Friday, August 31, 2007

Sunday Atheists

For most of my life I've lived among those who thrived on the outskirts of civilization. Many of them in my early life did well, especially the musicians, artists and dancers who learned that nothing comes to those who do not work and work and work. My model of success was based on making a go of whatever you call your art. I didn't know there were people in the world who couldn't succeed. I saw no models that told me differently until I was a grown up adult-aged woman. I saw only people who were independent, freethinking, hardworking artistic realists who believed success was within reach if you worked hard enough.

As I grew up and went to college I met those who would devote their lives to Universities and other perilous academic flesh parlors. They managed to make a decent living, influence a few strangers, and not slit their own throats upon realizing the ideal was nowhere close to the reality.

I learned to mourn from those who didn't fit in either group so they floundered and were lost in wars, accidents, bad relationships and diseases that didn't even exist while we were growing up. By the time I reached young adulthood I had a world of new knowledge and painful scars that healed on top of the wounds that came with those lessons.

But it was the immigrants within my own family and in my neighborhood who taught me the most important lesson: those who dare to leap do so alone, against all common sense, and in spite of the bleating herd--but the rewards for doing so are magnificent. If they didn't believe this, I'd be writing this post from Europe because they would not have uprooted their lives to break away from the stockade, the comfortable pasture, the herd of like-minded creatures, the holy institutions of church, school and some twisted biblical version of marriage, to come to a land where they would starve for the first few years, endure ignorance beyond belief, work hours and jobs no one wanted, and still never be completely accepted by anyone except each other.

I took these lessons with me when I moved north for Graduate school. I mistakenly believed, as many foolish youth believe, that my world was the same as everyone else's. I didn't want to be swallowed by the Academic trap that caught my friends and made them safe and sane and far less interesting than they were when words didn't matter so much. I wanted something familiar and yet something different. I didn't want structure and organization. I wanted free form, freethinking, and a minimal amount of rules based on judgements of the few.

These desires led me to gravitate toward the "new age" community because it seemed familiar in the sense that it had the right words when applied to people: artist, musician, rebel, outlaw, different. There was an aura of creative energy that had the familiar smell of childhood much as a loaf of freshly baked bread evokes memories of special times.

I thought I had come home, but I failed to see something I never expected to see in those who smelled so familiar: the stench of dogmatism. I missed it because I wasn't familiar enough with the smell to recognize it. I didn't go to church as a child or as a young adult or as an old adult. I went to nature instead. I camped out in the desert, in the mountains, the hills. But not my community, not the family I thought had adopted me as one of their own. I soon learned the community lived in the attic of a house whose foundation was something far more restrictive and dangerous to me as an individual: religion. And I also learned that because I wasn't trained in churchiness, in mandatory meetings, in standing as a herd, then I was dangerous to them. They could never own me and that meant they could never accept me.

Now you have the understand the situation here. I am a blatant Atheist. Always have been. Always will be. But I'm also someone who doesn't dismiss someone's beliefs or lack of them without having a damn good reason for doing so. That's why I went to their circles, their dances, their suppers, their gatherings, their rituals. I wanted to see how they were different, how they had left behind the past they claimed to have left behind.

I didn't see anything different. I saw the children of middle America being the children of middle America. They had their ritualized Sunday suppers that were only for "family," which was great if you were part of the family and awful if you were not. I was told that the line had to be drawn somewhere, that some people had to be included and others not. But no one told me how the decisions were made, who made them, or why I was included in such an aberration. I quit going to dinners.

They had parties and special events that were invitation only that were private and ritualized. People heard about them and once again were hurt and asked me about some of them and once again I felt bad as if it were my fault that my friends were becoming their parents. Once again it was us and them, once again it was a community of traumatized children reliving their past and inflicting wounds of vengeance on others to lessen the burden on themselves. I quit going to "events" that were closed.

