January 31, 2006

A Day of Mourning


Samuel Alito will be appointed to the Supreme Court today. As if that weren't enough, we will have to sit through a disgustingly dishonest, nonetheless triumphant State of The Union Address, as Bush smirks smugly about the destruction he has wrought. No doubt the horrid broadcast will also include audience shots of grateful homeless victims of Katrina, enamoured, brain injured amputees, and dead coalminer's wives who have been invited especially for the occasion. I have already begun to chug Pepto Bismol prophylactically.

As black, democratic Senator Charles Rangel said when asked what he thought about the President,"Well, I really think he shatters the myth of White Supremacy, once and for all"

Photo note: A shot from my archives (thank heavens, I'm such a haphazard photo housekeeper that still had this) to mark the passing of abortion rights, affirmative action, civil liberties and the Constitutional concept of checks and balances in a democracy. It is also a picture of my TV screen tonight.

Posted by Dakota at 06:55 AM

January 30, 2006

Never Miss An Opportunity To Express Your Patriotism


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I awoke this morning with my civic duty in mind. The appointment of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court will be a serious blow to democracy as we know it. Can you, in good conscience, just let it slip by without making at least a small gesture of protest?

Thanks to Daily Kos, we have a handy dandy list of senatorial fax numbers and an easy way to contact them.

And I quote:

"Fax Congress through Email

This is just a quick diary to alert you to a nifty way to fax Congress -- through your current email program. It's with TPC Fax and it's as easy as sending an email, and it's free.

Below the fold is a list of email/fax addresses to put the pressure on for Alito filibuster. Please forgive me diary police for a short diary -- just trying to help the cause.

How it works is simple. Just copy these address into your email send line. It works with any email program. You can only send a text-only message though -- no rtf or html files. This is not a complete list, so if a senator is missing that you want to fax, just use the format below and change the fax # and name.


Here's my little note, which you are free to use, though I know you can do better.

Dear Senator -

I urge you to vote against Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination, and to join a filibuster against his appointment. Alito is a member of the Federalist Society. As such, we can expect him to vote against the rights of women and minorities, and most importantly, to support the extension of powers of the executive branch, thus changing the system of checks and balances so carefully crafted by the framers of our Constitution.
Please stand up for what you know is right.
Please vote your conscience.
Please help to preserve democracy in our country.


Judging from the number of comments on my blog, lately, I am just whistling in the breeze, but I am proceeding relentlessly, nonetheless. Let me stop here -- before I get shrill.

Photo note: Like I said, never miss an opportunity to express your patriotism,

Posted by Dakota at 05:33 AM

January 29, 2006

How do you know if you're in the right place?


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I don't have too many god pictures in my archives. I figure when I take one, I probably ought to publish it, because it may mean something. But then again, it may not. This one looks like a photographic GPS , in my humble opinion.

Since I had, once again, begun to fancy myself housewifery's Maureen Dowd (sadly, without the four inch, red, spike heels, or any inside information whatsoever), I have not written much about the woowoo. Perhaps I am loath to tarnish my credibility. You know how Hilary Clinton was ridiculed for her work with Jean Houston, trying to have imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt. Hilary must have given it up for the moment, as now she seems blinded by her own ambitions, or maybe she's just channeling Warren G.Harding instead. See, there's the lesson, Dako, dear, stop being driven by your own blind ambition to become a minor Dowd, and stick to the important stuff.

This picture was taken outside of my nutritionist's office last Friday - that little green snippet on the lower right is her awning, and you surely see where the cosmic arrow is pointing. I walked in sniveling due to a major allergy attack which had started during the night. My nutritionist grabbed her rods and figured out that, I was, in fact, not allergic, but getting a cold, "ANOTHER one!?!," I uberwhined. I was assured that it was just part of the clearing --(even though I don't exactly know what that is, it made me less worried about having immune system failure, which is good).

In checking with her cosmic consultants, my nutritionist casually mentioned that she has added a new one in the last week or two -- one who is a bit insistant for her taste, but they're getting used to working together . Of course, I had to know the name of the new guide (for reportorial purposes)-- It's Madame Blavatsky, of Theosophist fame.

If you've only been around since my faux Maureen Dowd period began, you may have missed my earlier dalliance with theosophy, Krisnamurti, Elmer Green, Annie Besant and my first college roomate. I was, therefore, most interested to hear that Madame B. has joined the practice -- it seemed more than just coincidence -- if there is such a thing in the woowoo.

As you may or may not remember, in spite of her extreme distaste for mess, especially those made by bodily fluids, my mother (1908-2005) decided to breast feed me at a time when nursing was very out of fashion. After much transferential analysis over the years, I have concluded that, as a result, the mother-child attachment process was infused with disgust for my infantile behavior, among other things. There is altogether too much evidence in my projections to support this theory.

As an antidote to this unfortunate circumstance, my nutritionist provided the energy of mother's milk, homeopathically speaking. It came in little white pellets (as do most homeopathic remedies) that tasted quite lovely as they melted under my tongue. I was not adverse to taking it, but, when her guides told her that there was an obstacle in the way of my healing, I immediately identified that obstacle ---I really don't believe a word of this stuff.

