Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I watched a terrific (are there any other kind?) show on PBS last night.
Wide Angle focused on women's rights in Morocco.
As it turns out Morocco has a pretty progressive monarch fighting Islamic extremists by educating women.

One particular interview was absolutely shocking.
The person being interviewed was a woman representing a group of Islamic fundamentalists wanting to take over the Moroccan government 'non-violently.' Naturally, the king is not too thrilled.

This is the shocking part: She is opposed to teaching women to read and write. She said she was in favor of educating women, but literacy was a stupid waste of time; not real education; an imperialistic plot.
"Why teach them to read," she asked. "just so they can read Coca-Cola?"
She continued, "A, B, C, what kind of education is that?"

OK, OK, what? Excuse me, what did you just say? You support education but not literacy?
She didn't offer any educational alternatives to literacy, just trashed it as the devil's work. To point out the extreme irony of her beliefs, I'm fairly sure that she is literate.

Hearing these words from a woman's mouth is astounding. What kind of brainswashing blabber is this? I might have expected as much from men in the Taliban, but to hear a woman saying that other women shouldn't learn to read and write was just. . . terrifying.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Wow, is this ever annoying.

I know that Condi Rice has a really tough job and it must not be any easier when you have to spend all your time talking out of both sides of your mouth.
When she pledged humanitarian aid money to Lebanon I wondered how could she say it with a straight face and then how could she go home and live with herself?

We gave the Israelis money for their weapons, we haven't asked them to stop fighting Hezbollah, then we turn around and give money to Lebanon to aleviate the suffering which we are indirectly causing.

We are playing both sides of this conflict and it's crazy. Crazy.

Let's have some cojones here and pick a side. I pick Israel.

Now I pick Iran to send some humanitarian money to Lebanon.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Let's Talk About It

The Yoo-nited States, Israel, Palestine, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran all agree to sit down and talk about it on The Dr. Phil Show.
Donald Trump is sitting in for the USA, Woody Allen is representing Israel, a weeping woman dressed all in Muslim-black is Palestine. Hezbollah and Hamas are two soccer hooligans who talk like Groundskeeper Willy from The Simpsons, and Jafar from Disney's Alladin is Iran and the obnoxious parrot on his shoulder is Syria.
Dr. Phil first asks Donald Trump why he can't get along with the soccer hooligans and Jafar.
The Donald shrugs and says he's trying but they keep beating up his little friend Woody, and he just can't let that happen.
The soccor hooligans jump up and start yelling and brandishing baseball bats with nails driven through them, Palestine weeps louder and Jafar strokes his beard, smiles and shoves a cracker in Syria's mouth.
Woody Allen goes on a long rant about how sorry he is for hurting Palestine's feelings, but he really needed a place to live after WWII and he wasn't exactly in his right mind after everything that happened and when Britain offered him a place to crash, he just took it.
The Donald smiles and gives Woody an encouraging pat on the shoulder. . . of course, of course.
The soccer hooligans jump up and down, they burn some effigies, Jafar and the parrot seem to be mixing up some chemicals or something on the far side of the stage.
Dr. Phil shakes his head and asks Jafar if he could explain his particular problem with The Donald and Woody, who is sweating and looking like he could really use some alone time in the bathroom.
Jafar holds up his long deadly fingers to silence the soccer hooligans. He smiles and thin wicked smile and narrows his eyes. The crusaders have offended Islam, the Jews humiliated Palestine, they must be eliminated and that is all.
The soccer hooligans yell some more, launch a few rockets and aim their machine guns into the sky. Palestine weeps loudly.
Dr. Phil furrows his brow and asks if Jafar can modify his stance in anyway. Total elimination of Woody probably isn't realistic.
Jafar says no, no compromise, only death.
This sends the soccer hooligans over the edge and Dr. Phil's security has to come out and settle things down.
After a commercial break, Dr. Phil sits down by Palestine and asks her what she wants. If she could have anything, what would it be?
Palestine wipes her eyes and says she wants a job and a safe place to live. She continues that she wants her children to be educated and thats pretty much it.
Woody stammers thats what he wants too, but how can he give her those things when soccer hooligans keep blowing up buses and conducting cross-border raids?
Jafar starts going off about anicent history, the Koran and infidels. The Donald checks his cell phone for the current price of a gallon of oil and the soccer holligans are so whipped up that Dr. Phil's security removes them backstage.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Song on the Wind


