Friday, September 29, 2006

But... Butt... BUTTS

It's a rainy Friday morning in Northern California. It's the kind of morning that brings out a reflective attitude and thought process; it's a morning for reading, thinking, poetry writing and BIG IDEAS!

One of those ideas hit me a few hours ago and I couldn't decide whether to post it here, or on headbutts or Washington's Cousin.

It's a thought that applies equally to the topics of each, so I decided to throw it up here.

Give it a read... give it some thought.

I'm probably crazy, but it's clearly a good idea.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Like Hell It Was!

I promised more to say about the Saints game and about New Orleans and about... well about everything, but I find myself speechless, still, two days after the fact.

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the tires I've been driving on to try and get every last bit of rubber out of them, have finally decided to give up the ghost. Last night in The City (fortunately just as I turned a corner, as opposed to when I might have been on the Golden Gate Bridge a few minutes later, or on the downhill side of Waldo Grade half an hour later) my right front tire blew out. So now, I'm runnning on 4 bad tires and no spare. It's got my mind a bit pre-occupied.

SO... instead of coming up with grand eloquence about how deeply moved I was on Monday night (and how weird it was to be in a sports bar full of people who couldn't figure out why I kept screaming, or sobbing, or screaming AND sobbing), I am going to, instead, thank my dear friend Mary - who was actually AT THE GAME - for sending me the link to today's column from The God of Southern Journalism, Chris Rose.

Read it and weep!


P.S. My favorite line.... "Irma sang the national anthem. Jesus wept and I died. Then and there. Died over and over. Live, die, rise up. Live, die, rise up. Over and over."

Me too... and I was all the way on the other side of the country watching on a TV set in a sports bar named "Beyond the Glory."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Go Saints!

I ain't got nothin' else to say except that I really wish I was home damnit!

I'll have more to say tomorrow... but right now, all I really wanna do is go to bed.

Good game boys!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Corrie's Running...

An odd Race for the Cure this year, but something I still had to do.
this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Sun Is Going Away...

Yeah yeah... I know... it's been over a week and I haven't posted anything. It's been one of those kinda weeks, but then I guess it's really been one of those kind of years.

Thursday was the autumnal equinox, the day on the fall end of the calendar when the night time and the day time are of equal length. On top of that, there's an eclipse today as well. Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere won't really catch it, but it's out there nonetheless. From here on out to the end of the year, the sun is leaving us and moving down to warmer climes.

I feel a great temptation to follow it. To move, right along with old sol down to Brazil, or Argentina, or Peru. I would like to maintain an equilibrium of light to darkness; equal amounts sun and shadow, some sort of hope that the light at the end of the tunnel is not, in fact, a train.

A year ago I was right where I am now. I had just returned to Petaluma after having spent two weeks in exile in North Carolina. At the time, I expected my return here to be brief; a chance to pull some things together and figure out what to do while they were draining the water out of my city. By Halloween I was back in New Orleans fully imagining that by Mardi Gras we would be getting things, more or less, back to normal.

Not so, unfortunately, best laid plans of mice and men and all that sort of thing. Since that time a year ago, I've been back and forth between New Orleans and San Francisco half a dozen times and I have tried to find a place that feels like home in one of those places or the other only to continue, as before, living rather nomadically with little sense of permanence and less sense of direction.

I do like living by the seasons though. There's something that intrigues me in the feeling that I am tied close to the earth, connected with the shifting elements, tucked into Gaia's arms and floating with her rhythms as she crosses the heavens, hurtling through space.

It is certainly an interesting reality of the universe that while it seems we are making no progress at all, we are at the same time moving so fast, so furiously, through space and time. We are at one and the same instant incredibly important and totally insignificant.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Still looking for a place to call home

My friend Mary gave me a call this afternoon to let me know that one of my favorite singers in the world, Judith Owen, was on WWL radio New Orleans and that I could listen to it online. Judith is in New Orleans to play at my favorite venue anywhere, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art for their Thursday night concert. I checked her website and she'll be in San Francisco at The Makeout Room in two weeks and I'll be there to hear it. Judith, and her husband Harry Shearer, live, like me, in two places and, since Katrina, have been back and forth many times. In their case it's NOLA and Santa Monica. Thanks to the Simpsons they have resources to live in two places that I do not at this point possess, but the draw and the catch that moves them to be in both places is echoed precisely in my own experience.