My nutritionist also concluded, with assistance, that I do not feel that I deserve to be nurtured, in general (as in oxygen intake) given my early experience.

Because of my skepticism, I am given a little metaphorophoto for encouragement -- which, of course, I do not notice until two days later, and then, I'm still not sure exactly what it means, since I have difficulty absorbing. Those little mother's milk capsules will not take immediate effect. Belief is entirely unnecessary for their effectiveness -- or so I am told.

Addendum: See, I'm not the only metaphorophotographer. Be sure to click on Nate Larson's many slide/stories. And while I'm being peripheral, I shall add a quote from Annie Besant - "Not out of right practice comes right thinking, but out of right thinking comes right practice. It matters enormously what you think. If you think falsely, you will act mistakenly; if you think basely, your conduct will suit your thinking. "

Photo note: I have tried your patience quite enough as it is.

Posted by Dakota at 06:49 AM

January 28, 2006

Keeping an eye on things


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Let's start with a prescient The State of the Union address, to get you in the mood , and move right along to an excellent editorial entitled Bush the Incompetent -- catchy.

For those of us who simply cannot believe that somehow 42.9% of the American public (or thereabouts) still thinks our facile dictator, George W. is doing a good job, and the the polls just have to be rigged --- a liberal blog, MyDD, commissioned an untainted poll -- one that asked questions submitted by My DD readers -- and here are the results, answers to the first five questions -- there is more to follow

1. Are you registered to vote in elections in your local area?
Yes: 100.0%

2. And are you registered to vote as a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, a member of some other party or are you registered but with no party preference?

Democrat 33.1%
Republican 29.5%
Ind/Oth/No Party 37.5%

3. Generally speaking, in your opinion is the United States headed pretty much in the right direction these days or is it headed off on the wrong track?

Right Direction 36.9%
Wrong Track 48.3%
Not Sure/DK/ref 14.8%

4. And do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the job of President?

Approve 42.9%
Disapprove 50.4%
Not Sure/DK/ref 6.7%

5. How would you describe the availability of good jobs at decent wages in your local area? Would you say such jobs are widely available, available but not easy to find, rarely available or not available at all?

Widely Available 17.6%
Available, not easy 37.1%
Rarely Available 25.3%
Not available 9.4%
Not Sure/DK/ref 10.6%

Just in case you like walnuts and cherries on your sundae, and have a longer attention span than I, lawyer Glenn Greenwald has written an excellent analysis examining the legality of wiretapping, including some interesting old quotations from the administration itself, lauding protections that the FISA Court offers us as citizens of the USofA, as well as its efficiency. As my mother (1908-2005) used to say "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" (Walter Scott 1808). Especially don't try it when all those smart people on the internet are watching you.

Here's the good news, action initiated by states can set the impeachment process in motion. There are those who have been gathering evidence for years, for just such an occasion.

As Paul Lukasaik over there at The AWOL project says,

"There are about 290,000,000 people in the United States. I spent four months doing research that apparently, no one else bothered to do. That means that there are about 289,999,999 other people out there who, with a few notable and extremely important exceptions, haven’t put this much time and effort into this subject.
I’m very happy to answer people’s questions about my research. But, (and don’t take this the wrong way), please do not write to me to tell me what documents I should be making the effort to get a hold of, or how I should write to CNN and tell them about my work, or whatever. Each and every one of you is just as capable as I am of demanding the records you think I should have, filing FOIA requests, and writing to emails to bring this stuff to the attention of others. I thought it was important enough for ME to do what I did. If you think something is important enough for ME to do, it should be important enough for YOU to do yourself. Thank you."

I am lamely considering this entry as doing my part -- please consider my advanced age when evaluating the effort.

Photo note: Lately, I've been seeing watchful eyes everywhere. Ah, the power of the unconscious as it peeks through the viewfinder.

Posted by Dakota at 06:31 AM

January 27, 2006



After years
of nasty notes
in the night
on the
kitchen table
of my blog,

the spammers
have improved
their pitch

no more
organ offers

no more

no more
sure cure


a direct appeal
to ego core
counting on
the sin of pride

to inspire
a visit
to their
webby den

"Your site is very
very cool !!
I love it :)
Respect !"

silly girl,
at least
you know
is a trick

Photo note: This is jello not spam -- it was as close as I could come. On Thankgiving, while dipping my jello mold in hot water in order to release the form, I saw what I thought would be a fine photo -- unfortunately the jello turned into a puddle while posing.

Posted by Dakota at 05:58 AM

January 25, 2006



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with diminished contrast

Once, Teja Cole, perhaps upon his return to Nigeria and its colors, or perhaps when he was still Abdul-Walid of Acerbia and New York City, wrote about his compassion for John Updike -- the master, implanted in Pennsylvania, with only suburban folly for artistic inspiration. Teja said it even better than V.S. Naipal would have, but, as is often the case, I can't find his quote

When I saw the black and white photos of Seydou Keita in the Sunday New York Times , I bemoaned my suburban setting. Keita, a studio photographer in Bamako, Mali, took portraits of Mail's growing urban class in the 30's and 40's -- his clients commissioned these photos to send back to their relatives in the country. Keita's portraits thus document "people on the uneven edge of modernity"

The photos shown in the Times are dramatic - riveting, high contrast, large black and white prints (produced from his negatives), of men and women in varieties of native and modern costume, taken before patterned backdrops worthy of Matisse. Unfortunately, only a few are shown in the online article. The original photographs, in contrast, pardon the pun, are faded 5x7 Browinie prints. There is a controversy over the choice to print Keita's work in such a striking fashion.

