Saturday, November 17, 2007

Graphic G.O.P.

This poster speaks for itself. It and two others were designed by Rich Silverstein, and are available at the Huffington Post. You can go there and print them out. I intend to plaster them on telephone poles and wherever else seems apropos.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The quadrant of dread

I did an uncharacteristic, impetuous thing last night. I attended a new-agey workshop here in Carbondale on the topic of Abundance.

It wasn’t that I’ve been experiencing a lack of abundance in my own life. I’ve been completely amazed by our good fortune over the last couple of years. It was more a nagging feeling that it might be illusory, that it could disappear at any moment if I didn’t guard it more carefully.

At the workshop, the presenter created a two-dimensional map that charted time, from past to future on one axis, and power on the other. The power of course, ranged from positive to negative.

This created four quadrants. In the upper left, towards the past and positive in its power, was nostalgia. One needs to be careful not to get mired in nostalgia for the past, but the quadrant can be a source of positive direction. In the lower right-hand corner, towards the future, and negative in the effects of its power, is the quadrant of dread.

I loved the image. I know I spend a lot of time living here in the quadrant of dread. “What if I lose my job?” “What if George Bush declares a dictatorship?” “What if the real estate market continues in free fall?”

The upshot is if you dwell in the quadrant of dread, you’ll probably start making plans for all the what-if scenarios, and turn them into self-fulfilling prophecies. I learned that one should adopt a new language, a way of rephrasing: “I am not my job. My job is me.”

It’s subtle and it’s new-agey, but by golly, it’s my new mantra.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Scrap metal and college kids

The people who owned our house before us were packrats of the worst kind. They left so much junk in the garage it took me two pickup truck-loads to the dump just to make space to park cars. And left behind were boxes of weird metal parts to things, old radiators, transmission housings from a tractor, copper pipes from failed or completed plumbing projects, and an assortment of pumps and other non-functioning gadgets. Why does someone choose to fill up their space with junk?

I had always meant to load up the truck and head to a salvage dealer with this crap, but doing so just wasn’t high on my list of priorities.

My college-age son needed some money and suddenly I remembered the junk in the garage. I told him if he took it to the scrap dealer he could keep whatever they paid for it. To my amazement, he showed up today with a buddy in tow and they had the metal loaded up in less than an hour. He called later, proud as he could be that they made $70. He said the scrap dealer—somewhere in the remote Southernmost Illinois back country—was one of the oddest places he’d ever been in his life. I could only imagine, and was so glad I didn’t spend an afternoon going there myself. He and his friend were of course on their way to the supermarket, to spend the $70 on stocking the pantry.

And I’m proud too. Proud of the newly-cleaned garage, proud that all that junk will be melted down and made into something new, and proud that my son learned a valuable lesson about how to find abundance in the most unlikely places.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bush’s ride

I came across this snarky comment from Garrison Keillor in reference to our leader:

“He is heading for the short bus of history where Earl Butz and Spiro Agnew ride.”

I think he is driving that bus.