This little interlude from New Orleans comes at the peak of several things that have been going on over the last few days. I've been working hard to complete material for the Churches Supporting Churches website (complete with fabulous Flash opening created by Hoz) and discussions with folks near and far about a trip I'll soon be making to New Orleans and then on to Ohio to speak to people about New Orleans. It all comes back around, like happens so often, to the sense that I am still deeply out of place. I have been in California for just over three months and I've been thinking I might stay here for another three months before heading back to The Crescent City, but there's no way I can hold out that long.

This is who I am... My heart lives in San Francisco AND New Orleans. I keep trying to delineate some kind of separation but it's never going to happen. I am of two minds, I possess two souls, I have two homes (and no home at all).

Now, I just have to figure out how to survive it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Tale of Three Cities

September 11 is what it is. Knowing that the date was coming, feeling some difficulty in knowing how to respond and some quandry at the way our government has used the suffering of our people to justify creating untold suffering on others, I have been waffling all week with what to write on this day, or whether to write at all.

Then I received an historical note from some friends at the BPFNA and I realized what I needed to write.

This is of course a day of historically trying circumstance, a memory for us as U.S. citizens that does not easily go away. What is maddening about the commemorations, and the justifications (and things like tonnight's show on ABC) is that the suffering of people has not been given its proper attention by the people who claim to be giving it attention. Instead they are simply using it (as they always do) to justify the machinations of their own power mongering and war making.

On another day, 28 years earlier, the U.S. took the occasion of another 9.11 to initiate the attack, and ultimate destruction, of the democratically elected government of Chile. Our president at the time, Tricky Dick, was behind that one as the CIA and the military joined together, much in the same way as today, to overthrow a foreign government with as much violence and disregard for human life as those guys on the planes five years ago.

On still another day, 100 years ago today, a different kind of overthrow was initiated when on September 11, 1906, Mohandas Gandhi convened a meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, to mobilize his community to oppose racially degrading legislation. On that September 11th, more than 3,000 people solemnly pledged to disobey the proposed law. this was the begining of the "Satyagraha" movement of organized nonviolent action, and the rest, as they say, is history.

As you remember the day, and those who died, please take some time to remember the others as well. The folks who died in New Orleans because our government was too busy in Iraq, the ones who have died in Iraq itself (our soldiers as well as Iraqis), thos e who were killed by us 30 years ago in South America and those who died at the hands of the dictator we installed.

Remember too... Gandhi and his peaceful revolution. The fact is not that non-violence CAN'T change the world. The fact is that it's never really been tried.

Monday, September 04, 2006

My Darling New Orleans

It's been three months since I was in the Crescent City, but just in case anybody has doubts on where my heartstrings are tugged, I want to make some things perfectly clear.

New Orleans is, and will forever be, my home.

I am currently, and will probably be for a long time, a resident of San Francisco. As most know, before moving to New Orleans last summer, I had been a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area (a term I really detest by the way) for nearly 30 years and there was a time when I felt like San Francisco was likely the only place I could ever live. That changed a few years ago when I first experienced New Orleans tugging – consciously – at my heartstrings for the first time. I later became aware of the fact that the city had been tugging at me since I was 15 (maybe even earlier) and I was just a bit too dim to notice.

Now… as I have mentioned here on several occasions, I feel a somewhat divided loyalty. There are some things that are very important to me about California in general, and San Francisco in particular. First and foremost, my daughter is here. She's one of those rare people who was born and raised in San Francisco (probably a species that is even more rare than the person born and raised in NOLA). Secondly there is the ocean and to prpoerly discuss my relationship to the ocean would take a much longer posting and perhaps an entire blog of its own. Thirdly, there's the City itself – the food, the wine, the art, the music, and the theater – the entire aesthetics of the place I have loved and been at home in for so long that it feels like it’s a part of my body and my soul. Fourth on the list, there's Northern California in particular (Big Sur especially, but that's another other story) and the whole state in general. Lastly, but by no means leastly, there are the people whom I love throughout the state. These days – because of the people, and even because of the place – I'm even in love with LA, and that's a real challenge to admit for a diehard San Franciscan like me.

But… it's interesting… I have a very different reaction to both of the places that I love to call home.

