October 2008


As I’ve said, I’m tired.  The negativity of the mudslinging has sapped my energy and I now turn to a very different topic today.  Hallowe’en.

Hallowe’en is an important holiday for me and it’s roots are in the Celtic pagan New Year, Samhain.  (My mother and father were actually married on Hallowe’en, though neither of them were pagans…Interesting…).  Since I am, as I said, tired, I will post something from another site that puts it in a historical and understandable perspective, as I just can’t seem to deal with being La Professora today:

Samhain marks one of the two great doorways of the Celtic year, for the Celts divided the year into two seasons: the light and the dark, at Beltane on May 1st and Samhain on November 1st. Some believe that Samhain was the more important festival, marking the beginning of a whole new cycle, just as the Celtic day began at night. For it was understood that in dark silence comes whisperings of new beginnings, the stirring of the seed below the ground. Whereas Beltane welcomes in the summer with joyous celebrations at dawn, the most magically potent time of this festival is November Eve, the night of October 31st, known today of course, as Halloween.

Samhain (Scots Gaelic: Samhuinn) literally means “summer’s end.” In Scotland and Ireland, Halloween is known as Oíche Shamhna, while in Wales it is Nos Calan Gaeaf, the eve of the winter’s calend, or first. With the rise of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saints’ Day, to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year, so the night before became popularly known as Halloween, All Hallows Eve, or Hollantide. November 2nd became All Souls Day, when prayers were to be offered to the souls of all who the departed and those who were waiting in Purgatory for entry into Heaven. Throughout the centuries, pagan and Christian beliefs intertwine in a gallimaufry of celebrations from Oct 31st through November 5th, all of which appear both to challenge the ascendancy of the dark and to revel in its mystery.

In the country year, Samhain marked the first day of winter, when the herders led the cattle and sheep down from their summer hillside pastures to the shelter of stable and byre. The hay that would feed them during the winter must be stored in sturdy thatched ricks, tied down securely against storms. Those destined for the table were slaughtered, after being ritually devoted to the gods in pagan times. All the harvest must be gathered in — barley, oats, wheat, turnips, and apples — for come November, the faeries would blast every growing plant with their breath, blighting any nuts and berries remaining on the hedgerows. Peat and wood for winter fires were stacked high by the hearth. It was a joyous time of family reunion, when all members of the household worked together baking, salting meat, and making preserves for the winter feasts to come. The endless horizons of summer gave way to a warm, dim and often smoky room; the symphony of summer sounds was replaced by a counterpoint of voices, young and old, human and animal.

In early Ireland, people gathered at the ritual centers of the tribes, for Samhain was the principal calendar feast of the year. The greatest assembly was the ‘Feast of Tara,’ focusing on the royal seat of the High King as the heart of the sacred land, the point of conception for the new year. In every household throughout the country, hearth-fires were extinguished. All waited for the Druids to light the new fire of the year — not at Tara, but at Tlachtga, a hill twelve miles to the north-west. It marked the burial-place of Tlachtga, daughter of the great druid Mogh Ruith, who may once have been a goddess in her own right in a former age.

At at all the turning points of the Celtic year, the gods drew near to Earth at Samhain, so many sacrifices and gifts were offered up in thanksgiving for the harvest. Personal prayers in the form of objects symbolizing the wishes of supplicants or ailments to be healed were cast into the fire, and at the end of the ceremonies, brands were lit from the great fire of Tara to re-kindle all the home fires of the tribe, as at Beltane. As they received the flame that marked this time of beginnings, people surely felt a sense of the kindling of new dreams, projects and hopes for the year to come.

The Samhain fires continued to blaze down the centuries. In the 1860s the Halloween bonfires were still so popular in Scotland that one traveler reported seeing thirty fires lighting up the hillsides all on one night, each surrounded by rings of dancing figures, a practice which continued up to the first World War. Young people and servants lit brands from the fire and ran around the fields and hedges of house and farm, while community leaders surrounded parish boundaries with a magic circle of light. Afterwards, ashes from the fires were sprinkled over the fields to protect them during the winter months — and of course, they also improved the soil. The bonfire provided an island of light within the oncoming tide of winter darkness, keeping away cold, discomfort, and evil spirits long before electricity illumined our nights. When the last flame sank down, it was time to run as fast as you could for home, raising the cry, “The black sow without a tail take the hindmost!”