"In the case of Mr. Keïta, the original photographs were taken at a significant moment in West African history, amid a great migration from rural to urban areas. His customers, said Mr. Enwezor, were part of that shift: newly arrived in the city, they would mail photographs to relatives who were still in the countryside. The prints were a type of private correspondence. As the formal elements of the photograph - its dimensions, its contrasts and densities - are manipulated, this history of the image, as contained within the photograph, begins to evaporate.

There is, though, another argument, based in the technology of photography, that undermines the concept of photographic authenticity. Charles Griffin, who prints the photographs of Cindy Sherman and Hiroshi Sugimoto, observes that the resolution of photographic negatives is far greater than that of the prints made from them. The negatives, you might say, contain a far greater amount of information than can be shown, placing those who make prints in the position of having to select and suppress the information that will ultimately appear.

And the printer's responsibility in this regard, Mr. Griffin added, has been heightened by the decision of paper companies to reduce the silver content in, and therefore the sensitivity of, photographic papers.

As a result, artists, museums and galleries treat printers in the same way that writers treat good editors, trusting them to add and subtract material from a manuscript to achieve the best result. It was to Mr. Griffin that Mr. Kelly turned when he took over the representation of Seydou Keïta. Because of the respect that the dealer and the association have for Mr. Griffin's work, they have given him great license over the way in which Mr. Keïta's photographs are printed.

Mr. Griffin said that when he attended the 1997 exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, he was immediately disturbed by a number of factors, especially the extent of the contrast between the blacks and the whites. "Too often," he says, "printers are influenced by the preference wealthy collectors have for highly graphic images." When he was asked later to make prints from Mr. Keïta's negatives, he made a number of important changes, including the decision to "give more emphasis to the ground between the blacks and whites." He has yet to see a vintage photograph of Mr. Keïta's."

If you look at the portrait collection under the Seydou Keita clickie in the first paragraph, which was reprinted with authenticity in mind, and the photos in the Times article , you can see the difference.

Photo note: My own culturally impoverished, high contrast collection - Light in the unremodeled suburban bathroom, 2006 USA -- where we have Photoshop so that we can alter our work at our every whim.


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with diminished contrast


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with diminished contrast

Posted by Dakota at 10:40 PM

Weathering the Storm


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I got all jammed up trying to write a piece about art, but I thought I'd post this in the meantime, so you would see that, in spite of the neoconservative blizzard out there obfuscating democracy, the American flag is still visible

And while I'm at it, for those of you who haven't had time to curl up with the best selling "Left Behind" series, here's a review from an insider, to be read in front of the fireplace, because it's quite chilling..

What are the rules for flying flags in inclement weather, anyway? Screw it, real patriots hang their flags through rain, sleet, snow and dead of night, don't they -- now that they're made of nylon.

Photo note: Taken at great peril, while driving in a blizzard -- what am I, out of my mind?

Posted by Dakota at 06:15 AM

January 22, 2006

TantalizingTropical Trash


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Here's an excellent example of why my house is a little out of control. You might be able to see the white plastic bags upon which this flower arrangement rests. It is awaiting garbage pick up after some elegant event in an upscale neighborhood.

Of course, I was very drawn to the serendipitous display on the sidewalk, and hovered over it with my camera for many minutes contorting myself to eliminate the white plastic bags from the frame.

Then it occurred to me that I was not a slave to the setting. I could remove the flowers from the aestheically displeasing pile of garbage, and take them home to my beautiful black driveway for a studio shot, of sorts. Have I failed to tell you that the stems are about six feet tall? I was judicious, I took only one stem. But now it is withering in the corner of my kitchen. I have failed to shoot it properly, and I am ambivalent about its disposal. From now on, a photo will suffice.

Photo note: This is a straightforward photograph (a rarity, indeed). It is the story that is metaphorical. Unfortunately, I have yet to figure out what in heaven's name it means.

Posted by Dakota at 08:37 PM

A Farewell


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It will never
be the same

The shop called
Bow Street Flowers
source of complex beauty
vivid winter flowers
swanlike spotted squashes

on a corner with two windows
between historic buildings
proprietors with taste

has moved
to a spot
with one
in the
of a

poor me
poor you


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Posted by Dakota at 04:54 PM

January 21, 2006



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Just another
scene from
the Orinoco

to plump up
a Saturday



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Photo note: Don't you just love how the car is parked in just the right space? Would that it were a hybrid. Find the golden palm. and it's shadow.



