April 29, 2006

Lost Innocence (mine)


View larger image

I will admit to being a little shocked. As I write, I am crotch-to-face with a Nair ad in Seventeen Magazine. The photo in the ad features the body of a teenaged girl, from belly button to the first six inches of thigh. There is a black and magenta flowered bikini bottom just covering her mons. Along the top of the bottom, on the flesh, is printed (thank god it's not tattooed). "Nothing can ruin a $60 bikini, like a $4 razor. " Forget about the bikini, what about Nair to the nethers - that sounds pretty ruinous to me.

Of course there's more. On the cover of this Seventeen, we are told that the contents of the issue include, "The Best Bikini for Your Body", "Sexy Hairstyle Ideas", "Hot Makeup, Hot Bodies, and Hot Styles "-- and, over in the corner, in somewhat smaller print, a "Sex Report: Shocking Stories That May Save Your Life".

Inside , The Sex Report begins with "All About Hook Ups" -- a survey of the pros (to have fun 68%, to get pleasure 49%, to feel wanted 48%) and cons.(guilty feelings 57%, risk of STDs, a bad reputation 55%.) Should you do it? One in four felt BAD after their last hook up - 82% prefer a long term relationship.

Then, Sara, age fourteen, asks the question, "What is the right age to remove your hair from 'down there'?"

And finally, "Shocking Sex Stories. Here's an excerpt, written by a fifteen year old girl: "Pretty soon, I was sitting on this guy, Mark's lap. Then he and about six other guys took off my clothes and were touching me as Mark held me down. One of the guys carried me into the bedroom, laid me on the bed and raped me. This guy didn't wear a condom and ejaculated all over my vaginal area After that, he carried me into the kitchen and they put a beer bottle inside of me and took pictures with Mark's cellphone camera"

Are we surprized?

Really, the only mixed messages my generation had to contend with from ladies magazines were about food -- twelve rich desserts and two new diets on every cover. Looks like were lucky. We only got eating disorders, not STDs.

Seventeen? The audience is more like fourteen. When I search my heart, I would rather sexual issues be addressed directly, but I am profoundly saddened to think that our fourteen year old girls are facing questions and situations like these at such a tender age.

Objectification is just another kind of oppression, on the opposite end of the fashion spectrum from the burka. Let's face it, Seventeen does nothing to honor the sacred feminine, at least in this issue.

I suggest that Seventeen get some hot actor to encourage girls to develop their characters and their minds -- to warn them about exploitation, and let them know that they are precious and beautiful, and do not need to prostitute themselves to get the loving attention and admiration they deserve. I bet Brad Pitt would do it.

Photo note: This is as close to a crotch shot of an underaged child that I have in my archives.

Posted by Dakota at 05:52 AM

April 28, 2006

Busch-Reisinger on the Move, on the Side


View larger image

This is just the Busch part of the Busch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard, as reflected on a shiny truck. I wish I could find a straight picture of the Busch part of the building, so you could compare it to the distortion. I've taken about a hundred while sitting at the traffic light right in front.

Wasn't it nice of the trucking company to leave a pure reflective, interesting surface, unmarred by advertising , with which the amateur photographer could toy? Had I had any presence of mind, I would have chased the truck through the streets of Cambridge, and taken 1200 distorted photographs of many historic buildings. But I didn't.

The Busch part, circa 1875 or thereabouts, has a red tile roof, and a green copper dome which is not included in the reflection. Why Harvard chose to show the concrete slab, Reisinger part of the museum on their website eludes me.

I liked this picture, and it reminded me that I hadn't visited the multi-talented qB over at Frizzy Logic for ages. She has a slide show that will take your breath away.

Photo note: see above

Got it!

View larger image

Posted by Dakota at 07:09 PM

April 27, 2006

Panoptically Speaking


View image


View image

Unlike most of my cohort (I have later learned), I never heard of The Panopticon before I listened to a novel called "The Traveler" by John Twelve Hawks. I was drawn to it, because I thought it was about gypsies, which it wasn't. Twelve Hawks, who is interviewed with a voice disguiser on the audio book, prefers to remain anonymous and "lives off the grid". Lordy where have I been? I'm referring to the Panoptican, not the off the grid, upon which, as you know, I am atop.

Designed in 1810 by the philospher Jeremy Bentham, The Panopticon is the prison system which allows many to be guarded by a few on the basis of illusion. I will leave it to you to explore the concept synoptically. Suffice it to say that The Panopticon is the architectural metaphor for the phrase "Big Brother is Watching You".

"The Traveler" elucidates the technological panopticon of modern society. In addtion to all the latest information about the invasion of privacy, this book has it all -- spiritual development, ubiquitious unwanted surveillance by folks who don't have anyone's best interest at heart but their own, hi tech utopian communities (where leisure is valued for creative endeavors), martial arts, hungry ghosts, samari swords, love, the legacy of the disciple Peter who renounces Jesus, time travel to other dimensions, honor, iris readers and chase scenes, so you can see why I liked it, in spite of its disturbing message.

If you don't have time to read the book, The American Civil Liberties Union has created a little internet experience that illuminates it all, panoptically, of course.

All of us here at Dakota are surprised to learn that we have been using both panoptic modes for quite some time. We were sure we must be doing something.

Photo note: Griddy, in an abstract way, don't you think? Those vinyl storm windows always lend themselves to visions (scroll down for vision).