Even today, bonfires light up the skies in many parts of the British Isles and Ireland at this season, although in many areas of Britain their significance has been co-opted by Guy Fawkes Day, which falls on November 5th, and commemorates an unsuccessful attempt to blow up the English Houses of Parliament in the 17th century. In one Devonshire village, the extraordinary sight of both men and women running through the streets with blazing tar barrels on their backs can still be seen! Whatever the reason, there will probably always be a human need to make fires against the winter’s dark.

Samhain was [and is still amongst certain circles, pun intended] a significant time for divination, perhaps even more so than May or Midsummer’s Eve, because this was the chief of the three Spirit Nights. Divination customs and games frequently featured apples and nuts from the recent harvest, and candles played an important part in adding atmosphere to the mysteries. In Scotland, a child born at Samhain was said to be gifted with an dà shealladh, “The Two Sights” commonly known as “second sight,” or clairvoyance.”

Now, as a person of Northern French decent, I feel a strong tie to all things Celtic.  Many think of Celtic in terms of only Irish or Scottish or some such faction of peoples from the British Isles.  But the fact is that the Normans, whom invaded Britain near a thousand years ago were from the Continent…and from the area known in Roman times as Northern Gaul…the area now known as France.  So, it completely makes sense that I would eventually lean this way in my spiritual meanderings,

Add to this the fact that my maternal grandfather is Mexican and I have a deep affiity to the Latin community.  Hallowe’en falls during the Mexican version of the holiday, Los Dios de los Muertos (the Days of the Dead).  The origins of Los Dios de los Muertos also have their roots in a pagan celebration:

The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico can be traced back to the indigenous peoples such as the Olmec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Mexican, Aztec, Maya, P’urhépecha, and Totonac. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors have been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2500–3000 years.[1] In the pre-Hispanic era, it was common to keep skulls as trophies and display them during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.

The festival that became the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl,[2] known as the “Lady of the Dead,” corresponding to the modern Catrina.

In most regions of Mexico, November 1st honors deceased children and infants where as deceased adults are honored on November 2nd. This is indicated by generally referring to November 1st mainly as “Día de los Inocentes” (Day of the Innocents) but also as “Día de los Angelitos” (Day of the Little Angels) and November 2nd as “Día de los Muertos” or “Día de los Difuntos” (Day of the Dead).”

So, is it any wonder that I have such an interest in this holiday? 

I really don’t have much else to say…as I said, I’m tired.  But tonight I will not be out with the hoople-heads making a spectacle and mockery.  I will be at home, with my good friends, drinking and indulging in a not-so-pagan guilty pleasure…horror flicks. 

Oh, yeah…and somewhere during our own version of festivities we will raise our glasses and toast those that have come before us, or that are no longer with us, especially and including my little brother John Dmitri, mo’ Gran’mere Lucienne and mi Abuelo Mauricio.

 Johno @ B&O 082402 (crop) Lucienne Blanche Albert Petite Reyes c late 1940s Mauricio Lara Reyes c 1940s

Blessings…

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You know, I really didn’t intend to start a blog that has become so mostly focused on the politics flying around right now.  I really didn’t.  I actually just wanted an outlet to formulate ideas and descriptions and be creative and generally just…I dunno.  Write.   About stupid stuff.  About the old man on the corner and how he gets through his day.  About the little dog peeing in the neighbors grass (we don’t really have lawns in this part of the city…it’s a population density thing…).  About how hung over I was/am this weekend and how much fun it was getting that way but, damn, what the hell was I thinking and how the hell do I make it STOP!

But this whole Election thing…the obsession, the excitement, the hopefulness, the fury…happens to me every friggin’ four years…since forever.  Okay, okay…not since forEVER exactly, but it’s been happening for a very long time.

I end up telling a certain story a lot lately, because it IS an election year and people you run into DO start talking about their hopes and fears, both for this time around and for other elections in the past.  The story I tell is about how when I was six years old, living in my home-town California-beach-town,  and I found out that I couldn’t vote that year.  It was 1972…(do the math if you want.  No, wait, please don’t)…do you remember who ran?  I do, that’s not the point.  The point is that I remember how upset, how downright devastated, I was…with my little-girl hopes dashed to bitty-bits on jagged rocks, because, well, hell!  Waiting until you’re 18 years old to vote was literally almost incomprehensible!  It was like saying, “in your next life”!  I have to wait HOW LONG?!?  I’ll never make it!  No WAY!

