Sunday, July 18, 2010
My life is in transition, and my daughter Casie and I are in the process of moving. We've looked at a few places, from rooms to rent to apartments and may end up moving in with relatives.
My son, Xavier, has been having a fit over the move, and it hasn't been easy for either of us. He's gone from rage at the lunatic landlord in the basement for telling us we have to move because he's moving, to depression. He'll probably stay with his half sister or bunk with friends.
On a lighter note, the funniest story is when Casie and I had dinner at a New Age, 'go green', vegan group house. I went out of curiosity and because the rent was cheap.
It was hot as mofo up in there. They've 'gone green' to save on air conditioning.
As we finished our dinner, I noticed they have only one refrigerator.
"How do you all keep your foods separated?", I asked.
The head of this cult answered.
"We each pay $100 for the grocery bill each month," he said, "That's to pay for non-food items. Otherwise we grow our vegetables and we liberate food several times a week."
"Liberate food?", I asked, puzzled.
He described what this was. Casie and I stared at our now empty plates. It was all I could do to keep a straight face.
I said, "You mean you go dumpster diving?"
"You could put it that way. It's one of the chores you can sign up for."
When pigs fly.
Ya know, our country has taken a helluva beating economically. These were white folks, half who had decent jobs in the recent past but sank to this to survive. They're holding tight onto their middle class image buy dressing up their new poverty with Orwellian-like phrases such as going green and liberating food, and becoming vegetarians because they can't afford meat.
"What if I buy and cook a steak?", I asked.
"Some people might get offended," he replied.
More like hungry, I thought.
The cult leader, which is how I think of him, is raking in the money. Toilet paper, soap and detergent for ten boarders don't cost no got damned $1,000 a month, and lemme tell you, that top floor room they had for rent wasn't nearly as big as advertised and was hot as an oven.
Scams are everywhere to sucker people looking for cheap housing. My own landlord, who ain't shit, will probably skip out of town with my deposit next week. The news always talks about the housing market, yet barely says a word about the high cost of apartments; those rents haven't budged, and from what I see, continue to go up.
Man, I wish the hell I had done some things differently, but I didn't. I did the best I could, so I have to let it go. This transition is presenting some hard choices. I may have to give up my beloved little dog who brings so much comfort to me. Well, with perseverance and a little luck, I think I can rebuild my savings and my life.
I really have no other choice.
My Internet will be cut sometime this week, and I'm not in a hurry to get it turned on again. I've been taking a break from the news and it's felt nice being unwired. Heck, most of the news stories have been horrible this year anyway.
So, I'm in blogging lite mode for the rest of summer. Once I turn in my cable box, I'll turn comment moderation on.
By the way! I was awake when the 3.6 earthquake hit the the DC area. Man, what a shocker. I heard the rumble, the house shook, and my windows rattled. It lasted a long time too, maybe six or eight seconds. I ran to check on Casie (Xavier wasn't home) and it woke her up.
The earthquake made me wonder, along with all of these other converging problems, if the hands of fate aren't pushing me toward a new destiny.
I wish God would tell me what to do. I keep listening...
Posted by Kit (Keep It Trill) at 4:30 PM
Monday, July 5, 2010
What does a difficult person have in common with an onion?
What does a crazy relationship have in common with a maze?
When you visualize an onion and a maze, and attach the images to those concepts, the answer is intuitive, even when it's hard to put in words.
You might recall your first childhood science experiment with an onion. Remember your surprise when you peeled it, and how many layers it had before getting to the center? How some onions have two centers? How your eyes began to burn and tear up?
How many people have you met like this since then? Or been closely involved with?
The thing about a relationship with, for lack of a better phrase, an Onion Head, is their appeal can be their mystery.
Most of us like a little mystery in those who initially attracted us. It gives us time to build a fantasy around this new person.
"Oooh, he has a good job!"
"She's so pretty and nice!"
Okay, so he has a good job. So what. He might be so incompetent at it that he has one foot on a banana peel and the other on the way to the unemployment line, or worse, he's the office backstabber, which is part of his overall character.
And her? He ain't seen her when she first wakes up, and her family and last five boyfriends can testify she ain't all that nice.
Show me someone who came home from a bad first date, and I'll guess one possible reason is their date revealed too much too soon and didn't know when to shut up.
This should be considered a good first date when the person is solid and genuine, but just awkward. Human nature is weird though, and that need for a little mystery thing has eliminated a lot of good folks.
Some bad dates of this category are good. They tell all and thus reveal their low character and/or questionable values from the start, and when it's over, you know you don't have to waste any further time with them.
But then there are the Mutant Onion Heads. They have lots of mystery, often combined with some characteristic that draws others to them without making them cry until numerous layers have been peeled away.
These are the men or women who lure you into some kind of intense relationship with them. Time is an investment, and like any investment, the more you put in, the harder it is to walk away. The reason again has to do with human nature. We hate to think we gave up a lot for little or nothing in return, so we hang in there, hoping things will return to early days before the onion made you cry.
But an onion is an onion is an onion... and the longer you stay, the more layers are revealed and the more your eyes burn with pain from the noxious fumes of who they really are.
By this time, you're in a relationship with them, which is like a maze. There is no straight path to their intentions much less their heart. It's all about twists and turns and getting lost... so lost that finding your way out is as hellish your previous attempts to find their center.
There is no birds-eye view from above where you can see how to get closer to the person or to find the exit. Don't expect any honest hints from the Mutant Onion Head either.