Posted by Dakota at 08:25 AM

January 19, 2006



Mercy, mercy imagine JUST when all those republicans are being indicted, JUST as Our President's popularity is sinking into the black hole of Calcutta, JUST as there are murmurs of presidential impeachment.... why, out of the blue, ta da...a , comes a decidedly ominous tape, scratchy and garbled with the voice of Osama bin Laden, himself, threatening to get us with unspeakable acts of terrorism. I'm absolutely sure that the authenticity of this tape has been thoroughly checked, because none of the networks would want to fall in the Rather Trap again.

After all, the CIA has been wrong recently. Why, just look at that bombing in the village in Pakistan. It was days and days before we found out that there were really FOUR dangerous Al Qaeda operatives killed in the raid, not just innocent civilians....that the whole incident wasn't a dreadful mistake, a waste, a travesty against the civilians of Pakistan. What a relief.

But I'm scared. I'm supposed to be scared, especially if I live in the Midwest where the terrorists are really gonna get me.

I always knew Our President was wiretapping for good reasons. I think Google should release everybody's search terms to him. I don't mind if they know who I call on my cellphone, I'M not doing anything wrong. Toss that Constitution - we are talking about BEING SAFE here!

Surely, this is no time, this red alert, this heart stopping moment, this verbal encounter with the enemy, to question Our President. I really, really need him to protect me now. So just shut up all you traitorous critics.

Pardon me for being shrill -- it's a woman thing you know.

Addendum: I wrote this before I heard that Osama had made a truce offer at the end of the tape. Then I had second thoughts -- but Mr. Cheney thinks it was just a ploy, and, of all people, he should know a ploy when he sees one.

Photo note: I was saving this photograph for an avian flu commentary -- many thanks to the folks at Disney, who drew the poster, which I shot through my dirty windshield.

Posted by Dakota at 03:48 PM

January 18, 2006

A Cyber Resurrection


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I wrote this poem in July when I thought that Abdul-Walid of Acerbia had been erased from cyberspace, but never published it. I did find some of his beautiful pieces preserved on the Way Back Machine -- though, sadly, his photos are missing. (Instruction to new explorers on the WBM - that's me - click on a date and then try to explore old entries through the archives that are shown on screen - you will be lavishly rewarded, however intermittently.)

of Acerbia
is going
out of business
the blog.

will all his words
precisely placed
before us

considered thought
richly lived
densely seen

reduced to
mere electrons


will they hover
in cyberspace

for wonderers

preserved forever
by the god
of google

Return to the present: And some of them were. Best of all, in news received from Blaugustine, (itself, a fascinating site) Abdul Walid of Acerbia has reemerged in a new location with a real name.... but the same sublime prose.

Photo note: Sweet, delicious, golden beets are available for only a short season. (THAT was my July photo note- here's the new one) What's Cookin?

Posted by Dakota at 09:11 AM

Double take


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Today, January 18, the Boston Globe reported that seventy six year old Clarence Ray Allen, "California's oldest condemned inmate, had asked prison authorities to let him die if he went into cardiac arrest before his execution, a request prison officials said they would not honor.

'At no point are we not going to value the sanctity of life,' said prison spokesman Vernell Crittendon. 'We would resuscitate him.'"

Did I just read that?

Well, it is a comfort to know that the culture of life would spare no expense in order to do the job right.

Photo note: As close as I can get to a flower picture this time of year.

Posted by Dakota at 07:25 AM

January 16, 2006

House and Branches


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Please read Al Gore's Martin Luther King Day address in its entirety. It is very important. It is not a sound bite. ..reading it will require some concentration, though it is clear and easy to understand. You can bet you won't see it on Fox News.

Finished? Great. Were it not for the Diebold debacle, this man would be our president, and global warming would have been addressed, and we would not be at war in Iraq, and our environment would not be at risk, and the corporatocracy would not be running the show, and the Constitution would be more or less intact, and Bin Laden might be hogtied, and seniors would be getting their medicine. This is the kind moral leader that is needed in these dreadful times. There is much at stake.

Photo note: House and branches, get it? Also some people have the good sense to paint their trim the same color as a sycamore in winter.

Posted by Dakota at 08:53 PM

January 15, 2006

Pushing Enough Buttons


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Zogby's new poll indicates that 52% of Americans support the impeachment of George W. Bush if he engaged in illegal wiretapping.

"The strong support for impeachment found in this poll is especially surprising because the views of impeachment supporters are entirely absent from the broadcast and print media, and can only be found on the Internet and in street protests. The lack of coverage of impeachment support is due in part to the fact that not a single Democrat in Congress has called for impeachment, despite considerable grassroots activism by groups like Democrats.com (http://democrats.com/impeach)."

Even Arlen might be a supporter.

As far as I'm concerned, illegal wiretapping is just the tip of the iceberg. W. has consistantly overstepped the legal limits of his power.

Photo note: Ding dong. How many more buttons does he have to push?

Posted by Dakota at 07:35 PM

This and that of a Sunday Morn


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step back

Just some shots I've taken in the past few days. First, a flower-- single, from a dehydrated hydrangea, persistant iin a veritable field of triangles.

Anyone who hangs around here much knows about the Big Baby's penchant for the flower foto.