Posted by Dakota at 04:18 PM

April 26, 2006

And what was your tax refund, honey?


View image

I guess this is old news, but worth repeating for those of you who had to write a big check to the IRS last week. Dick did not. It seems that our sterling vice president has profited handsomely from a few of his investments. (One wonders if Halliburton is primary among them, though the press seems loathe to mention it.) Cheney's income last year was about 8.8 million, "which was largely the result of exercising stock options that had been set aside in 2001 for charity." Oh.

Dick's tax refund was almost two million dollars. That, of course, is because he had already paid two and a half million in estimated taxes, and deserved some money back because of his generous contributions to charity. And, what do you know, that clever bastard has made disaster work for him once again.

The fashion for extraordinarily high incomes is a general trend in the world of CEOs, and what, after all , are George and Dick? "According to Business Week, the average CEO of a major corporation made 42 times the average hourly worker's pay in 1980. By 1990 that had almost doubled to 85 times. In 2000, the average CEO salary reached an unbelievable 531 times that of the average hourly worker." Looks like we have a simiilar situation in our federal government. In the corporate world, poor performance is not a factor in the level of compensation either.

I know, the VP's salary isn't all that big, but the stock options he owns in the war in Iraq more than compensate.

In contrast to this wretched excess, I just listened to half of Barbara Ehrenreich's book ,"Bait and Switch" (it was so depressing, I couldn't bear to finish it) about long term white collar unemployment.. It doesn't look good folks. As CEO salaries have risen, middle managers have been eliminated, and cannot, in spite of diligent efforts, find their way back into the job market. Often, like Barbara, herself, they simply give up. Then, conveniently for the Bush Administration's statiistics, those who have given up are no longer counted among the ranks of the unemployed

The dichotomy between the filthy (and I refer, here, to their sociopathic ways) rich in this country, and the disenfranchised, both poor, newly poor, and hopelessly unemployed, is rapidly increasing. Erosion of the middle class is bad for everyone. When the majority of the population has absolutely nothing to lose, there is danger of anarchy. To date, gates and guards are not mandatory for the privileged, but that time is coming.

Neoconservatism and it's intention to create an uberclass at the expense of the rest of us, has set the scene for civil unrest. All we need are a few more hurricanes to water the fields they have plowed.

So do your part, tell your friends about Cheney's tax refund, and help to lower his poll numbers to 5%. We have to remember that dictators don't really care about their popularity.

Photo note: There is absolutely nothing pretty about this picture, thus qualifying it as a metaphorophoto. It's part of my Bastardization of the American Flag Series. The half hidden bald eagle with its powerful beak that's meant to tear, reminded me of you-know-who.

Addendum: Here's Bill Gates on the repeal of the estate tax, The Paris Hilton Tax, or as he calls it, "The Grateful Heirs Tax". Warms a girl's heart.

Addendum # 2: (They're pouring in) "The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences" by New York Times reporter, Louis Uchitelle. From Publisher's Weekly: "Devoting a book to the necessity of preserving jobs is perhaps a futile endeavor in this age of deregulation and outsourcing, but veteran New York Times business reporter Uchitelle manages to make the case that corporate responsibility should entail more than good accounting and that six (going on seven) successive administrations have failed miserably in protecting the American people from greedy executives, manipulative pension fund managers, leveraged buyouts and plain old bad business practices."

Posted by Dakota at 01:15 PM

April 25, 2006

Whole Foods: Price Gouging at the Salad Bar


View larger image

I have long been a customer at what is now known as Whole Foods, nee Bread and Circus . The prices were always high, but, in the interest of organicity, I paid them, for my own health and that of those I feed.

However, Whole Foods has expanded. It opened a wildly successful branch six months ago in Manhattan, and then a new one in my neighborhood about which I recently waxed poetic.

Anyway, at the new organic (and "conventional') Whole Foods Palace around the corner, all prepared foods are $7.99 a pound. Well, okay, they spent alot of money redecorating, chopping and glazing, and I don't have to frequent the new one if I find the prices exorbitant. HOWEVER, when I stopped in for my usual Tuesday salad bar supply, at an entirely different location, where the salad bar, only the week before had been $5.99 a pound, I found that it's price had been raised to $7.99 as well ---AND the poached chicken had been removed.

I am sorry to be such a bitchy thrifty person, but I find paying eight dollars a pound for lettuce and cucumbers excessive. Whole Foods has gone the way of all corporations, and I'm not going there anymore. Ever.

In his new book "The Omnivore's Dilemma", Michael Pollan, while a Whole Foods fan of sorts himself, reminds us that everybody's favorite organic market is buying in vast quantities, shipping and trucking nationwide and generally supporting the evils of agribusiness. He encourages us to patronize local farmers instead, even if they are not purely organic, for many reasons, not the least of which is preserving the green space of our nation. I am planning to do just that, on my bike whenever possible.

Photo note: A shot of the fruit segment of the salad bar at The Broadway Marketplace, a chi chi gourmet grocery. You will notice the fruits are exotic, out of season, and/or tropical and must have cost a pretty penny to truck here. The price, my friends, is $4.99 a pound, not even counting the senior discount. The ethics of eating exotically will be discussed at a later date.