They had meetings with rules and rituals and formalities that were stricter than any religion they escaped from. They had a code of community do's and don'ts that were based on nothing more than the noisiest voice generating the most acquiescence...very much like the loudest tantrum sets the agenda. And they punished, shunned, and discredited anyone who did not believe, who did not attend their churches and meetings, who did not hate and distrust those they hated and distrusted.

My circle of friends I trusted became small enough to count on one hand. And that's the moment they came after me just like the Puritans went after the witches...except they all saw themselves as witches and still do. They came after me because I refused to fight back, because I didn't see any of their issues as serious enough to give it much thought, because I trusted them with the loyalty of one who was raised to trust only her friends.

In the end, I'm proud to have been shunned and shut out by those who did so, just as I am proud of the deep and lasting friendships I have formed within the community with those who were shunned and shut out like me. I deliberately sought them out because I saw the value that the ritualists failed to see in them. And I was raised to believe it's the black sheep of the herd who are the most interesting. I've made a life of finding the blackest sheep to be part of my heart. We don't go to church. We don't go to rituals disguised as church. We don't go to mandatory meetings that exist only to decide who is in or out that week. We don't pretend we have the one and only truth squeezed into our way to tight back pocket ready to whip out and beat non-believers with.

We appreciate each other for being different, for liking and understanding and appreciating Mathematics, Science, Logic, Computers, Art and Literature...and also finding our own truths within new age spirituality. But mostly we appreciate each other because we know that not going to church on Sunday doesn't automatically make one an Atheist. It just makes you someone who can't see your own face in the mirror and therefore can't see your past sneaking up behind you and strangling the life out of you.

(bumpersticker available at:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Three Steps Toward World Peace

I went for a walk today in Whatcom Falls Park, a beautiful piece of green heaven here in the Pacific Northwest. It was one of those perfect late summer days of sun, a slight breeze, and temps in low 70's. The park has some old, majestic trees and I went to photograph them to make some more calendars. It was quiet with just the sound of leaves, wind, and the many hidden things that scurry around just below our clear level of hearing.

It was such a calm and peaceful environment to be in when in so many other places the world is in a crazy turmoil of mean-spirited, warmongering hatred that never seems to end. I wanted to bottle the peace and pass it around. I wanted to say "Here! Inhale this and go be nice to each other." I wanted to spread it all around and let people know what it felt like so they would stop being so mean and so cruel.

But peace, like love, like friendship, like anything requiring a relationship between self and the outside world, depends on more than one person. I can want peace and most of the time I'm lucky to be able to find it in some form or other within a few minutes of the desire making itself known. Others who are trapped in abusive relationships, high stress situations, and war zones can't have it no matter how strong the desire. But all of us can drop a few seeds here and there that might turn into peace. Here are a few suggestions to help them grow:

1. I put this one first because it is the most important: LEARN TO THINK FOR YOURSELF. Those who let others do their thinking for them find themselves trapped in situations they never thought would turn into a trap. If you learn to question what others throw at you as absolute truth than you are less likely to get suckered into something you don't want. This applies equally to love, religion, and war. We all have the "I can be fooled if I want to gene" and it's time to knock that little creep back into the shithole where he/she/it belongs.

Those who don't question and who feel insecure about themselves can be tricked into supporting a war based on lies. They can be tricked into believing there's such a thing as compassionate conservatism. They can be tricked into believing that wrapping oneself in the flag and screaming loudly for someone's blood is Patriotism, and not ignorant and stupid bloodlust based on bigotry. Timeline that led to War

2. The second most important thing is to BE KIND. We've become a mean culture. All you have to do is look at the movies we watch, the books we read, the politicians we elect and you will see how empty our spirits have become. I often find myself shouting to the wind Kurt Vonnegut's immortal words: "There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- "God damn it, you've got to be kind."

