Sister Novena's PortaPulpit
freedom, liberalism, movies, and truth

Saturday, May 01, 2004
Happy "Mission Accomplished" Day



(It's funny, the picture seems more comedic than heroic this year. Seriously... look at the guy in the background closely. He's got "derf!" written all over him.)
1:34 PM ::
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Two Dreams

I had two very strong dreams this morning; I'm definitely open to interpretation, although I've listed my initial thoughts below.

#1: My Father Dies

I'm at my dad's house (which is actually my grandmother's house); I'm visiting him for the first time in years. In the evening, he goes out to run an errand; I stay home. The dream jumps forward -- I understand that it's now hours later -- and I get a phone call from the hospital telling me my father has died. My grandmother and aunt show up; they don't know yet, and I have a very difficult time figuring out how to break it to them.

The first thing that hits me about this dream is that it's firmly based in reality: my dad really is dying. And I really haven't seen him or talked to him in... well, about seven years now. And the last time he was in the hospital (the first time I found out there was anything wrong with him), I really did have a very difficult time trying to figure out if/how to tell my aunt and grandmother (who've also been cut out of my dad's life). So far, I still haven't told them... my reasoning (or rationale, if you prefer) is that my aunt most likely wouldn't be especially sympathetic or even interested, and my grandmother's not really in any kind of condition to deal with that kind of news. Probably my dad would also not appreciate the stress it would create; his wife had to go behind his back even to tell me about it. Anyway, the point is, much of this is stuff I have had / will have to deal with in my real life, either recently or soon. My father's death is almost certainly not more than a few years away, so this is definitely coming.

I also notice that it plays very similarly to the main storyline in the one graphic novel I really love, "Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth." The scenario in which my father's death occurs in the dream is almost identical. And that makes sense... I always think about my dad when I read that book.

(Hyperdictionary.com says this: "Dreaming that your father is dead, forewarns that you need to proceed with caution in conducting your business. " Which really isn't terribly helpful.)

#2: Destruction At Home

I'm at my mother and step-father's house, in my room. It's very early in the morning, before sunrise, and I'm in bed. A little buzzy thing -- a very, very small airplane/helicopter thingy, the size of a hummingbird -- flies up to my window and hovers just outside. I get up and have a look; I notice it has a tiny camera mounted on it, and it follows my face wherever I go. I play with it for a few minutes, holding my finger against the glass just in front of the lens, following it as it moves around the obstruction. Then I get freaked out and try to hide from it; the best I can do is to hide my face from it, but it still hovers, watching me. Then -- as I understand it to do not every time it shows up, but sometimes -- it explodes. It's not a big explosion, just enough to break the window and send some sparks and embers flying onto me and my bed, but it scares me. I run out of the room.

As I go down the hall and into the living room, I'm shocked... the house is completely wrecked. A lot of the furniture and other stuff is gone; and everything that's left is badly broken. The house is intact, but everything inside has been nearly destroyed. I wander through the house with a flashlight, surveying the damage, trying to figure out what happened... it seems as though not a single thing has been left unharmed. Was it a burglary? A tornado? What the fuck?

I find my mother in the living room, calmly sitting on the remains of a sofa in her nightgown, reading. She tells me that the devastation was caused by a fight between her and Rick; they were fighting about a two-week business trip she's taking to England. Then she tells me that she bought a second ticket for me; I'm incredibly grateful, and don't mind about the damage anymore.


This one's harder, and not at all like my current reality; Mom and Rick have fought only once that I know of, and that was relatively sedate. In terms of impact, this looks more like my mother's relationship with Bob; they often had sudden, explosive fights in which things were damaged, sometimes including the family's day-to-day life. But that's another story for another time; I don't think that's what this dream was about.

My initial reaction is that this dream's about the war... I feel like I'm being intruded upon, watched; it's clearly "Them" on the other end of that camera. Maybe this is some latent paranoia expressing itself. But the feeling that my home is being torn apart by conflict is very strong; that part seems quite obvious to me. And the ticket to England -- my ticket out of the U.S., which I think / fantasize about quite often -- also seems to tie in. Why it comes from my mother (who's not sympathetic to my feelings about the war) is a bit of a mystery... maybe the dream version of my mother actually refers to the self-protective part of my psyche? After all, Jung did say every woman in one's dream is an aspect of one's anima.