Posted by Dakota at 06:32 AM

April 24, 2006

Chasing Rainbows


View larger image

Back from upstate New York. This is the best I can do for the moment. I actually didn't take many pictures, since those rolling-green-hills-in-the-pouring-rain-from-the-highway shots all look alot like this, sans the rainbow-- and even with the rainbow, they leave alot to be desired aesthetically. The sun broke through once this weekend, thus the semi spectacle. At least you can get an idea of just how cheery a town can be, while exploring in the rain.

Basically the search led to locales from Poughkeepsie north on either side of the the Hudson River-- towns that can be accessed by train from New York City.

Newburgh was a first stop because of a property listed on the net. And, indeed, it was love at first sight. The Chapman Steamer Company Firehouse has 8000 square feet and beautiful 1914 fancy brickwork. It's right across the street from a stately park, which may have been a Frederick Law Olmstead design. However, its setting could not be called exactly bucolic. Worrisome would be a better word. The real estate agent never called back, so I didn't get to see the inside. Newburgh is chock full of interesting architecture, as well as rolling steel doors.


View larger image

Just a couple of miles across the river is the beautifully restored Beacon. A bit puffed up for some, but most charming -- home of the new Dia:Beacon, and its galleric followers. Unlike Newburgh, Beacon has clearly been discovered, and its discovery is reflected in housing prices.

Maybe Red Hook.

Why am I going on like this. A perfect fact dump if I ever read one. Ho Hum


View larger image

Photo note above: Out the window in Rhinebeck. A Bavarian flavor.

Posted by Dakota at 09:34 AM

April 21, 2006

Gone Fishing


I'm off for the weekend to upstate New York in search of a little piece of property that could be utilized as a weekend retreat, studio, and sustainable homestead for friends and family, just in case we hit deep doodoo-- oh dear whatever made me say something like that? In order to be able to live a simple, quality life in a peaceful place no matter what is going on in the world.

As usual, there is much resistance on the part of the scientific thinkers that surround me, who tell me I'm out of my mind to buy a "bomb shelter". Did I say that? -- although I do think that setting off a nuclear device in one of the major cities in the northeast is probably every terrorist's fantasy, it's more likely that the grid will be less dependable, and make living in a fifty story walkup in the city impractical. If you remember, my admonitions about preparations for avian flu, were generally poopooed, but I went right ahead and stocked up.

I'd like room for one of those pretty white windmills (the kind that the elite of Nantucket feel will spoil their view), somewhere on the property to take care of the energy problem, an acre or two on which to grow mesclun and nasturtium for salads, and a water source in which to dip an old oaken bucket.

Photo note: As close as I could come to a house in the country

Posted by Dakota at 06:30 AM

April 20, 2006

Almost spring


View larger image

I'm a little behind, due to connection problems this morning and a few minor emergencies this afternoon which have kept me from my trusty keyboard.

As a result, all I have to offer is a little picture of the possibilities for patio coming soon, and Bill Maher's closing monologue a few nights ago, which may have already gone around the email circuit. If you've seen it, just look at the picture, breathe deeply ten times, and try to get something positive out of coming all the way over here.

"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more.

There's no more money to spend - you used up all of that.

You can't start another war because you used up the army.

And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family
nightmare -
helping poor people.

Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards are maxed out. No
one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished.

Now it's time to do what you've always done best - lose interest and walk
Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the
team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about
cowboy or space man?

Now I know what you're saying - there's so many other things that you as
could involve yourself in.

Please don't.

I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela.
Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the
And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.

But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now.

Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly
I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe
that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he
never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four
airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon, and the City of New
Maybe you're just not lucky.

I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much
it could be if you were on the other side.

So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is:
"Take a hint.'

Photo note: Chairs in the al fresco dining area, waiting for warmer temperatures, with vine.

Posted by Dakota at 11:22 PM

April 18, 2006



All of us
here at

are trying
to stay
very Zen


about the

of nuclear

by the

lost soul


who is
our leader

How're we

Photo notes: The blossom. the bicycle brake, and the fickle fingers of fate

Posted by Dakota at 07:55 PM

A Commodore, Komondor, Big Dog, Great Dreads


View larger image

View swishing and size relative to owner

In addition to bumping into Paul Revere yesterday, I shot a komondor. She happened to be a well trained sweetie, but that is not always the case, so don't go rushing up if you see one, although the temptation will certainly be there.

She (I hope she's a she, I was too impressed to ask at the time) was camera shy, and understandably reluctant to have her picture taken, since she is often pursued by paparazzi. Her owner said that she doesn't shed (now THAT would be a major problem), but she is quite the dust mop. Things catch in her dreadlocks continuously. Autumn is the worst season for picking up debris. I would like to borrow her for the afternoon sometime, and toss a ball under all of my beds for her to retrieve.

I wish I had had the presence of mind to take a short movie, so you could see her dreads in motion. Love that cut.

Photo note: Quite a good pose given her feelings about modeling, though that may be a dirty look for all we know. My camera is teeny

Posted by Dakota at 03:33 PM

April 17, 2006

Patriot's Day - Holiday #3


View larger image

Ah... Patriot's Day -- the third holiday in a row. Thank goodness, there's no need to cook or set the table for this one. In fact it's quite the opposite here in Massachusetts. This the holiday on which we run the Boston Marathon. And honestly, I would be doing so if I didn't feel such a serious responsibility to all my readers, though blogging and marathoning need not be mutually exclusive, given that the event doesn't start until noon. The problem rests with all those mornings that I spent tapping away at my computer, when I should have been running around the block --- alot.