Commit a random act of kindness today. It doesn't require very much to think of something. You can drop a bag of groceries off at the food bank. You can mow an elderly neighbor's lawn. You can spend time with people in a nursing home. You can bake cookies for someone who is sad. You can cook dinner for someone who is tired. You can save a dog or cat from your local shelter. You can feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and shelter the homeless. You can say thank you to strangers on the other end of the phone who helped you. You can let someone cut in front of you in traffic, in line at the supermarket. You can smile at a lonely person. You can hug the unhuggable. You can give the smallest gift and have it grow into the largest gesture of kindness, caring and compassion.

3. BE YOURSELF! Most of the problems in the world are caused by those who can't accept who they are because it doesn't fit the advertising propaganda we're assaulted with on a daily basis. Those who are different, outside the norm, geeks, nerds, shy, weird, untameable, and just too damn smart for this planet are the ones who have the biggest hearts. But only you can spread the word, so get out there and quit apologizing for being real in a world that has been totally screwed up by fake, cruel and insincere people.

Larry Craig Is Not Gay


Monday, August 27, 2007

Vick, Bush, and Sanctioned Cruelty

Just like the festering boil that is the Bush administration, Michael Vick also is symbolic of a deep sickness in America right now. One of the oldest sayings is that rot starts from the top down and it sure is true these days. We have a President who lies, who cheats, who heads one of the most corrupt and immoral administrations this country has ever known. If the bought and paid for Presstitutes dared to cover the news they would be letting people know the extent of Bushco's thievery.

But the connection between a President who made torture a legacy of his administration and a sick fuck who hangs and drowns dogs is too close. Read what his neo-con criminal buddy Kristof revealed about the sickest piece of shit to ever hold office in this country Dubya's early kills. And people expect Bush to care about people dying in Iraq? He cares only about lining his own pockets and feeding his sick addictions.

And so does Michael Vick. He is the poster child for everything that is wrong in this country right now. In spite of a lavish and well-funded lifestyle, and living and playing in a world of privilege beyond most Americans, he couldn't shake the sickness of his early life. He couldn't say no to anything. He couldn't limit himself. He couldn't set aside the cruelty, the need to be overlord to something smaller and weaker. He couldn't set aside the addiction to blood lust. He couldn't be a real man in a world that defines real men only by the symbols they surround themselves with to hide the truth: big cars, big wars, expensive toys, and something smaller to humiliate and control. He is the symbol of a man who bought all the hype and none of the substance. Just like George Bush. Just like those who voted for him.

And the media, trained and humiliated and controlled lapdogs that they are, report the story of Michael Vick and breath thankful sighs he wasn't "personally" gambling. They report this as if it were far worse than torturing a small animal. Or a human being. Or killing a nation of human beings because they weaker, smaller, poorer, and easy to portray as "the enemy." Just as they report all the drama of war without covering any of the ugly truths they were complicit in creating. Just as they make the victims somehow complicit in the crimes committed against them. Just as they cover only what they've been ordered to cover and ignore the rest and therefore create more Michael Vicks, more cruel Presidents, more deaths, more corruption, more despair, more examples of what is wrong with the world instead of what is right with it.

Shirt available at Ursine Logic's Printfection store

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fuck You Michael Vick

I learned early in life that humans were some of the meanest, cruelest creatures on the planet. At the same time I learned that small furry creatures were capable of amazing gifts such as unconditional love, wild and happy tail wagging, spontaneous purring and unselfish lap warming during cold days and nights.

I also learned that those who abuse and otherwise hurt animals are some of the sickest human beings on the planet. Most serial killers hurt and tortured animals in their childhoods. It was their initiation into the horrible world of having a sick control over other living creatures that eventually progressed to torturing, abusing, and killing people.

Many of these abusers end up in prison for related crimes. Others become President. And still others, like Michael Vick, become highly paid athletes who pile even more shit on what professional sports has sunk to these days. What he did to dogs in the name of "sport" just turns my stomach. It brought out fantasies of violence in me that I didn't know I possessed. I seethed with hatred for him. I cried when I heard what he did to the dogs who weren't good enough for his sick world. I created several designs that will never see the light of day because they were as mean and violent and disgusting as he is.