I am sorry to say, The Big Baby, in need of soothing, has arisen once again for examination, due to disturbance in her manifestations. What else is new. I'm looking at split off parts of myself, of necessity.

Then, as I was checking to see who dropped by yesterday, I came upon this bit of wisdom . (excuse the photo, it's illustrative, but the exposure is the result of my primitive skills at the time -- I still underexpose, but usually I have the good sense not to publish.) Sometimes, I am impressed by what I think. I am even more impressed by my ability to forget what I thought..


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Luck! My landpeople must have unearthed this horseshoe from their beautiful garden and mounted it recently. Luck! This morning I came upon a snippet in the December 11, 2005 New York Times Book Review, in an article by Barry Gewen entitled "The State of the Art", and I quote:

"Harold Rosenberg had said that art was 'a space open for the individual to realize himself in knowing himself'. Today after decades of narcissistic and exhibitionistic spectacles, when it's possible to grasp the limits of Rosenberg's libertarian ethos, we can see that he should have said art was not only a space for the individual to realize himself in knowing himself, but also a space to enable others to know themselves, as well as a space to evoke the bonds that exist between artist and spectator in their common self-awareness, which is to say in their common humanity. It's a definition that understands art is necessarily a social interaction, communication between people, dialogue, not merely the unfettered expression of the boundless ego as has been the case with so much work over the past few decades". Well, I'll give it the old college try, if you will.


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And finally, what do you suppose this means. "The seeds are back!", so enthusiastically arched over reflections of a synagogue (the humped building in the foreground) and Lowell House, at Harvard, not to be mistaken for a Christian church, in spite of it's bell tower. Intellectual understanding of the Hebrew Alphabet, as it is a key to understanding the structure of cosmic energy? And then there's that little blue triangle, on high, with the phone in it. Adorable.

Photo notes: Dispersed throughout.

Posted by Dakota at 07:51 AM

January 14, 2006



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up closer

Just a pretty picture I took yesterday through the window of Orinoco, a sweet little restaurant that has opened next to my nutritionist. As you can see, it looks like it's closed for lunch, which is just as well, given the purpose of my visits next door.

Fom the Boston Globe's food critics Joe Yonan and Alison Arnett:

"MI AMOR Andres Branger's new little South End restaurant is a labor of love. He even sold his neighborhood condo and is crashing on the couch of a business partner to swing the $300,000 start-up cost. With barely 20 seats on Shawmut Avenue, Orinoco will open soon, focusing on family recipes from Branger's native Venezuela (arepas and empanadas) with a nod to other Latin cuisines. Branger had hired fellow Venezuelan Carlos Walter, from Douglas Rodriguez's OLA Miami, as a menu consultant. Walter then "fell in love with the concept," Branger says, and moved to Boston to run the kitchen. Branger feared he would have to open without a liquor license, but the city came through at the 11th hour. Since he didn't have to buy it from another license holder, Branger saved hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Photo note: This is a metamorphophoto without metaphoric meaning. After all, it's Saturday and there are many reasons to keep it light and gay. On second thought, maybe there is a metaphor, but you'll have to rack your own brain for it.

Posted by Dakota at 08:29 AM

January 13, 2006



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So, when a girl stops raging, complaining, swiping what is with bitter sarcasm, rather than imagining what is possible .... and the only thing to which she can look forward is a filibuster, what will become of her?

Ahh.. the benefits of being a photographer... a prolific digital photographer. Unlike being a prolific painter, which takes concerted effort, being a prolific digital photographer means only that you harvest lots of what's out there. ... like picking tomatoes. But, as someone once said to me, if you take enough pictures there's bound to be a good one in there somewhere.

So I searched my vast archives for the unculled, unpublished virgin photo, that would bring me back to a path of beauty. Yes, there are hundreds of flower shots from which to chose. My camera is often stuffed with flowers. The haughtier aspects of myself have more than a little distain for the merely pretty -- preferring the complex, edgy, metaphoric.

Look at the picture I found in my collection this morning. Bet you thought I was going to rant about Big Oil, fossil fuels and pollution. Here's the edgy part. It's just pretty, for some reason AND it's not a flower.

Posted by Dakota at 06:47 AM

January 12, 2006

On The Mend


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As you can see, although I'm all dressed up, and almost over the plague, its residual effect has left me a bit hollow-eyed. I know I'm not over it, because I am still reading about what I don't want.

A girl can go so far astray with Noam Chomsky.

But I picked myself right up, and moved from despondency to snarkiness, when I read Hecate's response to Ms. Martha-Ann Bomgartner Alito's tears for her hubby Sam, precipitated by REPUBLICAN Senator Lindsay Graham putting words in the mouths of democrats (for purposes of the morning headlines, no doubt). I can sympathize with her. It's hard to see one's beloved victiminized.

And finally, I decided to be flexible, take the path of Belaqua Jones, and appreciate the living daylights out George.

Oh screw it

Photo note: A metamorpho- metaphorophoto. Although there are a few small skeletons hanging around, notice that the beauty of nature isn't too far out of my head. A curtsey to all.