Those of us who aren't running also have the choice of cheering Paul Revere along on his reinacted ride, as well as participating in a faux battle on Lexington Green, or fifing and drumming to accompany the participants. (Later: Serendipitously, on my way to work, (after I had written this) I passed Revere himself, mounted on a white horse, with two red uniformed individuals on horseback behind, accompanied by flashing police cars, proceeding, all too quickly, down the avenue toward Lexington. Although I grabbed my trusty camera and caused a traffic jam of sorts, a despicable white van pulled right in front of my lens just as I was snapping. Oh well, I guess it was mine alone to appreciate.)

This year Patriot's Day lands conveniently on April 17. Due to the well timed holiday, all procrastinating patriots in our fair state can spend the day preparing income tax returns and still file on time.

Which brings me to the big question --what does it mean to be a patriot these days? Certainly, fifing and drumming, pasting flag stickers all over various possessions, and paying income taxes to support war and nuclear rearmament doesn't do the trick for me. Marching in protest against this government is important, but such demonstrations make absolutely no difference to this administration and go unacknowledged by our compromised media (though they did a great job covering the illegal immigrant protests -- could be because the republicans are divided on this issue.)

The framers of our Constitution had the right idea. They articulated an inspired and masterful plan that spoke to the possibility of realizing their ideals, even though that thing they called democracy had never manifested before. Let's face it, democracy has never been perfect, but it's particularly floundering these days. I want to support those who are framing the patroitic values that matter to me.

I'd rather keep religion out of political activities entirely, as instructed by the visionaries who wrote the Consitution, but to paraphrase William Sloane Coffin, when comes to mixing religion and politics, it's important to understand whose God we're talking about. There are many flavors of God. I'd personally prefer a god of justice, love and mercy, but there are always those who cotton to Mars, or worse.

So my patriotic act today will to make a donation to the Rockridge Institute, and to tell everyone who reads blog about it . Now I have to run, so to speak.

Photo note: Definitely a metaphorophoto, perhaps even a metamorphophoto -- feel free to make of it what you will. Free is the operative term.

Caught Paul after all, complete with white van.


View larger image

Posted by Dakota at 08:49 AM

April 16, 2006

Easter Bunny


View larger image

View in plastic

View in frosting

View with fangs

"Easter is the day that Catholics celebrate Jesus' return from the dead as a rabbit who hides colored eggs." - a stand up comic who I cannot credit due to slippery short term memory.

Ah, the resurrection. In light of the publication of the gospel of Judas, it must be reconsidered. Karen L. King, Harvard theologian and author of "What is Gnosticism", says the the newly recovered gospel directly challenges Atonement Christology or the notion that Jesus' death was a sacrifice for the sins of humanity.

According to this gospel, Judas, Jesus' closest follower, is instructed by Jesus,himself, to betray him. It was a plan -- and Jesus was the planner. Judas did the guy a favor. (Although I never understood why, even IFJudas were a bad guy, he wasn't part of God's Plan too, since, in some circles, God plans everything )

Well that's about as far as I go in the understanding department. I am still struggling with the real meaning of the crucifiction and resurrection, but my attention span is weak, and my time limited. I do know that it has something to do with the dissolution of the ego so that the spirit can awaken within us while were still here, operating in the material world.

If you want to listen to a real Easter sermon, from a man whose spirit has been awakened, push that clickie. William Sloane Coffin is an exemplar. I have heard some portion of this broadcast four times over the last twenty four hours, and tried to take notes (each time more frantically) in order to give you a flavor of his thinking:

. Evil is the lack of imaginative sympathy for others
. Nothing is more dangerous than the misunderstanding of evil as something outside yourself.
. Self righteousness destroys our ability for self criticism.
. We need to recognize our complicity in the things we abhor.

. We get so caught up in defense that we lose the things that are worth defending
. The United States is not a melting pot, it's a pressure cooker
. Bush is popular because people prefer certainty to truth
. People want the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought
. Some people need enemies to tell them who they are

. Biblical mandate is to pursue justice and search for peace
. When religion and politics are mixed the questions is, "Who is the god that tells them who they are?".

. People are drawn to decisiveness, but it's more important to have the right decision
. Faith is not believing without truth
. Faith is defined by rigid doctrine which is often erroneous and can divide, love can only unite

. Hell is truth seen too late

Coffin quotes Desmond Tutu : "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."

Willliam Sloane Coffin died last week at the age of 81. Kind of a Radio Resurrection, huh? I urge you to listen.

Photo note: This human stuffed Easter Bunny was ensconced near the frozen foods at the market yesterday. It was not until I was leaving the place in a cloud of dust, with many guests coming for dinner, that I saw a sign that photos were $5, and proceeds would go to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I didn't stop to pay, although I now think that there was an official photographer standing right next to me when I took this picture. Maybe you had to have a kid sit on the bunny's lap to be charged. My thought is to go back and give them the $5, but, pseudogenerous person that I am, I probably won't. And the rest? I've been bunny stalking for a couple of weeks, and as rabbits will, they multiplied.