But I finally settled on one. I have already donated one to a local shelter and will send out a couple more. I put a note in the package that they can be used as fundraising or nice soft bedding. I want no money. I want my design to save a dog's life, to serve as a sort of payback to the cruelty of someone like Michael Vick. I want a dog to sigh happily as he or she spins around before falling comfortably and safely asleep on my donated shirts. It won't bring back the dogs he killed so meanly, but it will give some deserving dog a bright spot in his or her doggie life. That will have to be enough for now.

Changing minds one t-shirt at a time. Visit Ursine Logic for more designs.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Looking For The Perfect Anti-war Candidate

Lately it seems the minute I get excited about a political candidate, something comes along that smacks the excitement right out of me. They always make those sweet promises like some Don Juan-a-be-president, and then leave me broken-hearted in the morning when the light exposes all their flaws. Every time I tell myself I'll be more discerning next time. I won't let myself be swayed by my heart, by the pandering to my dreams. I tell myself I know what I want, but when I think I've found him or her, I learn I've only found my own desires.

I ask myself what do I really want? And in my heart I know. I want a President that is solidly anti-war. I don't want Obama trying to show how tough he would be by saying I'd bomb this country or I'd commit this act of violence to win the support of this group or that. I want Obama to say war is the refuge of small minds who can only think with their fists. I don't want Hillary to wait so long to say the Iraq war was a big, fucking mistake based on a lie. I want her to be a true voice for change and say I will end the whole concept of war in my lifetime because I care about my future grandchildren. I want the anti-war convictions of a Cindy Sheehan who knows personally the pain of war, but I don't want her religious morality that would deny government funded abortions to poor women, or who endorses Ron Paul wholeheartedly without seeing his roots as a flaming John Bircher.

Who does that leave? It leaves Kucinich and he always gives people the impression that something big could swoop into the room and chew him up before anyone could say: hey, where's the President? And that is so wrong of me to see him that way because he is the nice guy we dated when the real assholes were dancing the night away with some bitch we all hated. It tells me how we have been trained to view peace--as this weak alternative to the real thing.

And it leaves Edwards who at least says the right words when it comes to Iraq. It takes courage to go against the war machine's vast propaganda. And I know from personal experience that it takes a strong man to deal with the serious illness of a woman he loves. Dropping a few bombs is nothing compared to waking up in the middle of the night and feeling fear grip your heart because you're helpless to heal the most important person in your life. That alone would make him a far kinder and compassionate President than most of those in the running.

But I want something different. Edwards is another rich southern white man. It's not his fault, but like Kucinich he brings that baggage of the perceived known to the relationship. You know he's a nice guy. You know he cares. You know that he would do a decent job. But damn. He's like all the other acceptable guys. I want more. I want change and the strength to undo the wrong that Bushco has inflicted on America and the world. I don't want another disaster in the White House. I want someone who is working for me, for the American people, for the dignity and honor of this country.

I still think Al Gore would be a great President because he doesn't need to be President. Unlike Bush who brought so many daddy issues with him, so much unresolved psychosis, Al Gore has a life he already loves and that satisfies him. He served in the senate and as Vice-President so his ego has been sufficiently stroked. He won't need to bomb another country to compensate for his shortcomings like that idiot meat head we now have in the office. He would be a good, decent President who experienced first-hand the horror of war and no doubt shares my distaste for keyboard warriors and moronic chicken hawks, so he would be less inclined to look for his manhood in a bomb.

I also think that Hillary's idea of sending Bill to make peace around the world is an excellent idea. In fact, it might help all of us choose more wisely if all the candidates told us ahead of time who they would appoint to cabinet positions. That way we wouldn't vote in creeps like Gonzales and Karl Rove along with the candidate. There needs to be some kind of public disclosure of future decision making so we can decide if those decisions are something we can live and prosper with.