That's what got you into the maze in the first place.
What is normal?
Some of us came from families where a significant caretaker had Onion Head qualities. This can make that kind of behavior normal in our eyes. The norm is not knowing, yet wanting to know, so we re-enact this relationship over and over again as adults, subconsciously hoping we'll get it right by either finding the core, or getting the strength and clarity to conquer the problem by finding our way out of the maze.
This isn't to say getting lost in this kind of relationship with this kind of person can't happen to anyone; it does all the time, just not nearly as often.
What happens when the Mutant Onion Head isn't a person?
It can be a group, such as a workplace, community group, place of worship, training school, street gang, social club, media outlet, corporation, political party, or even a military or nation.
And why not? The mystery is there. It - whatever it is - appeals to our need to connect and join something interesting that we can be a part of.
When things are "interesting", it's usually because you don't know something and want to find out more. We may be more vulnerable to this than previous generations because we live in a fantasy-based, wishful thinking culture.
To compound our need for an interesting experiences, we want to be involved and to participate. Mankind is a social animal that gets lonely, and in groups, wants and needs recognition. This includes groups of two, such as you and the person you like or love, or being part of a larger group.
We naturally look for the core. It is there that the center resides. The question is, or should be, is person, group or nation centered, and without too many layers that involve navigating through a complicated maze to get there, or to get to the truth of what they're really about?
If there is too much mystery and too many secrets, either there is no core, or there's more than one. This means no values, or split values reserved for different people or groups at different times.
"He has a good job."
Posted by Kit (Keep It Trill) at 1:42 AM
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I'm feeling a little weepy inside now. I've had a few cyber friends confide to me this year about their health. For my readers who believe in prayer, I'll ask you to say one or a few on their behalf. I won't use "he" or "she" because I value their privacy.
One is undergoing an extreme health problem that sounds like a matter of life and death.
Another underwent surgery a couple months back but needs another one. It's not life or death, but it is a quality of life issue.
Two have problems with family. It is just dawning on them that the road will be long and hard with their children.
Another is struggling to avoid relapse and a descent into old ways.
Quite a few of our bloggers are out of work or barely working, and barely getting by. Not knowing if you'll be able to make critical bills from one month to the next and robbing Peter to pay Paul and doing without things that really are necessities grinds you down slowly.
Also two bloggers I am fond of are missing in action. One is a survivalist and another had a personal blog. Poof. Those blogs have disappeared. I hope they're okay and would love to get an email from them.
And a lot of us are just tired.
I lay awake at night, thinking about my own problems, those of those closest to me, my concern for fellow bloggers and readers, and how freaked out I am over the oil catastrophe. It all weighs heavily on me. My mind wanders to a beautiful place, like the one below, as I dream of better days for the planet and many people.
When some things are done, they cannot be undone. A problem can be solved, a condition can be managed. There is a difference.
We work around the conditions in our lives all the time. The weather is one and the simplest example. We can't change it, but we can try to dress appropriately for it and usually find shelter from the storms. Doesn't always work out well. Our problems or conditions can be utterly overwhelming. In times like these, many of us beat the odds and are carried through by sheer luck - or God.
I can't prove it logically, but I have the faith to believe that He listens and answers - unless he has a different plan for us.
This is why I pray. I pray because He can hear me. It's His call on whether to answer me and how. Sounds strange, I guess, to some of you, since I'm not a regular church goer and have a real distrust for organized religion. Yeah, organized by man who corrupts everything he touches.
I refuse to let the darkness in the hearts of us all corrupt my faith. In particular, I never forget that good does spring from out of religion. It's just spotty and inconsistent, ya know?
I credit a lot of my analytical skills and universal way of looking at humanity as one family to those marvelous nuns who taught me so well in elementary school, and to the many other people who roll up their sleeves every day to combat an infinite number of human problems.
But God is different from religion. I trust Him with all my heart, mind, and soul, and trust that His plan is bigger than mine.
Before you leave this post, if you think prayer helps, please say one for my readers, especially the first one I mentioned who is so very ill, and the others who are suffering too, in their own way.
Posted by Kit (Keep It Trill) at 9:38 PM
Saturday, June 26, 2010
My daughter, Casie, has a friend she spends a lot of time with. I'll just call him Tee. He's smart, funny, and very gay, and her hair has never looked better. Physically, the two resemble one another enough to be siblings.
Tee's grandmother is in town and has fallen in love with my daughter. In the past week, she's taken them to the play bingo, browse at the mall, and out to lunch and dinner. I finally got to meet her yesterday.
She chatted on for about ten minutes about absolutely nothing. I bore easily from superficial conversation, so asked her where she went to school and what she did for a living. That's when the conversation got interesting.
"I graduated in nursing," she said, "and I worked as one for the Army."
"Really? That must have been exciting."
"Yes," she agreed. "I was stationed in Iraq during the first Gulf War..."
Tee's grandmother told me about injuries and the dead and the stress, and the illness that led to her early retirement.
She said, "I developed Gulf War Syndrome."
She described the the chronic fatigue, muscle aches from head to toe, headaches, and sensitivity to chemicals. The symptoms would come and go, at times the pain was just miserable, and it took over three years before her doctors stopped telling her - and other affected soldiers - that it was "all in their head."
As I listened, I wondered about something I'd read the same day.
"It sounds a lot like what the Gulf oil workers and some residents are experiencing from the spill," I said.
Her voice turned sad. "It wouldn't surprise me," she said. "It wouldn't surprise me at all."