Posted by Dakota at 07:04 AM

April 14, 2006

Perpetuating Poor Passover Poetry


View larger image

View whole shabang

rather than
passing over

our fluctuating
crowd gathers
today for
the yearly
freedom tale

three days late
but still within
orthodox limits

the count is
barring sickness

this year
numbers padded
by old friends

it's all been said

as the years
pass us by
may we seek
as Coffin says
to die young
as late
as possible

gotta go
chop the liver

Photo note: Honestly, I must learn to wrestle down the Martha Stewart impulse and simplify. I almost missed a post doing repetitious tasks, rather than courting the muse. [that's Martha leaving jail]

Posted by Dakota at 07:37 PM

A Breath of Fresh Air


View larger image

This winter I attended the opening of a wonderful photo exhibit at a downtown gallery for the wife of a friend, who is a professor of photography. I may have even written about it.

One wall of this particular gallery is arranged as an ongoing installation. It is covered by 150 9 x12 clear plastic packets. Artists submit work in that size. If a piece of work is chosen, it's slipped into a packet and displayed on the wall on a rotating basis.. Some of the artists are selected from the wall for larger individual shows in the main gallery.

I thought it was a great idea, and took submission instructions for a dear and close personal relative. It wasn't until weeks later, when said relative showed such kindly appreciation for my thoughful gesture that it became clear to me that this gallery wasn't the path for him, and that maybe it might be one for ME. Although it took a very long time, due to my resistance, I have arranged for some 9x12 photos to be printed.

Actually, I was just sitting here fretting about what in the world I would ever do if I had to make a huge print for an exhibition, when I thought of a great way to exhibit my photography -- on monitors, with a screensaver slide show. Having watched my laptop screensaver show a few times, I think that it has some strange brainwave effect -- perhaps because the viewer generally has to do mental gymnastics to figure out what's going on.

In any case , one's work must be submitted with a resume. Oy. So I sat down this morning to make one for my life as an artist. It's painfully thin. So thin that it is best presented in paragraph form, as follows:

We like to think of Ms. Feinstein as an outsider artist of the techno-housewifery school. Since receiving her BFA in Stage Design sometime in the middle of the last century, Ms. Feinstein has been artistically dormant, with the exception of stapling up curtains in various venues, and making many outstanding Halloween costumes for her expressive children who always had big ideas that needed someone with construction expertise to execute them. She also did her share of gift wrapping and table setting.

Three years ago, she reluctantly took a picture of a sunset with a borrowed digital camera. Since the only technical skill that it required was pushing a button, and it also offered instant feedback, with an erase feature, she took to digital photography like a duck to water. Since then she has amassed a portfolio of such monumental proportions, that she has successfully clogged two hard drives.

She fancies her specialty to be the metaphorophoto and the metaphorophoto, often finding obscure messages from the woowoo in the pictures that pop into her camera, which she schleps everywhere, lest she miss a message.

Ms. Feinstein has had an online presence since 2003.

She will be happy to provide snappy commentary in free verse, upon request, to accompany any of her work.

Photo note: This is one of the picture I'm considering for submission. Maybe they'll just blow me off.

Posted by Dakota at 10:33 AM

April 13, 2006

Beauty is Back


View larger image

it didn't
much time
at all
to turn
my eye
to beauty
once again

even though
this was
taken at
a cemetery

don't you
find that
a shot
an edge
often be
a bore

Posted by Dakota at 06:44 AM

April 11, 2006

Spinning ---- Wild Speculation


View larger image

I am tossing my hard-earned abstinence aside for the moment, although I'm sure I will be soon able to refocus on beauty. Meanwhile I find myself looking directly into the deranged eyes of the psychotic individuals that we call our leaders.

They seem to be gearing up for the use of nuclear weapons in Iran. Watch for the lastest code word "wild speculation" in the news. Scott McClellan used it eight times yesterday in his briefing. You know they're up to no good when they have an oft repeated label for something that is the complete opposite of what it really is. Good enough reason to sip from the bottle of outrage and horror? Probably not, but, of course, a mere sip will not do, and I can't stop now.

Dan Froomkin from the Washington Post, a real reporter, in a sea of sycophants, has the best summary. Unfortunately, he's going on vacation until the April 20th. By then we could all be fried fish. From Froomkin:

"Wolf Blitzer asked [Seymour] Hersh [from the New Yorker] on CNN on Sunday: 'So what's your bottom line? Do you believe, based on the reporting you did for this article, that the president of the United States is now aggressively plotting military action, a preemptive strike against Iran?'"

HERSH: 'The word I hear is messianic. He thinks, as I wrote, that he's the only one now who will have the courage to do it. He's politically free. I don't think he's overwhelmingly concerned about the '06 elections, congressional elections. I think he really thinks he has a chance, and this is going to be his mission.'"

And here's a little something I missed somewhere along the way. Guess who is in charge? Again from Froomkin:

"Lawrence F. Kaplan writes for the New Republic: 'Although a spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) declines to comment on its existence, and the press has yet to carry a single mention of it, last month the administration formed something called the Iran-Syria Operations Group (ISOG) -- a group headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Liz Cheney, the purpose of which is to encourage regime change in Iran. It's no secret that Cheney has over $80 million at her disposal to promote democracy in Iran. But ISOG isn't simply about promoting democracy. It's about helping to craft official policy, doing so not with one but two countries in its sights, and creating a policymaking apparatus that parallels -- and skirts -- Foggy Bottom's suspect Iran desk.'"

How's that for a little Nuclear Nepotism.

Do we really need another war, not to mention another hideous pollutant to add to our environmental chaos? Ask the Messiah.