San Francisco, with my history and my daughter; with the conversation and the politics (and the beer… oh my god, the beer) and the deep sense I possess that I have been here before, is a home for me in a completely wholistic, connected, and interesting way.

New Orleans, on the other hand, with her people, her food, and the ubiquitous, effervescent music that I love, has captured my heart in a way that I have never experienced before and which I certainly never expected. I love New Orleans like no place on earth. Over the last year – and particularly over the last three months while I have been solidly back in California – I have had people engage me and ask me point blank if I'm actually planning to move back. It's such an unbelievably odd question I can't even be polite about it any longer. Yes, I say. Then I just go on (or off, depending on your perspective on my particular commmunication style) about how I can't get Louisiana outta my blood. On a day like today, when I've spent a number of hours listening to New Orleans music and thinking New Orleans thoughts, it fills me up so completely that I can hardly stand it. Like some sort of strange shamanic force, New Orleans pulls at my soul, lifting it from my body and drawing it through space and time on a journey that lands me, fully awake and aware, in the middle of St. Charles Avenue, across from Popeye's, and down the street from Cooter Brown's.

I am in love with My Darling New Orleans more than I have ever been in love with another place or (with the exception of a handful of dearly loved folks)most people and I want to be there so badly I could scream (in fact, sometimes, I do scream). My challenge right now is to figure out how to bring something to the New Orleans table. There is so much needed and so much to do, but there is little business, and even lesser resources. When I moved to The Crescent City over a year ago, I was prepared to work and dig and scrape to find the work and the resources that what I do always requires (especially in a new location). After Katrina, it's another story entirely. Everyone – or nearly everyone – in New Orleans needs help, and as a wet behind the ears newcomer I don't feel that I have the credibility, or even the right, to go after what others need to persue as well. My calling, on this side of The Thing, is to find resources to bring back to my city. To add to, or hopefully even MULTIPLY, the resources available in order to help more than just myself.

New Orleans really is my home and I am sure that I will ultimately live out the last of my life, "On the Avenue." For now, I am content – in fact there are days, sometimes even weeks, when I am significantly more than content; when I am downright happy – to be living on the western edge of the continent, looking out at the ocean and planning a way to go home.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

One more for the year...

Bob Geiger at the Huffington Post has rerun a column that he wrote last year after Katrina and if you haven't read it, you should. If you have read it, well... read it again. It's a commentary on the picture here, which is of a kid in the Superdome a few days after Katrina.

The picture itself, and Bob's reaction to it reminds me of the first time I went to Nicaragua in December of 83, when my daughter was just about to turn two. It seemed like every kid in that war torn country was "dos anos." They were all just cute little terrors that reminded me, several times a day of the little girl I had left safely behind in California. The problem was, these kids weren't safe. Their houses were being shot at, their farms were being burned, and their parents were being murdered, by people who, at the very least, were being encouraged by our government, or were being paid by our government, or, worst of all, were American soldiers sent to fight against the Sandinista government and the people of Nicaragua. When I got back to the U.S. a fortnight later, I was forced to face into my own complicity in their horrors, sickness and death. I had to face the fact that my little girl was safe, while they were in danger, and I was responsible for both situations. That realization led me to take a number of actions that I'll have to go into some other time on some other blog, but some of those actions are still affecting me today.

The little boy in the picture, and Bob's beautiful column in response is the same situation all over again, only this time it's all happening on our "home ground."

The fact remains that, whether it's a kid down the block , on the other side of the country, or on the other side of the world, we are all in this damn life together, and somewhere, sometime, pretty damn soon, we all better start acting like it.

In the meantime... read it and weep.

Friday, September 01, 2006

It's Hell Without Brains

I'm sitting on Petaluma Boulevard using the WiFi from a real estate office across the street.

In front of me just pulled up a big gas guzzling silverado pickup with a smiling fish sticker (looks kind of like a Jesus Shark) on the tailgate.

On the right side of the rear bumper is a sticker that states "It's HELL without JESUS" (along with attendant cheap graphical rendition of hell fire), on the left rear bumper is a sticker that states "fucbinladen."

I don't know what it's like without Jesus (though I'm pretty sure that I'm not interested in this guy's version of him), but damn if it sure ain't hell without brains!