Posted by Dakota at 07:13 AM

January 11, 2006



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There was a great flurry over illegal wiretapping by the NSA last week. Alito is being questioned by the judiciary committee about the extension of presidential powers in the wiretapping area at this very moment. What's missing in my book is exactly WHO has been wiretapped, WHERE is the investigative reporting on this issue, and WHEN is it going to come out. Folks must be worried about falling down the Rather Trap and they're checking facts obsessively, as well they should -- I guess we shouldn't count on the New York Times, though.

On January 5 there was speculation about CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour as a possible, dare I say, wiretapping victim, after Andrea Mitchell inadvertently, or intentionally, slipped her name into an interview with James Risen, the New York Times reporter whose new book "State of War : The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration", initially rolled over the log and exposed this cluster of maggots. But, since then, all's quiet.

Alberto Gonsalves over at the Justice Department has vowed to ferret outthe traitor, but maybe he's been busy with other things. As it happens "The Whistleblower" has come forth voluntarily. Russell Tice, a longtime NSA employee -- or, should I say, no longer a longtime NSA employee -since "The NSA revoked Tice's security clearance in May of last year based on what it called psychological concerns and later dismissed him. Tice calls that bunk and says that's the way the NSA deals with troublemakers and whistleblowers. Today the NSA said it had "no information to provide."

Tice says "As far as I'm concerned, as long as I don't say anything that's classified, I'm not worried. We need to clean up the intelligence community. We've had abuses, and they need to be addressed."

Sibel Edmonds, the FBI language specialist who was fired after reporting security breaches, cover-up, and blocking of intelligence with national security implications post 9/1, concurs.

Meanwhile, there are those of us, twiddling our thumbs, waiting for extremely accurate information while Rush Limbaugh and the Boys obfiscate the facts with thick layers of gooey lies, anytime they damn well please.

So, as they say in the journalism trade WHO WHERE WHEN already.

Photo note: No, this was not taken outside my house.

Posted by Dakota at 07:01 AM

January 09, 2006

Very Arch


I shall avoid
the temptation
to become
doubly arch

even though
there are those
in the news
that inspire
deep distain

Forking off
to appreciate
as revealed

in the dead of
winter in a
constitutional crisis.

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even closer, though askew

Posted by Dakota at 03:28 PM

January 07, 2006

Turning the corner


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I awakened Saturday morning to a BBC interview with Jonathon Porritt, Chairman of the UK's Sustainable Development Commisssion, and leading environmentalist, discussing his new book "Capitalism:As If The World Matters". He has a unique idea. That is, that there is money to be made in doing things that are good for the earth and humankind -- an alternative to the sleazy, greedy, depleting, mean, short sighted, destructive tactics of most of today's capitalists. I wonder if I can buy his book with my Americano credit card..

As if that weren't enough, Porritt's interview was followed by Rajmohan Ghandi, grandson of Mahatma, talking about the power of non-violence. In a 1998 interview with Awesome Library, Ghandi made these points:

Awesome Library: "It makes sense that we should listen to children if we expect to work together with them. What are your views on the root causes of conflict between groups?"

Rajmohan Gandhi:
"Selective history"
"Ambition to play on the hurt and angry feelings of others"
"Leaders helping us escape from economic, educational, and health problems with emotional reactions"
"Finding a scapegoat in the stranger; blaming the stranger"

Awesome Library: "What is the antidote? What will fix this?"

Rajmohan Gandhi: "Humanity needs to realize that there is no 'stranger;' we need to know that the 'enemy' is like us; we need to see the 'enemy' in ourselves. Our 'enemies' are more like us than different. We must realize four things, actually:"
1. "The 'enemy' is me"
2. "Hatred injures ourselves more than those we hate"
3. "Forgiveness is possible; we can be healed"
4. "Perpetrators can repent and be forgiven"

"Blame, hate and war do not help us. We have tried them for centuries, but they do not help."

Damn good points.

And THEN, this evening, Doris Kearns Goodwin was interviewed about her book "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln", in which she elucidates Lincoln's emotional depth and maturity. He always kept in mind his life's purpose -- leaving a positive legacy, rather than making decisions that preserved his ego. He welcomed feedback from the opposition, and appointed his critics to important positions when he felt they would be the right men for the job. I certainly hope W. has Doris' book on the reading list for his next vacation -- which should be coming up soon

And so, even though I have been posting embittered, pessimistic, outraged pieces about what's making me sick , Public Broadcasting has arranged to help me turn the corner, offering up lovely interviews with people who have positive visions about what they want, rather than what they don't want.

I am expecting my nasal passages to clear momentarily.

Photo note: You will notice that the smiles say "Clarity" - they are really little lapel pins with flashing LEDs -- advertisement for a product, but much more. I tried to capture them on film many times, singly and in combination-- 400 flashing spectacularly in a basket -- to no avail. I finally carried a few that I had hauled home, outside onto the porch, into bright sunlight, and shot.-- thus the deep shadows, which we always love, and the peeling paint.

Posted by Dakota at 06:50 AM

January 06, 2006

Oh, Oh


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Didn't I just vow to fork off in a more positive direction? Wouldn't you know that I would stumble upon this combo metaphorophoto-metamorphophoto, the moment I made the vow. I shot it this summer during my brief photographic phling with CD's.