Alternative possibilities for the future abound.

Photo note: Democracy made trite -- spinning in the wind

Posted by Dakota at 10:29 PM

April 10, 2006

The Neighborhood Improves


Whole Foods
just unfolded
an extravaganza
in my neighborhood
the supermarket
used to be

a Harrod's
Food Hall
tropical marketplace
replete with plastic
banyan tree
and orchids


staff abounded
making secret

on the acres
three along
with raw
meat and fish
and a bakery
filled with
frosted crusted
one can find
a sushi bar
a pizza bar
a salad bar
an Asian bar
an Italian bar
a fried fish bar
a barbeque bar
a coffee bar
a gelato bar
a dessert bar
an olive bar
and everything
on every bar
is a mere
$7.99 a pound

clothing too
baby buntings
shaped like
Earth Shoes
organic creams
beauty potions
for the pure

before I
flagged from
I acquired
on sale
two for $3
a six pack
of store brand
sparkling water
and a big OJ

no Tide
no Cheerios
just like me

Photo note: One of eight hundred fuscia orchids lining the windows of the dining area overlooking the parking lot. 'Twas all I dared shoot, on this, my first excursion -- the place was crawling with personnel

View larger image

Posted by Dakota at 10:42 AM

April 09, 2006

Pausing to Reflect


have a chair
take a seat


on the
behind you

and the
in the path
before you

set in

but oh so

a small
in perspective

a flick
of the wrist

a zoom

you see
it's never
too late

and then

Photo note: This is a new form -- The Mixed Metaphorophoto with matching poem

View larger image

Posted by Dakota at 08:40 AM

April 08, 2006

An Evening Out with Friends and Catholics


View image

I have just spent the last fifteen minutes looking for the euphemism used for masturbation in the Catholic confessional. I think it is concubicity, but google tells me I'm wrong, by telling me nothing. Addendum : The word is concupiscence

I bring this up because I spent the evening with Mary Gordon and James Carroll. Really I spent the evening with one old friend and two new friends. Over dinner before the lecture, we fueled our oxytocin levels by telling tales of childbirth, pets and waitressing . (The best one was showing up for work at a fancy hotel diningroom, high on mesculin [somewhat unintentionally], and finding out that she was the only one on duty, on Halloween, with some of her customers in costume. I don't have time for the best pet and childbirth stories. Suffice it to say that one of us had an unanesthetized C-section when delivering eight pound twins.)

On to masturbation. After dinner we went to an endowed lecture. Every year or so guests are invited to discuss the interface of psychotherapy and spirituality. This year Mary Gordon and James Carroll were to speak on autobiographical writing, psychotherapy, and spirituality. Mary Gordon made an excellent point when she said that she had difficulty, as a writer, giving up crafting a good story in therapy, since real life is messy and often doesn't make much sense, and that's really what one needs to discuss.

Mary talked about the priest-as-prince syndrome among Catholic women -- unapproachable, often handsome, swashbuckling, romantic figures. She particularly remembered a handsome young priest in her parish who performed the lowliest of duties, coaching basketball, sick call. For a year, when she was twelve, Father W. visited her house each Saturday to deliver communion to her dying grandmother. He also saw that she had more responsibilites in the sickroom than a 12 year old should, and tried to intervene on her behalf.

In the meantime, she had spent much of her childhood in a state of terror, due to her proclivity toward concupiscence. After sinning, she would rush to confession, lest she die out of grace. Since her act was so shameful, and so frequent, she rotated confessors, preferring the old deaf head-of-parish. One hot summer's day, Father W. was the only one cooped up that sweltering little black box. Mustering up her courage she confessed concubicity to him. To her astonishment he told her not to worry about it . He instructed her to have more fun, spend more time with her friends.

Her immediate reaction was most uncomfortable, like a blind man, given sight, when first exposed to the light. Less relief than disorienting shock. She said that she briefly entertained the idea of getting her mother to drive her to another parish where her sin could be properly absolved. She was eventually able to feel the relief from constant terror that came with his kindly deed.

James Caroll responded to her Father W. story by saying how much he identified with Father W. In his own days behind the collar, he considered it one of his main missions to give young parishioners permanent absolution from concubicity, although he did not do as well for himself.

Revisiting the fear and shame around sexuality generated by the Catholic Church, the day after The Gospel of Judas was published for the first time, made me wish that the Catholc Church will see that they have it all wrong. Not that they'll respond in any way to new information, since it's working so well for them the way it is.

Mary Gordon made the point that we underestimate the yearning for sacraments in our society. (As a student of hypnosis, I suspect that many of the rituals around the sacraments in the church have a hypnotic effect, and thus the yearning for them is implanted in the unconscious.) Mary Gordon feels this yearning has been usurped and exploited by the neoconservatives for their evil purposes.

Time to create a little neo tantra in the Christian traditon, don't you think?. What What would Mary Magdelene say? Or Judas for that matter?

Anyhow, I had a swell evening.

Photo note: The young urban virgin dress with prominent cross, a stop light, turned away, and a white delivery truck right in the crotch -- plus a few flowers for you know who. What more could a girl ask in a metaphorophoto/metamorphophoto taken on the same day as the lecture? It's not as pretty as it could be though.