She'd already read about the condition 109 workers contracted called TILT, short for Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance.
A rose is but a rose by any other name.
Today, Casie told me that Tee's grandmother, who lives near the charming coastal city of Savannah, Georgia, invited her visit in late July.
"She said she'll pay my airfare. Please Mom?"
I know the ocean currents. I know that the toxic witches brew in the Gulf of Death will spread up the east coast by the year's end. I know this, not from reading those stupid, panic sites, but from the hard science of the Gulf Loop and the Ocean Conveyor Belt, and from this abomination of man's stupidity resulting in still gushing oil, now anywhere from one to four million gallons per day. Already ocean wildlife is fleeing the most toxic, low-oxygen areas for safety, even if means them moving into more shallow waters.
Casie hasn't been to a pretty beach since she was a little girl and I had money to burn in Florida. The ones around Savannah are nice too, from what I hear.
I have no idea if a hurricane will come along and blow toxic fumes across that area. Never did I think I'd have to think about this kind of insanity while raising a child. Never would say I no, either, if the weather is calm.
I loved the beach so much that the first summer I had a car, I drove an hour to get to the nearest one three times a week. I'd go alone with a book and a sandwich to heal from my first broken heart. The ocean was calming and did it's magic. In my 30s, I was practically packed up and ready to move to Florida but my mother worried the hell out of me to not go. Here's a sample of our conversations:
"The Klan will lynch you."
"Lighting will strike you."
"Come on, Ma."
She looked at Xavier, who was six years old.
"An alligator will eat him."
I paused. The house I'd picked out - yes, I had even chosen one in the Tampa area - had a lake that was literally a stone's throw from the back door.
"Eh," I shrugged, "he'll be okay."
"I like gators Mommy," Xavier piped up. "I sat on one!"
"Yeah baby, I know."
Indeed he had, at Gator Land. He had waved his hand in the audience and got chosen to sit behind the gator handler. Mr. Gator was five or six feet long, but had his mouth taped shut.
Finally, my mother got to me.
"I'm old," she whined. "I'll die up here all alone."
"Then come with me! How many times do I have to beg you?"
"I can't leave here. It's my home. I'll never figure out how to drive to the stores down there. I don't want get lost or be stuck in the house all the time."
I gave up and stayed. Had it not been for the adoption agency unexpectedly placing my daughter in my arms the following year, I would have regretted my surrender.
Every now and then, I wonder how our lives would be different had I moved a year or two later after the adoption was final, but by then, my mother really was getting a bit more frail.
Such mixed feelings! How do you be true to yourself, yet loyal to those you love when their needs are greater than your heart's desire?
I don't know, I only know that true love sometimes requires great sacrifice. I made a pact with myself, however, that I would never, ever stand in the way of the dreams of my children, no matter how much I may need them one day. Whether or not I can keep that promise to myself is yet to be seen.
So now, my daughter sat before me, awaiting my answer if she could have a week at the beach in late July... and all I could think of was damned hurricane season and the possibility of toxic winds carrying sickness up to Georgia.
Finally, I stuttered, "Probably yes, but for now, it's a we'll see."
I felt like such an idiot, but to hide this, I explained wind patterns - again. Before it was just Mama writing about some far away problem, but this time Casie listened carefully since it might affect her, all the while quite possibly thinking, Mama is worrying too much and needs a vacation more than me, or worse, Mama done lost her damn mind.
Yeah, I'm sure some of you parents out reading this know it be's like dat sometime.
At least Casie didn't laugh at me and call me crazy. I'm sure that's what I would have done to my father at age 14 under the same circumstances, and my mother would have been laughing at him with me.
You see, she was a DC city girl, but my dad grew up farming in the Midwest. He learned from nature and knew the weather, and when he talked about it, it's wasn't nothing as banal as "Nice day today, huh?"
If he were alive, he'd be glued to the The Weather Channel and the Gulf oil news worse than me, and had his own personal preparedness evacuation plan ready... just in case.
And bitchin' nonstop.
In these times where Orwellian-style public relations is king, and sweeping problems under the rug and cover ups are the norm, it's like this. Until something is on the front pages and in the news with whoever "is in charge" talking about it, the gravity of a crisis either doesn't matter or doesn't exist. As long as we think we won't be touched by it, many of us sit back and say, oh, that's too bad - for them.
We are rarely "them" - until we are - and this is my greatest fear, that that day of reckoning is almost upon us.
Meanwhile, there are:
1) Those like me who are scared. We know the situation is very grim and thus have good reason to worry, but all the omissions, along with the misinformation leaves a void of just how bad is bad?
2) Those who like to scare others. They make up shit for fun, like the bozo who said it was raining oil in New Orleans, or this person who has video of the live stream stream oil well leak where you see a door open in the background. This alleges that the whole thing is being taped in a studio. Betcha he shot that through an aquarium.
Then there's the guy who video taped a field and said "the birds" had migrated to his state when they usually don't. I didn't see no fuckin' birds. There were some in the distance on a telephone wire, probably a bunch of summertime crows, but he didn't walk his azz over there to show them, or the alleged birds in the forest.
Or they scare folks to profit by getting their name out there as an expert, or selling DVDs, books, and/or memberships to their "informative" websites,
Or to push their beliefs, i.e., Armageddon, 2012, or a New Word Order plot (yes I think the NWO exists and that mega-corporate globalists will take advantage of the situation, but I think greed-based gross negligence is the culprit; like the bumper sticker says: Shit Happens); or the lady on YouTube who said the dolphins communicated to her that they're just fine because the oil leak wasn't that bad.
