Saturday, February 01, 2003


Astronauts Die As Shuttle Breaks Apart

I didn't know until Kim mentioned it in e-mail this afternoon. Ah, no. Ah, no.

I haven't turned on the TV in about 2 weeks -- work's been busy -- and I'm not going to today. But I also need to see this, to see proof that this really happened. That, for Columbia, somewhere between points A and B, a disaster occurred. Disaster -- an ill-omened star, indeed.

I remember when Challenger exploded in 1986. I sat in the teacher's lounge with all the teachers who could get away from their classes, and the other students like myself, sent by those who couldn't. And together we watched the footage, great white plumes of smoke arcing like the fronds of some terrible plant, drooping downwards from where, moments before, living humans had been.

Like so many of us watched, together in 2001, when human lives were ended abruptly by jet fuel, concrete and the impacts flesh does not survive. I didn't believe it when I heard it on the radio. I didn't believe it until I saw the WTC, a plane, and fire, and a little later, when a tiny black dot fell from a great height, I said to myself, "I just watched a human being die. I just watched a life go out. I just watched the only gift we ever get, taken away."

That essence of potential in all of us, that possiblity one person represents, is precious, not like a diamond, but fragile and unique and irreplaceable. Like a snowflake.

Human lives are ended abruptly every day, some with a bang, some with a whimper, some even with a sigh of relief. But it's always a tragedy.

Friday, January 31, 2003

California Corrections Budget

In other news, I woke up to NPR the other day and a discussion of how the California state budget is getting slashed everywhere, with the notable exception of corrections. That's the cute euphemism for "dealing with crime".

Wanna save some money? Slash it, too. But, how, Sidra, you wail, how! Without putting Evil Pedophile Rapists™ on the streets!?


1. Legalize marijuana. Instead of throwing money at stopping an industry, shift to making money off of it. What lessons have we failed to learn from Prohibition? Tax the booze, baby, and tax the weed while you're at it.
2. Get rid of that whole '3 strikes' thing. Y'know, that law that throws you in jail if you get busted for, say, smoking pot a little too often? Or stealing videotapes?

And what we save from the corrections can go straight where it belongs: the schools.

Looks like a win-win to me.
Kromski Minstral

My Minstral spinning wheel (Kromski of Poland) has arrived. It's a kit. I'm so busy with work right now, and so tired, that it's just sitting in its box here in my cubicle. Don't even have the time to take all the parts out and inventory them. Which, not to put too fine a point on it, SUCKS.

Thursday, January 30, 2003


I have a more-than-passing fondness for the history of textiles, and Asian cultures, so finding this display at the San Diego Museum of Art was a definite treat.

Check it out: :Chinese Robes of China's Last Dynasty. Qing Dynasty robes -- absolutely beautiful.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

May I Have Your Attention, Please

And this does mean you, George.

"The presumption of dictating to an independent nation the form of its government is so arrogant, so atrocious, that indignation as well as moral sentiment enlists all our partialities and prayers in favor of one and our equal execrations against the other. I do not know, indeed, whether all nations do not owe to one another a bold and open declaration of their sympathies with the one party and their detestation of the conduct of the other. But farther than this we are not bound to go; and, indeed, for the sake of the world, we ought not to increase the jealousies or draw on ourselves the power of [a] formidable confederacy."

--Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1823.

This concludes today's Public Service Announcement. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Here, Bunny Bunny

I think rabbits are great. We had one for a while when I was in college, and a white lab rat. I got cats after moving into my own pad, so....*ahem*...were I to bring home an animal of the lepus or rattus persuasion, I'm afraid the cats would be -- well, quite pleased, I'm sure they'd want me to bring home dinner on the paw every night if I did that.

So, rabbits and certain other animals are not the pet for me, alas.

But, in the interests of furthering YOUR education (I'm such a giver), I present, to you, "How To Say 'Rabbit'". A collection of, you guessed it, the word for "rabbit" in various tongues. Fascinating.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Won't You Just Be Out For Blood?

Jane Elliot says in a PBS interview, among other things, that the fear of being oppressed helps drive the continuation of oppression.
"Every time I do the eye-color exercise, that very fear is expressed. Some white person will say to the person of color sitting beside him or her, "If people of color get on top, aren't they going to want to treat us the way we've treated them?" And every time it's over, some male turns to the female beside him and says, "If you women get power, aren't you going to want to do to us what we've done to you?" Isn't that interesting? We know what we're doing and we fear the consequences."

Speaking for me, no, I don't want my freedoms and to be treated like a first class citizen so that I can oppress you. I want them so that I can be free.
Sigh, sigh, sigh

Of all houseguests, death comes to you with the hardest of gifts to accept.