freedom of speech is freedom or death
We got to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power[Chorus]
What counts is that the rhymes
Designed to fill your mind
Now that you’ve realized the pride’s arrived
We got to pump the stuff to make us tough
from the heart
It’s a start, a work of art
To revolutionize make a change nothin’s strange
People, people we are the same
No we’re not the same
Cause we don’t know the game
What we need is awareness, we can’t get careless
You say what is this?
Mental self defensive fitness
(Yo) bum rush the show
You gotta go for what you know
Make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say…
Fight the Power!
******** ~~~~******** ~~~~ *********
Last Thursday was business as usual in America; that is, there was another school shooting. This one was about ninety minutes away from me, in Roswell, New Mexico. A twelve-year-old boy shot two of his classmates with a sawed off shotgun; a teacher stepped in and the shooter handed him the gun, then sort of crumpled against the wall. The boy had recently written about wanting to bring the weapon to school in his English class journal, and had also confided in several of his friends.
“Evil visited Roswell today,” proclaimed a local official.
I’d have to agree: a desperate child in a violent national culture was ignored by a community of adults beyond his ability to endure it – while provided with unlimited access to lethel weapons
We will run out of everything else in rural New Mexico before we run out of guns. They are everywhere, seeming almost to be underfoot, and everyone over the age of ten knows how to use them. They are as close as your father’s pick-up truck, which is where I am 90 percent certain the Roswell shooter got his weapon.
As the two wounded middle schoolers were flown to a Texas hospital, a fifeen-year-old boy lay dying of a heart attack in El Paso, alone in a U.S. border patrol detention room. He had risked swallowing a hopelessly deadly amount of liquid methamphetamine right in front of the agents, insisting it was only tea. They had relied upon the delusional judgement of a young adolescent whose cognition was insufficiently developed to grasp cause, effect and mortality – and left him to his death .
Earlier last week, not far from the checkpoint where the teenager would soon die, one young man shot another to death over a $75 debt — along with his target’s two young children
And today, a twenty-two year-old conveience store clerk I have come to know over the past year remarked cheerfully that he planned to put a bullet through his temple on his 30th birthday.
“I just know I don’t want to live any longer than that,” he said. “That’s when the things that make life bearable start to get outweighed by the things that make life unbearable. I’ve watched the same thing happen over and over. Guys like me, all we have is youth – we can work hard all day and drink every night. But we get old fast – old drunks with fucked up backs and knees and feet. I’m checking out before that starts to happen”
There’s a huge toxic discrepency between what Americans say and what we experience: everyone responds to it. It isn’t that young men occupy some inexplicable separate sphere; rather, they respond like young men to the impossible contradictions that choke the rest of us.
We tell 18-year-old boys they are men, and that a man stands on his own – without providing millions of them any skills to support themselves. Just when their need for support in making a huge social transition is greatest, we leave them to themselves at a point when most families are simply unable to fill gap.
We send them into armed combat before they are old enough to drink a beer, and incarcerate them as adult at 16 and 17, even though we are well aware that key areas of their brains (not involving intellect, but impulse control, judgement, and a full concept of the future) are years away from full development. There’s simply nothing for it but to stop wailing about individual pathology ( anti-social, crazy young white men) and hinting at cultural pathology (gang-related violence/young Black and Latino men) and focus on social policies that reflect our actual experience – by meeting our actual needs.
Our foreign policy makes our military crazy with the kind of wars that give an army PTSD. Our Congress acts out the chilling contradictions of our domestic policies in a kind of grotesque and surreal vaudeville show. Working-class people are middle class and poor people are invisible: yes, this is class war – and not so nakedly revealed since the turn of the 20th century. National “Conversations on Race” are obscene charades functioning to obscure the desparate trap to which white Baby Boomers abandoned a massive African-American underclass over 30 years ago.
Gay rights somehow became a new issue 43 years after those sissies at Stonewell astonished their tormenters with a fist in the face. Disability rights have essentially disappeared from the conversation. Without the constant pressure historically required of them, Liberals have reverted to appropriating social and political inequities into a cottage industry, buttressing their traditional self-interest.
And what was that incredibly weird Year of the Woman ABOUT? News flash: we won those gains 30 years ago. When did we agree to legitimize the fiction of a reasonable discussion by participating in it – and on such a simplistic level How did we even get drawn into a conversation about working mothers in the first place? From there it was a slippery slope to reproductive rights – straight down to “legitimate rape”.
What’s wrong with young American men? Let’s diagnose and fix this crazy nation, and re-visit that question in ten years.
Ξ R A I N B O W C R O W Ξ
Rainbow Crow©2013 by Gail Garber/gailgarber.com
Rainbow Crow was the most beautiful bird in the world with the most beautiful voice. Once upon a time, the world went dark and the animals were frightened. The great gods in the sky had stolen the light from the world! The animals wondered what to do to return the light and save their world. Rainbow Crow, who was strong and brave, volunteered to fly to the gods and ask that the light be returned.