3) The ones in charge who are too scared to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, because they don't want to get sued, lose their political positions or jobs, or go to jail.
All of this leaves me feeling exactly like this person who left a comment at this blog:
There is so much we are not being told about the bad effects of this spill on whales, dolphins, fish, marshes, people, and so on, it is frustrating to also see these crazy, over the top stories.
Do you remember Dr. Dolittle and the creature the "push-me-pull-you"?
That's what this is like.
On the "push me" side, I want to know a lot more about how bad this really is.
I want to hear credible figures about how much oil is coming out, I want to know what is going on on the sea bed, I'd like to know about all the fish and animals.
I want to know if and when the oil is going to go into the Gulf Stream, and what that means for all of us.
What will happen if a lot of the oxygen producing plankton dies?
This is a bad enough situation, and I hate feeling that there is a lot of high priced PR talent working to make sure that the bad news does not come out.
On the "pull you" side, I want these morons with their oil rains and their evacuations of 20 million people to go shit up a tree.
It is an odd feeling, to be simultaneously ready to believe that this is the single worst thing ever to have happened, ever... and also to want people to chill the fuck out.
That video of the oil rain guy made me wish that the man from "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" would come up behind him with one of those tranquilizer darts they use on bears.
Maybe I just need a cocktail.
Amen, and me too.
Posted by Kit (Keep It Trill) at 12:25 AM
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Update 6/24 @ 12:10 AM - The EPA has a BP Air Monitoring page with a zoomable map of toxic air quality in affected areas along the Gulf Coast on it's site.
At this moment, they state:
"EPA has observed odor-causing pollutants associated with oil on the shore in the gulf region at low levels. Some of these chemicals may cause short-lived effects like headache, eye, nose and throat irritation, or nausea. Some people may be able to smell several of these chemicals at levels well below those that would cause short-term health problems.
EPA is also conducting additional air monitoring for ozone and airborne particulate matter. The air monitoring conducted through June 21 has found levels of ozone and particulates ranging from the "good" to "unhealthy for sensitive groups" levels on EPA's Air Quality Index."
A week ago on 6/16, "Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals are in, showing 109 reports of illnesses from spill workers and others after exposure to polluted water, tar balls, liquid oil, odor and fumes, dispersant, and heat in the Gulf," and this was a 35% increase since the previous week.
"The illness -- marked by headaches, fatigue, upset stomach, and problems with memory and concentration -- has been dubbed Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance, or TILT. People suffering from TILT lose the ability to tolerate exposures to household chemical products, medication or even food...
"Regardless of whether the illness being reported in Gulf cleanup workers and residents ends up being confirmed as TILT, the fact remains that the chemicals people are being exposed to in the oil and dispersants are known to have health impacts including eye, skin and respiratory irritation, as well as headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea and confusion. An analysis of EPA air testing data has found levels of these chemicals in coastal communities exceeding safety standards..."
********* End Updates *********
Study the wind patterns.
Read the captions.
Category 3 Hurricane
Category 5 Hurricane
Gulf of Mexico, Early June 2010
Highly Toxic Oil Dispersant Overused In The Gulf
Toxic Chemicals & Methane Gas In The Gulf Rise Into The Air.
Moisture is released from the clouds as rain.
Roll of the Die, by Kit
Amy, Joe, Jamal, Erin, Samantha, Troy, Tanisha, Larry, Michelle,
Michael, Julia, David, Benjamin, Maria, Chris, Bobby, Ming, Jose, Yasmin
Not pictured: See accompanying In Memoriam book.
Riddle me this:
"The answer is blowin' in the wind."
~ Stevie Wonder
What is the question?
After studying the hurricane wind patterns, are you safe?
Thought for now and weeks to come:
Got a back up plan?
Posted by Kit (Keep It Trill) at 5:55 PM
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
"I will renounce Ice Cube and all his works."
And thus in Season 3, Episode 8, titled "Pause" (start at about 6:30), the Boondocks' Grandfather, Robert, repeated this pact with racism to get fame, women, and escape the boring life he lives.
Now that was deep.
Tying it in with religion was genius.
For you young'uns, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre were two of the original NWA. They picked up on the revolution for justice in the black community when the say it loud, I'm black and proud meme ran out of gas. Until they had beef in the early 90's and gradually became less political by glorifying gangsterism for the sake of it (Dre more so than Ice Cube), those bros excelled at protesting police brutality and "just us" in the jails.
At one time, a sure fire way for brothas to get chicks was to be an activist. Who the FBI didn't kill, the media co-opted. Along came Good Times, The Jeffersons, Cosby, Diff'rent Strokes, and Oprah. None of them were mad, or mad enough, about anything. Just as happy as they could be. Drive a few miles from where those TV shows were taped and you'd be rolling through Black Shanty Town, USA.
My point isn't to bash the entertainment factor of what they had to offer, or Tyler Perry's thang either because I do like him, but to illustrate that Hollyweird is guilty of overusing this script as tool to smother the fires of legitimate concerns about racism, and along with it, the creativity of writers and producers who would address this side of the culture if their work wasn't killed in the cradle.
A second brief segment in this cutting edge Boondocks episode is stunningly brilliant - but a very subtle social commentary made by Aaron McGruder.
In this spoof (at around 5:20), "Winston Jerome" is the cross-dressing director and will play the role of Ma Duke.
