"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day


Missing Al Gore...

Last week, I went to see An Inconvenient Truth (or the Al Gore movie as I've been known to call it), because one of my Austin friends saw and said that he thought about me the whole way through watching it. It was so scary. Really the information presented was nothing new to me...melting icecaps, crazy angry weather systems, catastrophic climate shift, blah, blah, blah. But seeing it in this format, complete with graphs and charts and projected illustrations, made the reality so much more real to me. I went home that night and turned down my A/C, made sure only the necessary lights and appliances were on, turned off the water while I brushed my teeth, recycled some stuff, began looking into joining a food coop.

I was at dinner with friends last night, two of whom had seen the movie, and they had the same reaction as me. We discussed for quite a while if this would make a difference in the way the world is moving or if it's just speaking to those of us who were already inclined to believe it. Can the left leaning segments of the United States who have readily accessible art theatres, or later readily accessible Netflix, do enough to change the course of the world climate?

With the insanity of current weather patterns--floods on one coast, fires on another--it seems, in my all too logical mind, that people might stop and take notice. Park their SUVs on the side of whatever super-highway they're speeding down and walk to the next bicycle shop. But then I was shaken from my dream by some disturbing forwards I received this week. I really should stop reading them. They have about the same affect on me as does the television news. The first one stated somewhere in its rambling "If you can read this, thank a teacher." I'm okay with this. "If you're reading this in English, thank a soldier." I was enraged. I do support the troops and appreciate the sacrifices they have made for what they believe to be the country's best interest, but this is (a) just ridiculous. The reason we speak English in the United States is because some British people came and settled land that didn't belong to them 400 years ago, bringing with them pox blankets (as per Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States). And (b) that statement is just a little bit on the bigoted side, don't you think. The second e-mail basically said that in 1986 Oliver North tried to warn Al Gore about terrorists and Al just laughed at him because he couldn't pronounce the supposed terrorists' names. Now my conservative cousins are going to read this (in English, of course) as it's passed around the family and say, "Well, look here. That Al Gore is responsible for 9/11 and he's just trying to cover it up with this Global Warming hullabaloo." Woe is me.


Making Declarations.

I had to stop watching the news a long time ago. It just makes me sad, angry, distraught, disturbed, etc. Really anything in an array of negative emotions. I yell at the TV, swearing at it, shaking my fist. I'm still relatively informed as I read the New York Times on-line almost daily and I allow myself the occasional Daily Show. I, however, do watch morning shows. As I eat breakfast each morning I watch the Channel 7 news, and am given the daily headline stories by Diana Sawyer as she gives us the Good Morning America teasers. This is generally enough to evoke all of the above mentioned emotions in me. Karl Rove is cleared....Booooo. Donald Rumsfeld is still a pompous, ignorant a-hole (and apparently a ninja). GW is taking surprise trips to Iraq. "Look, here I am. It's so safe. Oh and...Freedom, Liberty, Nuclear, Terrorist...Strategery." And today, the House voted in a bill against the withdrawal troops from Iraq within a six month period.

When the bill is titled "Declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary," how can you expect that people will vote against it? If a person were to vote against it, look what they're saying. "I don't want the United States to prevail." "How important really is a Global War on Terror?" "We're too free as it is." And while I may have at one time or another uttered one or more of these statements, it's not really something an elected official would want the public to hear them say. But let's say, we rename the bill for what it really is. How about "We've already lost 2500 soldiers and countless civilians have died because of our War. Maybe that's enough." Or "Declaring that the United States could use the money better elsewhere, say to fight the Global War on Poverty, Disease, and Hatred, rather than contributing millions of dollars a month to these atrocities." Maybe then something could be done.



Today, 25 years ago, the United States government first recognized the disease that would be known as AIDS. It would be 5 more years and hundreds of lives before anyone in the United States government would take any action to slow this epidemic. The president stated that there was no need to panic because this disease was only affecting gay men and IV drug users, and there was no need for the rest of us to worry. GMHC had begun taking care of people living with AIDS, which now included people both heterosexual and homosexual, people with hemophilia and many children. And until the mid-1990s, most of these people died. Precious, precious time was lost because this disease at first affected only people who didn't matter.

I sat in my office this morning and read an article in the New York Times (and this editorial, and this one too) marking this anniversary. And I spent the entire time trying so hard not to cry. When I graduated from college, I was bored. I am someone who needs to be busy all the time. Being still does not come easy for me. So I started reading. I read a book called Sometimes My Heart Grows Numb about people who were caregivers for people with HIV in the early parts of the epidemic and it spoke to me. I felt that I had to do something. So I started volunteering with AIDS Services of Austin, as the intake person for their dental clinic. And it wholy changed my life. The first day I worked there I did intake for a young man who I had gone to school with. It was terrifying. To know the tole the AIDS epidemic took on the generation before, and imagine such a thing happening to my generation is...well, unimaginable. I look at my friends and cannot even conceive such a thing. Losing so many in such a horrible way. Being afraid of who will be next. Living in a state of constant terror and sorrow. Just unthinkable.


On Pins and Needles....

I have officially been headache free for over 24 hours! "What/who is responsible for this miracle?" you ask. Oh, it is the greatest thing of all things. It is acupuncture.

Having gone and spent a good deal of money on my ENT (who is wonderful and looks like a Knight Rider era David Hasselhoff), and being told that it was not my sinuses, yet again, (though I know it is), I decided to leave behind Western Medicine. My friend gave me the name of an acupuncturist and the woman was very kind and sympathic, which is really all I was looking for (after Dr. Hasselhoff kinda laughed in my face...still wonderful though). I went last Friday and was stuck with about 20 pins from head to toe, a very strange experience all together. Her full assessment: my headache is due to stagnation of my qi and perfectly follows the lines of the gallbladder channel (but having nothing to do with the actual gallbladder). It sounds a little mumbo-jumbo-y, but let me just say, it works. Friday's treatment didn't last so long and I had a bad headache weekend, but I went again on Wednesday morning and am freed. And as a side-effect of the treatment, I got to be high pretty much all day yesterday. It was great fun, if not a little distracting.