Not one to accept being told I “can’t”, at least not with a really good reason why not and age was not a really good reason to me at the time, I started really paying attention during big election years.  In hind-sight, I think doing so made me feel like I was proving to those that previously told me I “can’t” vote, that damn, straight!…I was qualified, up-to-speed, and not your usual “little-girl”.  Although I will admit the 1976 Election was a bit eclipsed for me by the whole media hoopla of the Bi-Centennial celebration and the fact that there was one or two (or three) really cute boys in my field of awareness, I have tried each time to self-educate myself on the issues to a higher level than the average bear (Hi-ya Yogi!), and I think I have done pretty well.  (Although,  I don’t think that I even now, by any means, have this 13-year old beat!  Forget FHA and FFA…this is one Future Political Analyst of America (FPAA?) in the making, for sure).  Consequently, with every election, I have gotten more vocal about it, more obsessed about it and, depending on how I see the candidates and how they are doing, I will get elated or angry in turns.  Case in point:  my blog.

Even so, I really wish I could get myself to pull my head out of the mish-mash flow of trash traffic that is everywhere!  Can’t I just turn myself away, just ONCE, from the Bandwagon Against Sarah Palin?  I know the issues, I know the candidates.  I know what I believe in and what America needs to realize (and finally is, I think) in order to save itself.   I also know, however, that all the world loves a parade…and you can’t turn away from something as awful as a train wreak.  Yep…even me, although it makes me tired for sure.

What do you think?  Eight days to go and almost home…but that doesn’t mean it’s time to sit down and shut up, right?  I mean…my mom always said “Do what you do well”, though she may not have realized exactly what she was telling me!  And for cryin’ out loud…it’s too late now for Dad to  “Turn this car right around now!”, so why sit in the back seat nice and quite?

Whatever you think, whatever you say here or elsewhere, just make sure you get out and VOTE.  I’ve done that already as much as they’ll let me (once, bah!), so I’ll just keep the watch and run my mouth and generally make a spectacle of myself (again…I think it gets easier every four years.  Just wait ’til I’m Helen’s age!  You won’t ever be able to shut me up!)

© 2008 D. Kessler

Antisocial personality disorder (APD) is defined by American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual  thus:

“The essential feature for the diagnosis is a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others…”

Further reading has led me to the these lists, with which we should be able to make an informed diagnostic guess regarding You Know Who from Alaska.  I have added, in parenthesis, whether I believe said person shows evidence of that particular symptom.

The Diagnostic Criteria
Three or more of the following are required:

  1. Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors (Check!)
  2. Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure (Double Check!)
  3. Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead (Check!)
  4. Irritability and aggressiveness (Hmm…ya think?)
  5. Reckless disregard for safety of self or others (Hello?! Leaking amniotic fluid but waiting almost 24 hours admit to the hospital DEFINATELY put her as-then unborn baby in danger of infection and resulting serious problems! So, yeah…she gets this one too.)
  6. Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations (Yes, and Yes!)
  7. Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another (Bingo!  Fly who where on who’s dime?)

By my count, she gets 7 out of 7…

Now for individual Symptoms
Characteristics of people with antisocial personality disorder may include (Yes or No? Is this ‘our’ Sarah?):

  1. Persistent lying or stealing (Yep!)
  2. Recurring difficulties with the law (I ‘d say Troopergate and unethical use of state funds count!)
  3. Tendency to violate the rights and boundaries of others (Oh, HELL yeah!)
  4. Substance abuse (can’t tell you on this one…)
  5. Aggressive, often violent behavior (Maybe not violent herself, but I think rousing rabble in PA cuts it darn close…)
  6. A persistent agitated or depressed feeling; dysphoria (I can’t say on this one, either…)
  7. Inability to tolerate boredom (? Don’t know…)
  8. Disregard for the safety of self or others (Yeah…again, the amniotic fluid episode counts)
  9. A childhood diagnosis of conduct disorders – this is not a symptom but “a history of”  (can’t say…)
  10. Lack of remorse, related to hurting others (If it walks like a duck…talks like a duck…)
  11. Superficial charm (Oh yes, DEFINATELY!)
  12. Impulsiveness (I’d say yes)
  13. A sense of extreme entitlement (VERY evident!)
  14. Inability to make or keep friends (couldn’t say…)
  15. Recklessness, impulsivity (Yep)
  16. People with a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder often experience difficulties with authority figures (Hey, just talk to the McCain camp!  She’s off on her own agenda, won’t take any advice from anyone…she’s gone ‘Rogue’ and showing no signs of remorse or need to “rein in”).