He announces, "Ma Duke should find herself a man."
The question to Granddad Robert is, "Do you think you're man enough for Ma Duke?"
Granddad says yes. He's dying for fame, remember?
So in this role, his line is to say to 'her', "You are a strong, intelligent black woman who will make me a better man."
Wow. I had to think about that shit - and then it clicked.
Have we gotten to the point where the strong black woman is expected to act like a cross dressing gay man?
Before you jump up and say oh hell no, think about the increasing sexual expectations of young women.
All year I've been fighting the urge to heave when I read posts promoting sistas to not only suck but to swallow and to take it up the azz, and to stop sweating the men over commitments and marriage, and instead to "just have fun".
Now that's some gay lifestyle shit.
As I see it, it's been pushed on women to behave promiscuously like gay men.
This goes hand in hand with Hollyweird and the feminization our men.
Who is perceived by White America as being less dangerous than the gay black male? I swear they get office jobs hands down twice as much as the straight black male applicants. I ain't hating on the gays, and eff you if you think I am, but Aaron McGruder is on to something in that scene.
McGruder also goes after the loonier, deeply closeted gay yet homophobic side of black churches. It makes me think of this 2007 favorite Ice Cube video as a symptom of straight urban male backlash.
Otherwise I don't feel the need to comment on the religious or the skin complexion issues because Twitter and other bloggers (check out Chauncey's and Nordette's posts) are already smokin' hot on that, and some other angles.
Thumbs up and a standing ovation to Aaron McGruder for being perhaps the best social commentator of our times. You can watch all the Season 3 episodes here.
Posted by Kit (Keep It Trill) at 10:35 AM
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Dear Empty Seat at the head of the table,
Happy Father's Day.
I know that you can't talk back, but if the occupant could, he would. He'd smile and say thank you and pretend that he likes the funny tie or pair of socks or the picture one of the kids drew.
I understand your seat is empty because he's dead, locked up, fighting a war to kill someone elses daddy, is too broke and embarrassed to come around, or just had his mind filled up with so much bullshit that he forgot how to love himself, and by extension, anyone else.
Yes, I know that a lot of grandfathers and uncles and stepdads try to fill your space. Even the mothers and women folk try this, but it's a strain for them to sit in two places at the same time, and most prefer not to play an endless game of musical chairs.
I know that substitutes in your spot isn't quite the same, but most people are good and do what needs to be done when they can, so try not to cry.
The world is not ready to throw you away, although there are people in it who would like to destroy you even though they lie and say otherwise about wanting "intact" families. They're really only talking about their group and their chair that sits at the head of their table. If they really meant what they said, they wouldn't make life so miserable and difficult to survive for your occupant.
Maybe one day, a son of the man who should enjoy your throne will avoid or escape the brutality of the world and keep you warm.
Until then, a good strategy is for families to use round tables. There are many reasons people do this anyway, such as preference of design, but one that's rarely discussed is it helps to not be constantly reminded of your missing occupant.
Anyway, I wish you a Happy Father's Day.
The loved ones left behind
Posted by Kit (Keep It Trill) at 9:00 AM
Friday, June 18, 2010
There Will Be No Turning Back:
The "Ringworm Children" Story As A Manifestation Of Tribalism & Other "Isms"
I rarely write about or comment on anything that has to do with Israel, particularly Zionism-based politics. The reason is that the current government is as hard right as hardest right of the GOP, and have that Tea Party flavor when it comes to brown people.
Like our haters over here who are quick to call you a racist for complaining about racism, I've seen too many times anyone criticizing an Israeli policy or practice called an anti-Semite. Writing opinions about their political and military shit is rarely worth the headache.
However, I discovered some history that I had never read about before. Ever hear about The Ringworm Children? I'll tell you about them in a moment.
What happened then is as racist as the 1940s Brits and US Government setting up Israel in 1948 not "just to be nice" to post-Holocaust Jewry, but more to carry out a racist agenda for Jews to be the "plantation overseer" of the olive and browned skinned Persians and Arabs of the Middle East.
The good 'ole boys used the Southern strategy of placing Jews in the plantation 'overseer' role, which is a glorified House Negro as a state, in charge of and the darker "primitive" peoples. No one knows better than the average American black folk that the House Negro often internalizes racism, and become as oppressive as the oppressor, sometimes more so, to prove he's assimilated and better.
This divide and conquer strategy set the stage for hate and war between the two groups, and for both to get used and abused by white Europeans and Americans in power, who historically try to get something for nothing by any means possible.
The documentary film is titled "The Ringworm Children". It's 45 minutes long, has subtitles, and won Best Documentary at the Haifa International film festival in 2005. Author Barry Chamish wrote a review, which was fortunately reprinted here, because the original site, Israeli Insider, is gone.
I like the film better myself because it more graphically shows the racism and the children, and because Chamish, in his otherwise excellent written review, avoided using the word "North African" to describe Jewish children from Morocco who immigrated to Israel.
These darker, Sephardi children and many others from Middle Eastern countries had their brains blasted with an overdose of radiation in a "social medical" program, stated in the documentary to be a eugenics program ridding Israel of 'unacceptable Jews'.
This was done under the guise of treating them for ringworm during a class trip. Anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 children were irradiated with mega doses of radiation, well known at the time for causing cancer, death, sterilizing, and risking mutant progeny.
Below are excerpts of the written review of the film in case you don't have time or inclination to watch it, and after that, a brief news clip illustrating the continued divide between the two groups, and a commentary by me.