Driving through New Mexico on Highway 666 the tire blew. I managed to steer the car to the shoulder, although a complete lack of traffic rendered such a safety-concious move impractical.

My Navajo friend, Fred, told me that white people were always doing dumb stuff like that: moving an impaired vehicle out of the way, sheesh, who cares? Leave the car where it is and wait for someone to come along and help you. Yeah, you might be sitting in the middle of the road for a couple of hours, but at least nobody can claim they didn't see you.

Surveying the shredded tire and rubbing my hot, wind-blasted back, the situation didn't look so good.
My passenger was an equally helpless white girl, suggested we try to change the tire ourselves.
"Have you ever changed a tire before?"
"Well, those bolts were screwed in with an air gun, and we'd seriously be here for the next 5 hours trying to get just one of them loose."
"We've gotta do something, we can't just sit here." whine whine whine.

I tuned out her whining and the wind brought me a gift.
A little girl singing a traditional song was herding some goats. I could hear the tinkle of the bells on their necks.
I saw the little girl in my mind: Dusty black hair pulled back in an untidy ponytail; wearing a long-sleeved red dress that any white person would complain was too warm for such a fiercely hot summer day.
She followed behind a few rag-tag goats, lightly tapping the ground or their butts with a stick.
Her song filled me like running water.
I noticed a small farm across the road and set back just a bit. There were even a few scrubby trees around the round houses.
It would be rude to approach their home. I just had to sit and wait patiently with my car.
They couldn't have helped us anyway, it didn't look like they had electricty let alone a phone.

A truck eventually came along. I can't remember how long we waited. We got a towed into town where a polite man quietly replaced our damaged tire with the spare.

Most likely they shook their heads and rolled their eyes as we drove away. "Good Luck, white bitches, don't be breaking down on our roads no more."

Highway 666 is now Highway 491; too many people complained of it's 'devil' name. But I can tell you from experience that it wasn't the devil's highway. It just went to Utah.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I'm 32.

For some reason, when I was a teenager/young adult I thought that by 32 I'd have it all together and be in the prime of my life.
This meant I'd have enough money and a nice, apple-cheeked family of my own. At age 20, 32 sounded like middle-age.
Welllllll, Reality hasn't exactly lived up to the fantasy.
But I'm 32 for 5 more months, there's still time.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Gen X-er Reminisces

SEATTLE- Pearl Jam has promised to donate $100,000 to several groups that focus on climate change, renewable energy and other environmental causes as part of an effort to offset carbon emissions the band churns out on tour.

"Wow," I thought, "Pearl Jam is still around. . . and touring?"
Pearl Jam was thee band back when I was really into bands about 14 or so years ago. Has it
been that long? Dude, I'm gettin' old.

Remember the whole grunge movement? I wore flannel shirts, baggy T-shirts, chunky, working-class type boots and I even grew my wavy hair out all Eddy Veder-esque.
Is Pearl Jam the only grunge band left?

Nirvana-suicide; Soundgarden-broke up; Alice in Chains; overdose. Who else was there? I can't even remember now. That was way back when music came in CD form and I've long since sold the mediocre ones for drugs.

I remember, laughingly, that back then, every town was about to become the 'next Seattle'.
I was living in Salt Lake City in 1995 and attending alot of live shows when some grunge-drunk local told me that Salt Lake was about to become the next Seattle.
Poor guy, he was so sincere. Unfortunatley for the local SLC bands, Salt Lake was about to become the next Salt Lake. Musically that means Michael McLean and the MoTab, not The Jack Mormons despite their totally cool name.