Posted by Dakota at 06:00 AM

April 07, 2006

Information and Its Destiny


View image

"The Oxford Cento" a poetic collage by David Lehman in the New York Times Book Review lay open over my keyboard, determined to distract me this morning. Here is the line taken from the "The Preface" to "God's Determinations Touching His Elect" by Edward Taylor (1642-1729) that captured my fancy:

"Who in this Bowling Alley bowld the Sun?" Great question, and so contemporary.

The book section was atop my keyboard , because I was reading a review of "Programming the Universe: A Quantum Comuter Scientist Takes On the Cosmos" by Seth Lloyd. Since I just returned from Gregg Braden's conference on the Divine Matrix, and Gregg was a computer scientist before turning toward a life of the spirit, I thought I might be able to understand some of this. Here's the last paragraph where Corey Powell , the reviewer. describes Lloyd's eulogy of his friend, physicist, Heinz Pagels. Lloyd was mountain climbing with him in 1988, when Pagels slipped and fell to his death.

"The pain is still fresh as Lloyd recounts the episode, and his effort at finding solace in information, not in religion, is touching. 'We have not entirely lost him," he writes. 'While he lived, Heinz programmed his own piece of the universe. The resulting computation unfolds in us and around us.' That elegy reveals a central but previously hidden aspect of Lloyd's theorizing: information as thread that binds past and future so that nothing is ever truly gone -- not a great idea, not a great man , not even love itself."

How's that for the question of an afterlife - quick, everyone, get yourself a blog.

And, if information is the thread that binds, what of its manipulation and suppression? I know, you thought I was going to go on about the Bush administration, (haven't I been fabulous about ignoring them lately?) No. You will be relieved to discover that I have chosen to discuss the Bible instead.

We know that when the early Christian editors looked at that unwieldy ragtag manuscript, they knew that they simply had to eliminate something. Of course they cut the original according to what worked for them at the time, which is why some of us find it a bit patriarchical, although it still works like a charm for others.

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library, preserved by those who thought the edited parts might prove to be important, were unearthed in the twentieth century. It's only now that we get to look at what was left out. From the article quoted below about the release yesterday of the Gospel of Judas (Iscariot fyo):

"The Gospel of Judas is only one of many texts discovered in the last 65 years, including the gospels of Thomas, Mary Magdalene and Philip, believed to be written by Gnostics.
The Gnostics' beliefs were often viewed by bishops and early church leaders as unorthodox, and they were frequently denounced as heretics. The discoveries of Gnostic texts have shaken up Biblical scholarship by revealing the diversity of beliefs and practices among early followers of Jesus.
As the findings have trickled down to churches and universities, they have produced a new generation of Christians who now regard the Bible not as the literal word of God, but as a product of historical and political forces that determined which texts should be included in the canon, and which edited out.
For that reason, the discoveries have proved deeply troubling for many believers. The Gospel of Judas portrays Judas Iscariot not as a betrayer of Jesus, but as his most favored disciple and willing collaborator."

Unscholarly aside: When asked to name his favorite thing at nursery school, a dear and close personal relative said "Flimits" He elaborated with examples -- the pear tree, the big slide, the stove. Flimits, we finallly figured out, included everything that was off limits to him. He had met the challenge of categorizing the diverse. In biblical scholarship, that could be said of Gnosticism as well. It included everything that was off limits, and in religion, if it's off limits, it's usually heresy.

And then there are the specifics of the The Gospel of Judas:

"The most revealing passages in the Judas manuscript begins, 'The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week, three days before he celebrated Passover.'
The account goes on to relate that Jesus refers to the other disciples, telling Judas 'you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.' By that, scholars familiar with Gnostic thinking said, Jesus meant that by helping him get rid of his physical flesh, Judas will act to liberate the true spiritual self or divine being within Jesus.
Unlike the accounts in the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the anonymous author of the Gospel of Judas believed that Judas Iscariot alone among the 12 disciples understood the meaning of Jesus' teachings and acceded to his will. In the diversity of early Christian thought, a group known as Gnostics believed in a secret knowledge of how people could escape the prisons of their material bodies and return to the spiritual realm from which they came.
Elaine Pagels, a professor of religion at Princeton who specializes in studies of the Gnostics, said in a statement, 'These discoveries are exploding the myth of a monolithic religion, and demonstrating how diverse — and fascinating — the early Christian movement really was.'"

Elaine Pagels is Heinz Pagels widow. Make of that what you will.

Photo note: The sacred garbage can, illuminated. Be careful what you toss. Unlike the editors of the Bible, I take that statement much too seriously.

Posted by Dakota at 06:01 AM

April 06, 2006

Yawheh makes a matrix


View larger image

Cynical Self: Lordy Dakota, this matrix thing is getting a l.. i.. T..T.. l.. e boring.

Big Baby: But look, look, they're everywhere, even in nature.

Cynical Self: Uh huh. (Oh God, I fear that we are going to have another DaVinci Code nightmare about Matrices).

Earnest Artist: Really, I have something to say.

Cynical Self: Oh, so you're awake? (Now we're really in for it)

Earnest Artist: I heard a snippet on NPR this morning about the daggeurotype, and, from that, the phrase " the end of chemical photography" emerged. I think those who enjoy ritual -- the slow, aquatic appearance of an image, in a bucket, will still do it. I, personally, could never have been a chemical photographer with my miniscule attention span, my allergies, my butterfingerness and my primitive need for immediate feedback. (A true visionary I know says that she doesn't expect her work to be understood until long after she's dead -- Now that just wouldn't be enough to keep me going. [Have you noticed that I have stopped harping about the lack of comments, and simply continue on my merry way, all by my onesy most of the time? That's an improvement.]