"The subject is the mass irradiation of hundreds of thousands of Jewish children who immigrated from Middle Eastern and North African countries -- Sephardim, as they are called today.
In 1951, the director general of the Israeli Health Ministry, Dr. Chaim Sheba, flew to America and returned with seven x-ray machines, supplied to him by the American army.
They were to be used in a mass atomic experiment with an entire generation of Sephardi youths to be used as guinea pigs. Every Sephardi child was to be given 35,000 times the maximum dose of x-rays through his head. For doing so, the American government paid the Israeli government 300 million Israeli liras a year. The entire Health budget was 60 million liras. The money paid by the Americans is equivalent to billions of dollars today.
To fool the parents of the victims, the children were taken away on "school trips" and their parents were later told the x-rays were a treatment for the scourge of scalpal ringworm. 6,000 of the children died shortly after their doses were given, while many of the rest developed cancers that killed thousands over time and are still killing them now. While living, the victims suffered from disorders such as epilepsy, amnesia, Alzheimer's disease, chronic headaches and psychosis.
That is the subject of the documentary in cold terms. It is another matter to see the victims on the screen...
The majority of the victims were Moroccan because they were the most numerous of the Sephardi immigrants. The generation that was poisoned became the country's perpetual poor and criminal class. It didn't make sense. The Moroccans who fled to France became prosperous and highly educated. The common explanation was that France got the rich, thus smart ones. The real explanation is that every French Moroccan child didn't have his brain cells fried with gamma rays.
The film made it perfectly plain that this operation was no accident. The dangers of x-rays had been known for over forty years. We read the official guidelines for x-ray treatment in 1952. The maximum dose to be given a child in Israel was .5 rad. There was no mistake made. The children were deliberately poisoned.
David Deri makes the point that only Sephardi children received the x-rays: "I was in class and the men came to take us on a tour. They asked our names. The Ashkenazi [Jews of European descent] children were told to return to their seats. The dark children were put on the bus."
The film presents a historian who first gives a potted history of the eugenics movement. In a later sound bite, he declares that the ringworm operation was a eugenics program aimed at weeding out the perceived weak strains of society. The Moroccan lady is back on the screen. "It was a Holocaust, a Sephardi Holocaust. And what I want to know is why no one stood up to stop it."
David Deri, on film and then as a panel member, relates the frustration he encountered when trying to find his childhood medical records. "All I wanted to know was what they did to me. I wanted to know who authorized it. I wanted to trace the chain of command. But the Health Ministry told me my records were missing."
Boaz Lev, the Health Ministry's spokesman chimes in: "Almost all the records were burned in a fire."
We are told that a US law in the late '40s put a stop to the human radiation experiments conducted on prisoners, the mentally feeble and the like. The American atomic program needed a new source of human lab rats and the Israeli government supplied it. Here was the government cabinet at the time of the ringworm atrocities:
Prime Minister - David Ben Gurion;
Finance Minister - Eliezer Kaplan;
Settlement Minister - Levi Eshkol;
Foreign Minister - Moshe Sharrett;
Health Minister - Yosef Burg;
Labor Minister - Golda Meir;
Police Minister - Amos Ben Gurion.
The highest ranking non-cabinet post belonged to the Director General of the Defence Ministry, Shimon Peres.
That a program involving the equivalent of billions of dollars of American government funds should be unknown to the Prime Minister of cash-strapped Israel is ridiculous. Ben Gurion had to have been in on the horrors and undoubtedly chose his son to be Police Minister in case anyone interfered with them.
Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan was rewarded for eternity with a hospital named after him near Rehovot. But he's not alone in this honor. Chaim Sheba, who ran Ringworm Incorporated, had a whole medical complex named after him. Needless to say, if there is an ounce of decency in the local medical profession, those hospital names will have to change...
There is one person alive who knows the truth: Shimon Peres. The only way to get to the truth and start the healing is to investigate him for his role in the mass poisoning of over 100,000 Sephardi children and youth.
But here is why that won't happen. The film was aired at the same time as the highest-rated TV show of the year, the finale of Israel's talent-hunt show: "A Star Is Born." The next day, the newly-born star's photo took up half the front pages. There was not a word about The Ringworm Children in any paper, nor on the Internet. Until now."
- Barry Chamish, 10/28/2005
Nearly sixty years later In today's news in Israel:
"Police across the country were on high alert, as thousands of protesters massed near the main entrance to Jerusalem...
The protests were called after a Supreme Court ruling ordered the jailing of a group of Ashkenazi parents of European origin who are refusing to send their daughters to a school with Jewish girls of Middle Eastern, or Sephardi, descent.
But although the ruling effectively pitted the ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazis against the Sephardis, both communities have come together for a mass protest against what they see as the intolerable intervention of the secular state in their religious affairs."
Sound familiar? It should. Most white, black, and Latino Americans are Christians. The whiter Ashkenazis and more melanin-rich Sephardis are Jews.
What we all have in common is we're still suffering from the devastating impact slavery.
While it's easy to say there is something effed up about "white people", this is too simplistic. Back when whites lived in Europe and thought the earth was flat and knew little to nothing of the existence of non-whites, most of them lived and died as peasants in a brutal feudal system serving lords and kings. These serfs were as mercilessly exploited and expendable as non-whites in many places today.
Prior to this and across every group in the world, we can call it plain old tribalism, which generally includes a component of sexism. Tribalism is not necessarily genocidal, but it can be, and there are plenty of examples of this.