FLYING TO HEAVEN
Rainbow Crow flew and flew, high into the sky. His muscles were weary but he kept on flying higher. Finally, when exhaustion threatened to overcome him, he arrived at the home of the Gods. With his beautiful song, he asked them to return the light. Perhaps because the Gods so enjoyed his enchanting song, they consented. The Gods gave Crow a burning torch to carry the light back to Earth. Rainbow Crow departed for the long flight home.Crow flew and flew and, as he winged his way homeward, the smoke singed his iridescent feathers and made his beautiful voice harsh and raspy!
AN ANCIENT CROW’S GRIEF.
There is still a rainbow.
Finally, he returned the light to the Earth. All the animals and they were happy. But Crow was very sad. He cried because his once beautiful feathers were now blackened and, instead of a rapturous song, he had only a croak for a voice. Today, if you look closely at the feathers of a crow or raven in just the right light, you can see all the colors of the rainbow reflected in them. The rainbow still exists!
SAY ‘THANK-YOU’ WHEN YOU MEET A CROW.
Crows are among the smartest and most ingenious of all birds. Thus, long ago, they realized that in spite of what they had lost, their beauty nevertheless reigns supreme. However, being by nature modest, they try not brag.
Crows still talk about Rainbow Crow, but then again, they have something to say about nearly everything.
Electrica in the Desert is celebrating 2, 151 viewer hits. We (that’s the editorial ‘we’) meant to celebrate at the 2,000 hit mark, but we forgot.
I know it looks out of focus, but when you look at his shorts, you can see (I think) that it’s not. Photographers: what do you say? I’d appreciate feedback.
Just when we thought we were all middle class, the Academy of Sciences caved in and said the P word, about six weeks before the big election.
Life Spans Shrink for Least-Educated Whites in the U.S.
By Sabrina Travernis, New York Times.
(EXCERPTS) The latest estimate shows life expectancy for (American) white women without a high school diploma is 73.5 years, compared with 83.9 years for white women with a college degree or more. For white men, the gap was even bigger: 67.5 years for the least educated compared with 80.4 for those with a college degree or better.
Researchers said they were baffled by the magnitude of the drop.
“There’s this enormous issue of why,” said David Cutler, an economics professor at Harvard. “It’s very puzzling and we don’t have a great explanation.”
The slump is so vexing that it became the subject of an inquiry by the National Academy of Sciences, which published a report on it last year.
“Something is going on in the lives of disadvantaged white women that is leading to some really alarming trends in life expectancy,” said Ms. Montez of Harvard.
Poor whites across the nation are breaking out extra cartons of Bud to celebrate the news that America’s top researchers and academics are already working on issues first identified in the 1970s. Meanwhile, all black woman finally surpassed poor white women in 2006 have already identified “evidence of a troubling pattern that has emerged for those at the bottom of the education ladder.”
In fact, a Professor Berkman has recently received a grant from the National Institute on Aging to fund a new cutting-edge study.
Low wage jobs could take a toll on health.
FROM ELECTRICA’S FREE-WITHOUT-A-GRANT INFO FILE
1) Poor people work harder than you do so that your life can be much easier and much longer than theirs. Their knowledge of this is perfect, keen, and burning.
2) Poor people do not give up their lives freely. They don’t donate them. They grieve them. That combined quarter-of-a-century lost by, say, a poor white married couple? (see stats above).
They want that 24 years back. They also want – and much more than you can possibly imagine – their teeth. Poor people want their teeth back.
3) You’ll never know what poor people are thinking. But they’ll know what you’re thinking.
As for Electrica, we just want to be there when the American Dental Society pleads its case before the Almighty.
We’re praying for a press pass.
“It’s been a little over a month since Sam Bonilla, a Mexican immigrant opted not to go to trial in Dodge City, Kansas for killing a local man during a situation he claims was self-defense,” Marisa Trevino wrote Friday on her Latina Lista blog.
“Bonilla’s reason for not facing a jury was [reportedly] that he didn’t feel he could get a fair trial in Dodge City because he was Latino.
“Time will tell if Dodge City officials were as clueless to the racial tensions that exist in their town, as they claim, or they just didn’t like anyone pulling off the blanket and exposing how they always did things.
“No matter which way it’s looked at, the situation in Dodge City needed to be exposed. If it had not been for Claire O’Brien, the reporter for the Dodge City Daily Globe at the time, no one would have found out about Bonilla or Dodge City.
“. . . But not everybody was happy that O’Brien exposed Dodge’s racial undercurrents. In a bizarre show of unprofessionalism, the presiding judge in Sam Bonilla’s sentencing hearing, Judge Daniel Love, took over 10 minutes to publicly berate O’Brien, who was present in the courtroom, for stirring things up in town. He blamed her choice of words in her reporting to describe Bonilla’s situation. By the time the judge was done, it was clear he viewed O’Brien as a troublemaker ‚Äî yet, everyone else should have seen her as doing her job, and doing it well.
“However, in the hours after Bonilla’s sentencing, O’Brien found herself in a situation that no reporter should be in for doing their job. Within a span of hours, O’Brien lost her job at the Daily Globe, was uninvited to speak at a journalism conference, was ignored by the Kansas Press Association in her role for finally getting the Shield Law passed in Kansas and began a quest to redeem her journalistic reputation. . . . ”