(Here's Hyperdictionary's thoughts on the interpretation of house, mother, destruction, and ticket.

12:44 PM ::
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Friday, April 30, 2004
This Week's Outrage

"And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq. As a result, a friend of terror has been removed and now sits in a jail," the president said.
source

Dubya's in jail? Since when?

Mercenaries -- sorry, "private civilian security contractors" -- are bad, folks... evil, in fact. They're bad for the troops, they're bad for the Iraqis who have to live under them, they're clearly bad for prisoners, and as of today they're fucking bad for America's reputation and credibility around the world. During Vietnam -- which currently we're having to re-live on a daily basis in the U.S. -- the entire body of young veterans was tarred with the reputations of a relative few soldiers who committed horrible atrocities. The bulk of the atrocity work nowadays is being done by simple mercenaries, the fucking scum of the earth. Paid to torture prisoners, and with our tax money... that alone is reason enough to impeach Bush's skinny ass right this fucking minute.

And if that doesn't sway you... maybe you'd care to consider the cases of Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi, two American citizens currently being held indefinitely without being charged and without access to lawyers, in direct contradiction to the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights. Regardless of your opinion of either Mr. Padilla or Mr. Hamdi, the simple fact remains that as citizens of the United States, they are guaranteed certain rights. And these rights have thus far been completely disregarded by the Bush administration... Bush's justice department has locked them up and thrown away the key contrary to the Constitution and without due process. That should scare the shit out of everyone who values civil liberties, whether you're a lefty, a wingnut, or especially if you're one of those creepy libertarian types. Fortunately, the Supreme Court is hearing the case today; as far as I'm concerned, if they fail to reject the administration's arguments absolutely, it'll be just one more nail in the coffin of America.

Addendum: one more thing to keep in mind: we don't know who any of these prisoners are. Maybe they've all killed soldiers, maybe a few of them have, maybe some of them are innocent, maybe all of 'em are. Regardless, the case of prisoners in Iraq doesn't even fall into the same "legal black hole" as that of the Gitmo prisoners; these prisoners are, presumably, protected by the Geneva Convention without question (although any abuse at the hands of mercs is beyond the reach of the Geneva Convention... nice, eh?) And international law aside... what do you think will happen when these photos start getting around in the Middle East? Hmmmmmm? Can that possibly be good for our "cause," or for our troops? And don't forget... the Iraqis have some of our guys, too. How would we feel if American prisoners were treated this way? What do you think is likely to happen to Pfc. Keith M. Maupin once these pictures start making the rounds in Baghdad?

Second Addendum: There are more photos being circulated as further examples of American mistreatment of Iraqis. They're being presented on a strongly anti-American website, and I can't confirm their legitmacy, so take them with a grain of salt if you prefer. But if they're for real... holy shit.

Update: I've been told elsewhere that the rape images on this page are most likely from a porn movie. That's good. Kinda. Good in that I'll probably be able to sleep tonight now; only "kinda" good in that I can't help but be bothered that somebody would consider this suitable wanking material. Ugh.
3:30 PM ::
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Thursday, April 29, 2004
Happy Thursday

So, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (aka "the rich, white Willie Tyler and Lester") are due to testify before the 9/11 commission today... not that we'll get to hear any of what they say, nor will we even be able to read it, since it's all hushed-up and "private." Good to know they care.

Oh, and Fallujah's set to blow any minute now; I spent most of the afternoon watching a fuzzy green live feed of fire on CNN. I still have hope that the Coalition will resist the temptation to go in with guns a-blazin', but it's a small, modest hope... they've mostly let me down so far.

But enough of the negative stuff; sometimes good things happen in this world, too. For example, there's the homeless man I know who 's frequently found around First Congregational in Memphis, which is where the Co-op is housed. His name is David, and he's an awfully nice guy... he suffers from a chronic, often-debilitating gastrointestinal disorder, and the church folks try to help him out as best they can. I frequently give him a few bucks toward that night's admission to the local mission when I have it to spare, and occassionally I've helped him search for information on his disorder on the internet. He helps out doing odd jobs around the church and washing windows... he's a kindly, helpful kind of guy, and he has a lot of friends in Midtown.