*DING DING DING DING DING!!* 

Falling Confetti

Sarah Palin, you score 11 out of 16!  Along with the 7 out of 7 scored in the first half, this means you have Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) and are a SOCIOPATH!  Fortunately, this also entitles you to one GO BACK HOME TO ALASKA pass!  (Do not pass ‘Go!’, do not collect $150K)

So there…that’s my rant.  I’m tired now. Outta here.  Talk amongst yourselves…

Too tired, too angry, too something…so all I have to say today is this:

Obama with holes in his shoes 2

Now, THAT is a man that knows not to squander money!  THAT is a man of the People, working for the People!  And THAT is the Man for the Job

And THIS, 7-year old Piper Palin with a $750.00 Louis Vutton bag purchased by the RNC, is proof of all that is just absolutely SICK and WRONG and MUST BE SENT HOME!

…and then I read this story from CNN that made me LAUGH OUT LOUD with glee…

That’s all folks…tired.  Time to sleep…if my mind will let me…

Ever look at the Tag cloud and your eyes go all out-of-focus…then, just for a minute, you think you see something that looks like it almost makes sense…almost?  Blips and glops of words that become something entirely different than they are/were on their own…like:

Bible Software Dogs:  Is this a band?  Or a geek club?
Government Marketing Ramblings:  This definitely sounds like where McCain’s speeches come from.  I wonder if they give a discount to bulk orders of Bullshit and Double-Talk?
Theology Republicans Blog:  A blog for the Religious and Political Right…or just a bunch of Wednesday-night church goers keeping in touch?
Economics Faith Democrats:  Um, I’m not sure who or what this would be exactly, but it sounded good.
Social Media Energy Daily:  This is the publication you get when People Magazine merges with Shape…sponsored and sustained by Redbull, so it’s delivered every morning to your doorstep.
Sports History Friends:  Kinda like Super Friends, but more educational and inspiring.
Family Photography Culture:  That’s that vastly popular club that won’t quit posting photo after photo after photo of their children doing the same damn thing in every single shot…just on different days, weeks, even years. *sigh*  Always followed, of course, by some gushy caption…I think they have a course or periodic seminar on how to most annoy those not part of this club.

I dunno what makes me see this shit.  Boredom?  Misfiring brain cylinder?  Lack of Sleep?

Whatever…I just thought it was interesting.

© 2008 D. Kessler

In what Universe is it appropriate for a 7-year old girl to be listed as  “in official capacity helping” and therefore have all her travel expenses covered by the state?  Oh, well, that would be the Twisted Wacky World of Sarah Palin, of course!

Somehow, Mrs. Palin has deemed it completely within reason to appropriate vast sums of the Alaskan taxpayers money to cover the air travel and luxury hotel accommodations of her 7-, 14- and 17-year old girls on numerous occasions, both within and outside the state of Alaska.  From what I can ascertain, the children had no real official business, were not expected to attend the functions to which they were traveling and therefore were not actually invited.  Although it appears that their mother may have inquired at times of the hosts/promoters of said functions if she could have one of her children accompany her, Sarah Palin is known to have showed up with more children than was concessioned, and the state had to foot the bill.  According to the Associated Press story, she actually did not usually even inquire but just assumed and brought along the brood.

Sound professional to you?  Not to me.  Hmm…let’s see…to start with, the wording “in official capacity helping” doesn’t even sound official, not to mention the fact that I can in no way can I fathom how a 7-year old (or 14-year old, etc) would fulfill duties included “in official capacity helping”!  Neither does the amended description of  “to draw two separate raffle tickets” make any sense!   Last I heard, the mere drawing of raffle tickets is not considered official state business that warrants the extra airline tickets and hotel accommodations.  Sounds like Mrs. Palin just wanted an extra edge to win that new snowmobile, flashy rod ‘n’ reel or matching high-powered scope-sight for her moose-shootin’ power rifle.  Hmm…maybe, too, she was trying to have a little getaway for “just the girls”.  I mean, has anyone seen the itemized bill from the hotel for things like the hotel’s spa/salon and room service?!.

Tony Knowles, Governor of Alaska 1994-2002, has said regarding this investigation:

“There was no valid reason for the children to be along on state business.  I cannot recall any instance during my eight years as governor where it would have been appropriate to claim they performed state business.”

And no, this is not a “Career Day” scenario…’Oh, let’s go spend the day with Mommy and see what she does for a living!’  This is systematically and routinely using taxpayers funds for unofficial use, and then changing the records later hoping to make it fly.  This is the kind of thing that people in the REAL world get fired for ALL…THE…TIME!  “Inappropriate use of company funds” and “Misuse of company expense account” spring to mind as two official terminologies used on termination documents for such activity.  Buh-bye, So-long, Do not pass ‘Go’, Do not collect severance pay.  FIRED.