Well, there's the obvious snapping apart of the flag -- in a rather unusual, mysterious way that's hard to grasp immediately. It's a real flag, and only a partial reflection How about the tranquility of the scene behind, sunny day, watering the garden, just as if nothing important is happening. Or maybe that's a prone person pissing in the wind., you never know. Then there are the blurry, anonymous fingers pulling the flag apart. That would, in reality, be me, but you can extrapolate.

Honestly I'm beginning to feel like the digital, deforming , distorting, cyber Betsy Ross. Not exactly a goddess, but certainly a contributor.

Photo note: Need I say more

Posted by Dakota at 07:00 PM

Still sick


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As you can see by my sinuses, I'm still sick. The elderberry syrup cure has failed. I have resorted to Dayquil. This morning, I made a Caesarish Salad for breakfast, because it contains raw garlic and lemon juice, which I didn't have the fortitude to swig straight. (I am not including the recipe, which is divine and simple, because to do so, would smack of the mundane, repetitive feminine, instead of the sacred, to which I aspire -- if you need it, you know where to contact me).

I'm a little worried about the state of my immune system, especially in light of the fact that there are now reported deaths from the avian flu in Turkey. Of course the children who died are said to have been playing catch with the heads of dead chickens, so it couldn't happen here, right?

Some other things that are making me sick.

. Pat Robertson's comment that Ariel Sharon's stroke was "divine punishment for dividing God's land"

. The obsessive focus on Sharon's medical condition in the media. Let's face it, the damage is extensive and permanent. Saving his life under these conditions is not an act of mercy. It's such a shame to lose him. just when he had turned a corner and was trying to forge a peace. Yitzhak Rabin's assassination was equally untimely. I admired him more.

. Bush's meeting with the "old guard" ostensibly to break the bubble and get a bit of sound advice on the Iraq War from his elders. Here's the part that made me sick (in case you are thwarted by the Boston Globe gatekeepers):
"The hourlong [a most generous allotment of time for 13 prominent figures to express themselves fully] meeting was also an opportunity for Bush to ask for their help in maintaining support for a mission all agreed must succeed because the United States has so much at stake in Iraq. Cohen, who is also a former Republican senator from Maine, said Bush asked the group to speak out about the importance of the Iraq mission during their foreign travels and to use their business contacts to help enlist support for investment in Iraq's shaky economy. The meeting was cordial, according to participants, but not without its share of dissent." Right. And from the Seattle Times "While Bush was challenged once or twice in the meeting, according to participants, White House aides believed they accomplished their twin goals of portraying a more solicitous president and underscoring the broad bipartisan agreement that a speedy withdrawal from Iraq would be unwise." A President who's really open to dissent and suggestions, just as I suspected. If I were an elder statesman, I think I'd feel used.
Addendum: it was even worse than I thought

. The death of twelve miners in West Virginia -- the poor and the environment, once again sacrificed to the corporatocracy. Coal mining is profitable again because, environmentally damaging as it is, coal is in demand as an energy source -- after all, we're at war. Therefore, the coal industry is sending men to dig deeper into more dangerous territory because it's profitable. In addition, "the appointment of officials with close ties to the mining industry to the industry watchdog had resulted in a rollback in safety regulations." Couldn't some of those West Virginia mountains use windmills, and the miners fresh air and sunshine. There wouldn't even be objections from the rich about spoiled views, I bet.

. Flagrant flaunting of the antitorture bill by our President. From Rosa Brooks at the LA Times: "The media announced this as a victory for McCain, his congressional supporters and the large majority of Americans who tell pollsters that torturing terror suspects is not acceptable. But the president still had a bit of mischief up his sleeve. When he signed the legislation, Bush issued a signing statement saying he planned to construe the McCain amendment's absolute prohibition on cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment 'in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the president to supervise the unitary executive branch and as commander in chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power, which will assist in achieving the shared objective … of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks.' This may seem like so much legalistic gobbledygook, but it's more sinister than that. It refers to the administration's astonishing claim that whenever the president asserts that he's acting in the interests of national security, he's constitutionally permitted to violate any federal laws he finds inconvenient. Translated, Bush's statement says, "I'll sign a law prohibiting cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, but because I'm president, I can ignore it." As blogger and Georgetown University law professor Marty Lederman notes, Bush's signing statement was 'the commander-in-chief version of 'I had my fingers crossed.' "

. Ditto for government surveillance. As John Dean says: "Well, it does happen that we are a government of laws. And....theoretically, at least. And why do we need a PATRIOT Act if he has all these powers? If the....if anyone reads the Article 2 the way Bush does, Cheney, his former counsel, David Addington, and John Yoo do, there are just no powers they don't have in the name of defending the country against terrorism, and terrorism is an indefinite threat. Therefore, they can do anything indefinitely that they wish. That isn't what I think the Constitution contemplates." Sickening.