In the more ancient, might makes right times, people sucked up to the chief, and in his absence, whichever man had the biggest fist and could lie the best for his selfish advantage ruled. What, I ask you, has changed? Wars and discrimination continue and the gender conflicts remain fairly intact.
Unless or until humanity stops this madness of allowing divide and conquer strategies by the rich to pit us against one another, and have us believe that one group - race, religion, class, or gender - is superior to another, we will all continue to behave like overseers, house or field Negroes who serve rulers that don't give a damn about any of us, and we will continue to make ourselves and each other miserable.
It is my hope we recognize our modern day tribalism for what it is, lest we wake up one morning and discover that the whole world is one big plantation run by non-human and inhuman mega-corporations.
Given the computer and military technology of today, combined with the let's somehow get rid of them, wall them off, incarcerate them, become a suicide bomber, nuke baby nuke them, sterilize them, or exterminate them mentality of yesteryear, one day we will all be "them", and there will be no turning back.
Posted by Kit (Keep It Trill) at 12:28 PM
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Earlier this morning I ran across an art contest given by Greenpeace, called "Redesign BP's Logo". They think BP's logo is too pretty and misleading.
I hadn't planned on entering, but I figured what the heck, it's therapy, because this catastrophe has been bugging me out. Check out mine:
Click on for a larger view. Go ahead. I'm so proud of it. It's similar to someone elses, but I added a few things they didn't, i.e. the danger eyes, the doomsday clock, and oil-soaked bird. It's a modification of the famous art piece, Scream.
I always wondered why the original artist painted the dark water and fiery sky the way he did. Perhaps in his worse nightmares, he had a glimpse into the future, like a prophet. Many of us who have read in detail on the science end and can see what's coming feel like that character.
I scream inside with questions like why are those who also know but benefit from the profits of Big Oil behaving differently? Not their wealth nor their power will shield them from toxic air we'll breathe and the toxic rain that falls on us when this thing worsens and hits the ocean conveyor belt. Hell, this is the most obvious deal breaker of our times?
Enough of us have been raising hell that the President will speak to the nation later at 8 PM EST about the Gulf Oil Catastrophe. Hopefully tomorrow he'll kick some BP azz when he meets with them. The escrow account idea is a good start, but I hope for receivership, because the amount discussed now will not cover the estimated $1 Trillion dollars in damages.
Below are other entries I found compelling for different reasons. You can see them all on Flickr, and join the contest here, if for no other reason than to keep sending BP and Congress a message.
Posted by Kit (Keep It Trill) at 10:42 AM
Sunday, June 13, 2010
I haven't written anything personal in awhile, but what happened late this afternoon made me cry.
My 7 pound poodle was attacked by a pit bull.
The story begins this past Thursday evening. Xavier plopped down $40 before me.
"This is for you, Ma."
"For what?", I asked, "and where you'd get it?"
"I'm babysitting for my friend's dog for the weekend. It's an eight month old puppy. He's in the back now."
Since our live-in landlord is away for the weekend, it sounded okay, until he said, "It's a pit."
"Oh no," I replied. "Oh hell no. Take it back. Now."
"I can't," Xavier explained. "The guy's already gone on vacation. It has a big cage."
"Then keep him in it..."
"He's really nice, and just a puppy..."
A puppy my azz, I thought. At eight months old, he's a teenager and almost grown.
Memories flashed back to when my brother dumped a six month old part-pit puppy on us years ago. He'd gotten it for a dollar at a yard sale. The only reason I gave it a chance then was because Xavier was doing the please please please can we keep him thang, and the dog was purportedly part retriever. Retrievers are nice. Maybe he'd have that temperament.
At 7 months, I got Radar neutered. This surgery generally reduces aggression when performed at a young age.
A month later, I sat in our backyard on a late summer day and watched the kids play. Radar was on a 50 foot tie. Casey, my daughter, was wearing only a diaper. She was 2-1/2 years old. Xavier was 9.
It all happened so fast.
Casey was laughing and ran past Radar, and he suddenly gave chase. That dog looked like he was running after a rabbit. She was fast, but he was gaining ground on her rapidly. He was almost on her before I was barely out of my chair and over to her.
Then he lunged for her. I could see his teeth as he was a fraction away from grabbing her by the diaper.
At that precise moment, he snapped his jaws barely nipping her diaper, but he'd run the length of his tie, and he flew up the air and fell to the ground with a thud. It is exactly the kind of scene you'd see in a cartoon.
The kids were dying laughing. It was so funny, that I was laughing too, while at the same time, thinking, this shit is serious.
I told Xavier this and for Casey to stay away from Radar.
"He didn't hurt her, Mommy," Xavier said.
"By the grace of God, he didn't," I replied. "He gave into his baser instinct. She's small and vulnerable, like a little animal. He gave chase with the full intention of hurting her. What they say about pits is true, they cannot be trusted. Looks like that goes for part-pits, too."
A few days later, Xavier was tearful as a guy bought and took his dog away. I told him and his girlfriend what had happened. They lived somewhere out in the boonies and had no children, and thought it was funny, but that they could train him.
Lotsa luck, and to this day, I wonder if I should have him put down.
A few years later, a father brought his ten year old daughter to me for therapy. He owned a pit that never gave him a problem. He was in the dining room while the child was playing quietly in the living room.
I guess the dog didn't like not having any attention, or maybe it had a break with reality, and viciously attacked her. The dad grabbed a hammer and had to beat the dog to death upside the head to force it to release her.