And interestingly, it appears that she didn’t feel the need to change the records until AFTER she was selected as John McCain’s running mate.*

Hmm…that stinks of “oh shit!” to me…

The McCain/Palin campaign talks a lot about “across the board spending freeze” and “accountability” and “transparency”…but I don’t see that happening with them.  I see the complete opposite of transparency.  I see a lot of LIES…and scrambling to cover up lies (that’s called MORE LIES).  Yeah, so I say “Oh, HELL NO!” to putting this woman so close to MY hard-earned and hard-paid tax dollars!   And I say “Oh, HELL NO!” to the “Straight Talk” that is actually Double-Talk and Bullshit.

*(Correction:   CNN sites the date Palin ordered the records changed as August 6th, three weeks before the official announcement of the VP running mate pick by the McCain campaign.  However, Palin requested the changes to the record AFTER Alaska reporters asked for the records.  Sorry.  Still stinks of “oh shit! to me…)

© 2008 D. Kessler

(Extended Revised Post)

Sarah Palin, October 17, 2008, Flight from Ohio to Indiana (full article at CNNPolitics):

QUESTION: Governor, the Washington Post and Peggy Noonan both said independently today that you are unqualified to be commander in chief. How do you respond to that?

PALIN: Well, we talked a lot already about my executive experience that will be put to good use as vice president and if heaven forbid, anything happened to John McCain, if we’re so blessed to be elected president and vice president, that executive experience will be put to good use, as coming from a mayor and a manager, small business owner and a governor and a regulator of oil and gas. That’s important, but as important is the world view that I share with John McCain and the intentions that we have there to put in place policies that will put government back on the side of the American people and we’ll win these wars and help secure our nation. Those things all put together will be put to good use and if I felt I was not ready I would never have said yes, I wanna take on this responsibility, this challenge, this opportunity to run for vice president as his partner.

There are so many things wrong with this response alone, I just don’t even know where to begin.  I’m so flabbergasted that all I can say is…Who the heck (if anyone) taught this woman to speak in public?!?  She can’t even talk coherently!

Now, Sarah Palin is technically only the Vice Presidential candidate, and not actually running for President.  The Vice President of the United States is in charge of presiding over the Senate (running the floor debates, etc).  In recent administrations, the VP has also taken part in a fair amount of diplomatic duties not originally included in the job description provided by the Constitution.  Therefore, with such responsibilities, don’t we need a Vice President who has a very good, if not exceptional, grasp of the English language…ESPECIALLY in terms of verbal usage and live speaking??

If her not-so-commanding use of her native tongue doesn’t prove how ridiculous it would be to put her in office as VP, add the oft-revisited-fact that she would be only one seat away from possibly having to step in as President should anything happen to John McCain (more cancer, death by old age…etc).  Let’s take a comparative look at the population statistics  for 2006, compliments of the US Census Bureau.  Since I live in Seattle, Washington (the other Washington), I included, for comparison, stats for Seattle, King County and Washington State, as well as the states of Delaware for Joe Biden and Illinois for Barak Obama.

People QuickFacts – US Census Bureau
Wasilla City     not available, however was 5,469 in 2000
Alaska                                670,053
Delaware                           853,476
Illinois                          12,831,970
Seattle                                582,454
King Co.                          1,826,732
Washington State     6,395,798
USA                             299,398,484

You’ll notice that Alaska’s total STATEWIDE population is only 87,569 more than the CITY of Seattle and is over 1 million LESS than King County, alone…and Washington State’s population is over 9.5 times larger than Alaska!

Larger population means more and larger, intricate and delicate issues.  So, the way I look at it, she isn’t even qualified for the job of King County Executive, let alone Governor of Washington State!  Yet, with a US population of over 200 million people she and the Republican party think that she can pull off the job of VP?!

Come on…This joke has got to stop…NOW.

By comparison, the state of Illinois, has over 19 times the population of Alaska…and Delaware has 183,423 more people (packed into only 2,489 sq miles) than all of Alaska (663,267 sq miles)!  So, um…who has the experience behind them to do the job?

Go HOME, Sarah.  PLEEEZ go HOME…You are by NO MEANS qualified for any office at the Federal level.  Hell, you’re not even qualified to be Mayor of… (insert major US city here)!

© 2008 D. Kessler

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