From 1996-1999, I listened to 3 bands almost exclusively: Alice in Chains, Jane's Addiction and Sublime. By then, I knew what I liked and wasn't interested in keeping up with the scene anymore.
(Speaking of Jane's Addiction: I am ever so pisssed at how Dave Navarro turned out. You could have been like Perry, man, but now you're just another cheese-ball celebrity.)

In 2000, I met Stephen Madsen in the basement of the house I was renting. He was the only guy I knew with a beard. He turned me onto the Grateful Dead and convinced me that all cool people live in Oregon.

All this talk about old bands has me feeling terribly nostalgic. I shall now blow the dust off "Nothing's Shocking," and be more like the ocean.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mountain Woman Meets a Muslim

I'm excited to tell you about my first-ever conversation with a real-live Muslim man from a Muslim country.
Sorry to say, I'm a hick and the social circles in which I move in don't usually include Muslims.
I already know the basics of Mr. M's religion because my own husband is from a foreign country that is home to a large Muslim population and I read alot and listen to NPR; however I was eager to get the political perspective about the Current Situation from The Real Deal.
Mr. M said a few things that were genuinely suprising. First of all, I asked him if his home country, Pakistan, knew where Osama bin Laden is hiding, and if so do they have the power to give him up?
Mr. M replied that the United States doesn't really want OBL, that OBL is just a puppet.
A puppet of whom?
The Saudis, all the terrorists who drove planes on 9/11 were Saudis, and who did the U.S. invade after 9/11? Afganistan and Iraq.
Well, weren't Taliban supporting the 9/11 terrorists?
No, they were just giving them space to train and leaving them alone.
So the US should have invaded Saudi Arabia?
Yes, but they couldn't because the Bush family and the bin Laden family are business partners. Bush knew about 9/11 ahead of time, Bush killed his fellow Americans that day so he could justify invading Iraq. . .
at this point Mrs. M was thrusting her review of 'Fahrenheit 9/11' in my face and I put up the "Too Crazy" Defense and changed the subject.
Still, the idea of OBL as a puppet has never been presented to me before, and it really blew my mind.
The second most interesting thing I learned is that Mr. M is being watched by the FBI.
Mr. M is married to a Christian, American citizen.
One day he and his wife visited the airport in the small town where Mrs. M grew up. A few days later an FBI agent came to their home while Mr. M was out and questioned Mrs. M; going so far as to ask her if she thought she may have married a terrorist.
I was truly shocked and now I am convinced that BushCo. is taking their anti-terrorist measures too far.
I'm also glad that John Roberts had to sit out the recent Supreme Court ruling about Bush's pushing the limits of presidential power. If Roberts' had voted, naturally he would have voted in favor of Bush, and we could kiss privacy as we know it good-bye.
Mr. M and I talked about a few more issues, but these two points stuck out in my mind as the highlights.
Mrs. M insisted that I borrow her copy of 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' I'm not sure I really want to watch it because the only other person who recommended it to me dosn't exactly keep up with the issues.
What do you think? Is it worth watching, or is it just crazy?

Monday, July 03, 2006


Five years ago today I met J. He said later that as soon as he saw me he knew that I was the woman God sent him to America to find.
And I was wearing shorts; he thought that was sexy.
Five years ago I ate this shit up with a spoon. Today if a guy laid those lines on me I'd ask to see a bank statement and references from previous girlfriends.

We took this self-portrait on Memorial Day. If we look old and exhausted maybe its because we just got done hiking up a hill and through a thick forest where a snake actually fell on J.'s shoulder and completely freaked him out and then I fell down in some mud and tipped the stoller over, nearly bashing our offspring's head on a rock.

Or maybe we look old and exhausted because we're still married.

The cycle continues.