.. A new study that estimates the cost of the war in Iraq will be between 1 and 2 TRILLION dollars. "The study expands on traditional budgetary estimates by including costs such as lifetime disability and health care for the over 16,000 injured, one fifth of whom have serious brain or spinal injuries. It then goes on to analyze the costs to the economy, including the economic value of lives lost and the impact of factors such as higher oil prices that can be partly attributed to the conflict in Iraq. The paper also calculates the impact on the economy if a proportion of the money spent on the Iraq war were spent in other ways, including on investments in the United States." And they aren't even including the cost of the damage that can be done in the future by so many furious Muslims. But then again, Halliburton stock is up 50% for the year.

If I want to perk up my immune system, I shall have to fork off to more positive thoughts..

Photo note: Sickly, skinless, self portrait including sinuses and thoughts, some of which might do better floating in a martini,.

Posted by Dakota at 09:32 AM

January 04, 2006



I had a dream two days ago. Granted, I was feverish at the time, suffering from too much attention to those mundane, repetitive feminine duties that dampen goddess energy, no doubt. I won't waste my time looking for clickies to illustrate the dream, since I tried that once before, and it was not satisfying.

I dreamed that I looked in my camera at photos I had taken recently and found three that seemed to be about transcendence. The first was an almost all white picture -- two white tree branches, touching, forming the top of a heart, with luminescent drops of water hanging from them. The second photograph was almost all blue. A robed figure with white hair sat beneath an open blue grid, which is shown in diminishing perspective. The luminous aura around the figure's head is drawn upwards through the grid. Of course, I cannot remember anything about the third photo. It was undoubtedly the most important, as forgotten things tend to be. Oh well.

Needless to say, in the dream, I was pretty excited that these pictures were in my camera, but I had no memory of taking them. I understood them to be a message regarding transcendence, and thought I should book the luminous figure in the blue picture on the Christopher Lydon Show, since Christopher had just interviewed Harold Bloom about his book "Jesus and Yahweh: the Names Divine".

And that's as much as I could remember of my dream.

When I awakened, I wasn't really sure whether the pictures were in my camera or not. I thought the dream was important, though, and I got out of bed and wrote it down.


Two days before the dream, having vowed to meditate daily, this is what came to me during my meditation:

You do not have to wait to die in order to transcend, but it's quite a trick. If you can transcend from physical existence, you have used consciousness to it's fullest intention. First you must be able to think, then you must be able to think about what you're thinking, then you have to be able not to thnk about what you are thinking, and capture the thoughts that move into your mind from the universe. Write them down, just like i'm doing now.

I really don't know what happens next -- exuding the sacred feminine?

Be prepared to experience people thinking you're nuts.


Photo note: What was REALLY in my camera. The first two are taken out my kitchen window -- whose shocking state of uncleanliness could easily be mistaken for a galaxy. (Honestly, it doesn't look that disgusting in daylight). There is a Winter Moth on the screen (more luminescent than in portrait) -- a possible eco-problem, which was the original target of the shot. The third picture is a fairy on the ceiling of one of my favorite stores. When the salesperson forgot to take the pricetag off of an item she had gift wrapped, she asked if I could wait until she rewrapped the package. It was then that I had the courage to ask to take photos in the store. It was the least they could do since I was being so accommodating. None of photos are in fabulous focus, which is why there are no larger views.

Posted by Dakota at 06:51 PM

January 02, 2006



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I think these are chimney liners, hung on a hurricane fence at the fireplace store for handy access. What was I doing in the vicinity of stovepipe? Why, preparing for the disruption of essential services caused by an avian flu pandemic, of course. Unfortunately, the store was closed for New Year's weekend, but the empty parking lot provided an unimpaired view of said pipes.

I am about to install a gas insert in my livingroom fireplace. I think I have found one with sufficient Victorian charms to suit my purposes. I am hoping that such an installation will allow me to heat at least one room in the house, should the grid snap for one reason or another.

Since most, if not all, furnaces require electricity to start, no matter what fuel they burn, we will all be without heat if electricity is interrupted -- a chilling prospect, here, north of the Mason- Dixon Line. A gas fireplace insert can be ordered with a manual starter, thus circumventing the problem. Although natural gas prices are increasing exponentially, I think this is a decent backup plan that will provide a modicum of heat in an emergency.

As for simply building a fire in the fireplace --when the damper in mine is open, the particular spatial configuration of my house sets up conditions for a 50 mile an hour wind to suck every molecule of warm air in the house up the chimney. Because of this, cozy fires in the wintertime, when you really want one, are built only for festive occasions. I know I'll enjoy the luxury of a fire more often if I can just flick a switch, or whatever you do with a manual starter -- I'm sure it beats hauling wood.

The gas insert is only an interim strategy, since I have discovered that a hybrid car can be used as a handy dandy, efficient, low emission mobile generator. Besides, it's the right car to own if you care about the environment, and feel you cannot manage without a motor vehicle. I have placed my name on a waiting list.

Please excuse my recent absence from virtual relations. I have been virally indisposed. I think the damn things attacked my motivation, as well as my cognition. Today I remembered to take some of the elderberry syrup that I accumulated, but WILL NOT use, for the avian flu.

Photo loose association: Would that my nasal passages were as clean and shiny.

Posted by Dakota at 05:11 PM