When he's not sleeping at the mission, apparently he's been squatting in an empty house in the vicinity. When I ran into him a couple of days ago, he was all smiles... David had been found by the house's owner, but rather than kick him out or call the cops on him, he offered David a chance to stay there legitamately in return for nothing more than help fixing the place up a little. Now that he has an address, he can file for disability benefits, hopefully find work of some kind, and start living a modest-but-dignified life again.

And it just really made me feel happy to see something good happen to someone who deserves a break; it's satisfying to know that even with the world seemingly turning to shit on a daily basis, some people are still making these gestures of generosity and solidarity toward strangers. Not to get all corny, but it does kinda restore your faith... even if these bastards are doing their best to fuck us all over, we all still have the opportunity to be there for each other.

Other recent personal news: I've been on a baking tear lately; specifically baking bread. I like to think (justifiably from what I've been told) that I'm not a half-bad cook. I'd never do it for a living, and I don't do it all that often, but when I do it's very satisfying... I tend to prefer the simple, less-is-more approach that revolves around procuring the best possible ingredients and cooking them in a pretty straightforward manner. But even so, there's something about being elbow-deep in bread dough that you just can't get from anything else... it's a complicated, subtle process but still really "basic" in the largest possible sense.

Anyway, I think it all stemmed from a really fresh boule of sourdough I bought like a week ago... I've had nothing but standard-issue, industrially-produced sandwich bread in over a year -- hadn't baked any in even longer -- so the minute I got a mouthful of a good sourdough my head fucking exploded. It was bread that seemed to be alive and breathing, bread that wasn't going down without a fight. Heaven.

Since then, I've been almost fanatical. For the first time I'm even contemplating trying to harvest myself a good wild yeast culture... god knows what Mississippi would yield in that department, but it seems worth the effort to find out. I'm also itching for a good bagel -- in spite of Memphis having the largest Jewish population in the region, there are none to be had here these days -- so I might try that out, too.

And I'm doing some light housecleaning for extra cash... it's pretty ironic, really, given my reputation at home, but it's good in its way; it certainly keeps you grounded. It's hard to be too full of yourself when you're scrubbing the floor.

But at the same time, while I don't mind the work, it's only because I'm treated well. Shit like this, however, brings out the class warrior in me... don't make me go get my guillotine.
12:15 AM ::
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Monday, April 26, 2004
In Bushworld, Nobody Can Hear You Scream

Maureen Dowd pulls out a big, juicy one...
In Bushworld, we can create an exciting Iraqi democracy as long as it doesn't control its own military, pass any laws or have any power.

In Bushworld, we can win over Falluja by bulldozing it.

In Bushworld, it was worth going to war so Iraqis can express their feelings ("Down With America!") without having their tongues cut out, although we cannot yet allow them to express intemperate feelings in newspapers ("Down With America!") without shutting them down.

In Bushworld, it's fine to take $700 million that Congress provided for the war in Afghanistan and 9/11 recovery and divert it to the war in Iraq that you're insisting you're not planning.

In Bushworld, it's O.K. to run for re-election as the avenger of 9/11, even as you make secret deals with the Arab kingdom where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from.

In Bushworld, you get to strut around like a tough military guy and paint your rival as a chicken hawk, even though he's the one who won medals in combat and was praised by his superior officers for fulfilling all his obligations.

And there's more...
12:04 PM ::
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Sunday, April 25, 2004
Sometime Silence Is Good, Too

Sorry for the recent bout of quiet here on the blog... these silences may occur from time to time as we move through pre-production and production on this film we're shooting in June. As it is, I'm up in Memphis at least four nights a week, and that's in addition to my various attempts at earning money.

Maybe once I manage to procure a new laptop, I'll be able to fit more blogging into those bits of downtime between meetings. Until then, I promise, if anything really compelling happens, I'm sure I'll be saying something about it.
11:59 PM ::
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