So far, there's no one who fits everything or even some of what I want in a candidate. Maybe we'll all grow up and realize that Kucinich is the strongest candidate after all because it really takes balls to be adamantly and confidently against war in a culture that has a sick love affair with it. Maybe Kucinich is our conscience and all we have to do is listen to it for a change, just like we eventually realized we should have married that nice, boring guy instead of the exciting hunk of man meat that gave us one hell of a ride for a year or two and then moved on to something we could never again be--not for love, not for excitement, not for lust, not for anything. Maybe if we all grew up just a bit we would get some better political representatives speaking for us. Maybe...

Changing minds one t-shirt at a time. Visit Ursine Logic for more designs.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Karl Rove Resigns

I don't know about you, but I'm keeping my pets inside and advise keeping an eye on anything that can't run fast enough. It's loose. It's mad. It's evil. And it's hungry for more.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cindy Sheehan VS. Nancy Pelosi

The day after the congressional elections last year was the first time I felt a sense of optimism and a lessening of the fear that came from knowing there was a psychopath in charge of America's nuclear weapons. When Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House, I cried because I had lived long enough to see a woman break through the congressional glass ceiling. I foolishly believed she would be the first boat on the rising tide of adults taking over the responsible running of the government. Finally there would be accountability. Finally there would be an end to this unjust and illegal war. Finally someone was going to take over and say enough!

But now, months later and numerous cavings in to the Bush agenda, the removal of impeachment off the table, and a war that no one has the balls to put a stop to, I feel betrayed by Nancy Pelosi and most of the Democratic congress. I am angry that I was used to move them forward in their careers because that's all it was...a career move up the congressional ladder. There is no difference anymore between Democrats and Republicans. They are part of the same beast funded by greasy oil dollars funneled into a never-ending war machine.

I don't like feeling betrayed. I don't like feeling used. And most of all I don't like being treated like a fool. But there's a remedy for it, something I can do immediately. I don't live in California but my online store does. I don't know how people feel about Nancy Pelosi in California right now. I don't know who she is anymore or who is behind her monetarily. All I know is that I can help defeat her in the upcoming election if I put enough effort into it. All I know is that I can start today and work to put someone in Nancy Pelosi's place who understands my anger right now, my anger every time someone else dies in Bush's sick and twisted war machine, my anger every time some corrupt asshole on his umpteenth wife and fat from under the table campaign contributions has the nerve to use the word "moral" in public.

I have made three designs supporting her very qualified opposition, and I will continue to make more. I will write blog entries. I will post in forums I frequent. I will work harder than I have ever worked to replace her with Cindy Sheehan. I will do this because I know Cindy will do something about the war that cost her a son. If Nancy Pelosi lost her son in Iraq then maybe she would understand my anger and the motivation of someone like Cindy Sheehan to run against her. Maybe if Nancy Pelosi hadn't lost touch with the people who put her in power, she would understand what the voters give they can also take away.

Please support Cindy Sheehan's run for Nancy Pelosi's seat. Write Nancy Pelosi and let her know you've switched your vote and why. Let her know how angry and how disappointed you are that she abandoned the principles she was put in office to uphold. Let her know you've had enough of the charade and are voting for someone who cares what you think.

And please support the only real anti-war candidate out there, Dennis Kucinich. He has been effectively diminished by the war machine for daring to speak against war. He may not be in the running for the Presidency unless we all wake up with a heart, soul and conscience that hasn't been slimed by the mass media. But he can be the winning candidate's Vice-President. He can be the message we send to Congress that every district has a Cindy Sheehan and they had better listen to the voters or they will be replaced by those candidates. And one day when we are mature enough to make up our own minds and not believe the war machine's hype, he will make a decent President who will not start a war because his daddy liked Jeb best.