Cynical Self: And your point , madam?

Plugged in Earnest Artist: Here's the matrix part. Digital photography has enabled someone like me, undisciplined, faithless, possessing only the crudest of technical skills, to surf the matrix on occasion. If access to the matrix is provided through "prayer", and "prayer" is defined as the intentional expression of gratitiude and appreciation, while holding a pleasant feeling in your body, I have learned to pray behind my lens. It's fun, actually.

Cynical Self : Er...r.. okey dokey, our time is up (phew) - on behalf of all of us here at Dakota, thank you for joining us.


View larger image

Photo notes: Rawbones matrices, out in nature, before the spring burgeoning obscures

Addendum: The answer to my clickie prayers

Posted by Dakota at 06:15 AM

April 05, 2006

Abandoning Coherence Entirely


View larger image

Stuff has been accumulating in the What-Dakota-Readers-Just-Have-To-Know Box, so coherence isn't the operating principle today. You will forgive us for departing from our usual logical flow.

First (from Wired Magazine, of course) is a self administered autism test. You may use this on yourself, or more pertinently, on someone with whom you are in relationship, particularly if it isn't going very well. If they score under 25 try this one.

And, in the interest of developing compassion for ourselves and others, read Michael Wolf's article in Vanity Fair about the struggles of our press secretary Scott McClellan, and his willingness to go on in spite of adversity. Our hearts went out to the poor guy. Seriously

Photo note: Truly, though attractive, this photograph has absolutely nothing to do with anything mentioned so far this morning. Oh well. Some of us here at Dakota are experiencing difficulty getting back in the swing.

Posted by Dakota at 06:19 AM

April 03, 2006

The Divine Matrix Shows Itself


View larger image and find the moth

I was
a moth
on my
storm door
I noticed
that I
a little more
than I


View larger image

in fact
of the
popped into
my camera
in the past
few days
that way


View larger image

I must
are some
that I
to scoop
into my
butterfly net
once I
that I
on a roll


View larger image

but others
and thus
a very
long poem
is required
to separate
the shots
so that you
can view


View larger image

all the
in a single
your cookies
all over

Photo note: As above, so below

Posted by Dakota at 08:34 PM

April 01, 2006

The Divine Matrix


View image

Apologies for my absence - I can't seem to get back in the swing.

On Friday my nutritionist opened my crown chakra, just in time of r the conference this weekend. Did I say that she was movng to the preferred vortex of Savannah (Georgia) in the next couple of weeks, and will only visit bimonthly from now on? She won't be that far away, due to the Divine Matrix. However, I must admit that I wish I had given her a DNA scraping from the inside of my cheek to take with her in a jar, just in case.

As you will see, I have now been officially convinced that we are all connected by a subtle energy field, which Gregg Braden calls the Divine Matrix. In the face of that realization, I have vowed once again to clean up my act. No more vicious ranting about the trashing of the earth and democracy by the neoconservatives. I am pitching my red spike heels and replacing them with something more down to earth. It is up to me (and you, should you care to accept the assignment) to do our best to infuse the matrix with transformative thought, rather feeling, in order to create a reality that is more to my/our ( I do hope I'm not making assumptions) liking -- to behave as if the world, as we would like it to be, already exists -- to avoid hate and aggression, rat-in-the-corner behaviors, that have lead to the current state of affairs This is certainly not as bad as it seems, if we consider our quantum options, though we are in somewhat of a hurry to implement those options before we eradicate ourselves.

At the conference Gregg Braden, in a very attractive visual presentation (someone called him the Prince of PowerPoint, and rightly so), explained a few quantum concepts to those of us who had taken physics in the prequantum age, and don't subscribe to Scientific American because of our resistance to learning anything new that has to do with numbers. He held our hands thru the explanation of quantum entanglement, Poponin's DNA Phantom effect and E.W. Silvertooth's work on the detection of ether. We were lead to the conclusion that there is, in fact, a subtle energy network that holds all there is, and introduced us to the holographic nature of DNA , as well as the theories of Princeton physicist David Wheeler on the creation of reality from inside the participant observer (that would be you and me)..

G.B. showed us his provocative powerpoint for another entire day. This stuff had to do with gematria, and the encoding, in our DNA, gematrically speaking, of the Hebrew name of God (Yawheh). It was a stretch for me. I didn't exactly understand it conceptually, and, wha tI did understand, seemed a bit too loosely connected. Then he taught us how to "pray", read get our data into the matrix. He recommended projecting a thought of gratitude and appreciation from a place of good feeling (conjure the body feeling of snuggling a puppy).

You are free to read Braden's book when it comes out in 2007. Have you noticed thateveryone us talking Yahweh these days?

And singing Yahweh too. On Sunday morning, Jonathan Goldman, sound healer, taught toning to the group. One chant in particular, the all-vowel equivalent of the divine name, Yawheh, was quite dizzying and is available on CD. I purchased a copy for some heavy spiritual singalong. I am even considering becoming a member of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, even though I can't handle my email as it is.

Photo note: Well, at least I know why I'm taking all these griddy photographs.

Addendum: oh dear

Posted by Dakota at 06:47 AM