The kid's face was scarred, but it was her arm that was really messed up. She was traumatized months later, which is how they came to me.
I observed the child. She was very still.
Fast forward to the present, and there I sat, watching my son's mouth move.
"Since you can't send him back today," I said, "here are the rules. Keep that dog in your room with door closed, or in his cage on the patio, and he better be gone Monday."
That was hard. I hate pits, but how you gonna get rid of somebody elses dog? And I damn sure wasn't gonna put it in my car. Years ago, I read about a young woman in her 20s. She loved her pit and took it with her everywhere. One day for no reason, it attacked her while she was driving. She said it "must have gotten upset by something it saw out the window. He's fine now."
Sounded to me like it had a brief psychotic episode.
Anyway, Xavier agreed. I walked to the kitchen back door that leads to the patio, and peeped through the window. There sat it.
Yep, I thought, that's a pit alright.
"His name is Carlito."
"Eff him and you too for bringing him here," I growled. "Just keep him away from us and especially our dog. If Jani smells Carlito has been walking around the house, he'll start marking territory. Don't need him peeing on the carpet."
"Okay," he said, smiling.
Maybe me too, 'cause Xavier ain't never been good at keep his word. Give him an inch and he'll take a mile.
The next day I got up the nerve to go out and watch him and Carlito. Indeed, the dog has puppy behaviors. Playful. Friendly. Annoying only in that he jumps on you, but most dogs do until trained. I still didn't trust him.
Then comes today, or I should say Saturday, since it's just after midnight now.
"I'll be back in 20 or so minutes," I hollered at Xavier and his girlfriend. "Keep that dog out of the house while I'm gone."
I dropped my daughter off at a quinceanera party. That's a "Sweet 15" celebration for Latino girls. She looked stunning. I drove back with my little sidekick poodle, Jani, sitting next to me in the car.
He never attacks me when I drive.
I strolled up the path to the front door, opened it, and we walked in.
Within seconds, the demon dog from hell was on Jani. I was horrified. He had Jani's entire front leg in his mouth.
and with my poodle's leg in his mouth.
I screamed and tried to pull Jani from him.
My son, who had only been a few feet away, was now simultaneously prying Carlito's jaws open.
I ran back outside for safety, slamming the door behind me, and was cussing up a storm.
I then examined my poodle. His shoulder was bleeding from a puncture wound which had split the skin. I hoped it wasn't a crushing injury to his shoulder bone, and was crying as I consoled him. He acted like he was in shock, and was very, very still.
It's what I had seen in my client, and also, what I do when I'm hit by unexpected attack or pain from life. Often it's because I don't know what to do. I become very still. This made me cry more.
Xavier came outside, his own face full of pain and more so after he saw the blood. It wasn't dripping, it oozed slowly, very slowly. It was clear that Jani could use two or three stitches.
"I'm so sorry Mom," he said, his eyes pleading for forgiveness. "I didn't know you'd be back this soon."
I spoke almost in a whisper as I looked into his eyes. Maybe the lesson he didn't grasp at age nine would sink in now.
"You cannot trust a pit..."
"But he was so friendly, I thought he'd be okay..."
"Their reputation proceeds them," I said. "They are unpredictable and impulsive. You cannot trust them, because they cannot overcome their baser instinct to attack whatever or whoever they think they can overpower and destroy."
"I'm so sorry," he said repeatedly.
Unlike his usual fake apologies, he meant this one.
Without being asked, Xavier went back in the house and got what we needed to flush out Jani's wound and apply a little hydrogen peroxide around the edges.
I gave my doggie a little left over amoxycillan, like it says on the Internet if you can't get to a vet, to fight any infections. That's the best I can do for him now, because I don't have money to pay a vet for stitches. I just barely made the rent and other bills this month. This has been the new normal for me since the economy went to hell.
When Xavier was done, I said of this pit he's babysitting and others, "They're unlike normal dogs. There is something about pitts where they depart in temperament from other canines, just as some people do."
He was listening hard, not just the Xavier of now, but the boy he was who didn't understand when I sold his pit 12 years ago.
"You're a normal person, Xavier," I continued. "When you go out on your own, get a normal dog, one that will be a true friend whom you can trust to not attack you, your friends, family, neighbors, or others. Can't trust no pit, not the four-legged kind or the two-legged ones in jeans."
He nodded his head. He knows what I'm talking about - a few of his friends over the years.
I see metaphors in unexpected places.
I think of the $40 my son used to win me over in keeping this pit for the weekend, like the 40 pieces of silver Judas accepted to betray Christ.
No, to the morons, I'm not comparing my dog to Jesus, just the concept of betrayal. I wonder if Judas felt he had a choice. I didn't feel like I had one since the owner of this pit teenage puppy had left for the weekend, so intellectually I think I'm not being fair to myself, but emotionally I feel like I wasn't fair to the safety of this family and my dog.
Jani is resting now, and I know that if he ends up with a permanent limp, I'll forever wish I had said, "Tough shit, get that pit out of here and where you put him is your problem."
I also think of this entire, real life situation and compare it to many people I've known who trusted someone, only to be suddenly and viciously treated by them, and this includes a few of my own "friends".
I saw their tendencies to be pits too late, although in hindsight, I can say I ignored their underlying, serious character flaws when these came to light, along with the warning signs - because they were as playful as puppies.
Once bitten, twice shy, very still, and no going back.
Posted by Kit (Keep It Trill) at 12:01 AM