Changing minds one t-shirt at a time. Visit Ursine Logic for more designs.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ceramic Tiles From Cafepress

I made the images from my "nieces" and then dressed them up a bit...okay, a lot. I wasn't sure how all that manipulating would work on photographs, but I was really surprised at the quality. These turned out so pretty and I was impressed at how close to the image they printed out. I know what people are getting for Christmas this year. :-)

For those who love Harleys

Okay, I'll admit I'm more of a sailing and move slow type as I've never seen any reason to get to a place five seconds earlier than I need to be. And I'm not much of a fan of motorcycles, preferring the comfort of being enclosed with lots of steel before venturing out into the world of lunatics with multi-ton weapons and a bad attitude. But when my old friend John showed up on Whidbey Island after thirty years of not seeing him and brought his sweetheart, well even I can recognize a magnificent work of art.


Falling In Love With A Boat

I didn't think it was possible to fall in love with a boat until I went sailing on this one. If it is possible for a boat to have a soul, a spirit, a sense of consciousness that makes it become one with the wind, water, islands, and sky, then I want it to manifest as a big sexy hunk of a male so I can turn my life upside down and pursue it with all out lust. For those of you with an interest in details, it's a Cheoy Lee, at least a couple decades old and as the captain said: "it was built in the days before they knew how to make cheap boats."

Step into the cabin and make yourself at home.

It's good to share the water with others. :-)

The Captain

The sun, the San Juans, the water, and a dream of a boat ride.

Sigh. Time to head back but there's a nice view of Mt. Baker as we head in.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Wasting Our Legacy On War

Yesterday a bridge collapsed and people died. New Orleans hasn't been rebuilt. People died and are still dying. Every day money that could be spent on the infrastructure of our country is being spent to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq. Every day that our tax dollars go to kill people in Iraq is a day that our tax dollars are not being spent to save a life here, to give a child medical care, to give a hardworking person a decent salary, to prevent another road or another bridge from collapsing and killing more people.

This is the true cost of war. This is what happens when only the munitions makers, the warmongers, the corrupt politicians profit from the obscenity that is war. They kill more than an invented enemy. They kill us. They kill our country. They destroy instead of build. They let cures for diseases go up in the smoke of dollars wasted to kill people. They let the homeless die on the streets as they make those in other countries homeless with bombs bought with our tax dollars.

I think of golden ages, times when people prospered, when great works of art and literature were created, when great minds put forth new ideas that were exciting and made everyone feel as if life was a forward motion instead of a retreat. These were times without war. These were times when cities and communities prospered. These were times when history created itself as a positive force instead of a shameful embarrassment our grandchildren will curse as they spit on our graves and call us selfish, shortsighted, indifferent, and a waste of so much potential.

Why did we spend generations educating society, creating great minds, growing a world we could all believe in equally if the reward was a legacy of greed that will end up destroying us? Where did we go so wrong?

Maybe the answer is somewhere between the time when we quit making people accountable for their actions. Maybe it was during the time when anything could be excused, manipulated and twisted into a tool to make the formerly free become the obedient many. Maybe we trusted that aberration called "television" too much. Maybe we should have turned it off and left it that way until we call came to our senses.

But as the saying goes, it is too late to put that genie back in the bottle, but it is not too late to wake up and see that she is stealing our souls. Those with no souls are the ones with no conscience, no reflection, no awareness. They are the empty shells that can be turned into a bot army of willing sheep who question nothing, who believe they have no power, who continue to allow corrupt and greedy politicians get rich on war.

If you start today, if you tell yourself that you will do one small act for peace, one small act to educate another, one small act to make politicians accountable, then you create hope in us all. The only reason we have war instead of a new golden age is because we allowed it to happen. We shut our eyes, put our hands over our ears, screamed lalalalalala and hoped it would all go away. It didn't. It's still here. And so are we. It's time to wake up and it's way past time to do something useful during your awakening. The power is in you. Why keep it there like prisoner of fear? Drag it out. Make it dance. Make it sing. And make it strong again. Only then will we begin to give birth to another golden age and a time without war. If not you, then who?

Changing minds one t-shirt at a time. Visit Ursine Logic for more designs.