Friday, April 30, 2004
Two Eggs and That Homeless Dude
It’s late in the week, and I know I thought of several things along the days to write about, but damn if I remember one of them just now. All I really want to write about is two eggs and that homeless dude. Do they relate to each other? I don’t know, but we’re about to find out. (I’ll blame all of this on a book I’m reading: “Quantum Psychology” by the mental wizard Robert Anton Wilson.)
First of all, I realized from the two mourning doves that kept showing up on my drive, and from a couple times when one flew right past my head, that there was a nest about. I didn’t see it because it was so obvious, right there below eye level on top of the weathered wooden gate between the driveway and the backyard; I had been looking higher. I finally noticed the camouflaged nest—motherless, with two perfectly oval pearls inside of it—when I was swinging the gate open or shut. Later, I had to go by the gate to get into the garage and the mother didn’t move even when I was a foot away. I didn’t know if she was trying to be still and hide or was just stubbornly guarding her eggs. But we ended up looking each other in the eye: woman to bird, and bird to woman.
Later that same day, I was walking Uptown, on Hennepin again, and I saw the same guy I’d written about here before. (See April 2 letter.) Two things immediately struck me: he was much shorter than I’d thought, and his hair was wildly unkempt, marking him immediately as homeless to any casual glancer-by. The first time I’d seen him, I was in a hurry and he’d suddenly appeared out of nowhere, startling my world, so that I swiftly switched gears, to see him from the inside-out: alien presence among the hip and the shoppers and the three-dollar-coffee drinkers; someone with a differently shaped consciousness, who could casually pick up a broken chip on the sidewalk. So he had appeared large to me, and I hadn’t consciously minded any physical details about him. This time, I didn’t want to be noticed. I avoided his eyes, but I carefully watched his reflection in the window to my left, from the outside-in.
Which was the real him?
Did you pause or pass over the following phrases: “along the days,” “glancer-by,” and “consciously minded”?
Do the eggs and the homeless dude relate to each other, or not?
(I refuse to have a definitive conclusion because there really IS NOT any such thing.)
A Post-Posted-Letter Note: Well, I finished that "Quantum Psychology" book and I love how Wilson thinks outside the boxes, but I disagree with him on a number of things . . . as I hope you readers disagree with some of my comments here, and even with the formulation of the questions themselves. Let's all try to . . .
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Free Cheese in a Mousetrap
I have a new, bright yellow post-it on my computer. I was descended upon yesterday by several ex-students, one of whom got rid of some nasty ad ware on my computer and then helped himself to my post-its and the few bare surfaces at my desk. It says, “There is always free cheese in a mousetrap.” A good thing to remember. I’m leaving it up.
Tax cuts: a good thing, right? Go for it, vote for those politicians screaming that they'll give you money back for your vote. You get maybe an extra hundred dollars per year: free cheese. Of course, millionaires get an extra hundred thousand or more, your local taxes go up because the schools are hurting, cops and firepeople are being cut, the roads are full of potholes, there are more hungry children, more people with no health care, social security is cut, veterans' money is cut, crime goes up because people just aren’t making it, your job gets shipped overseas for cheaper labor so you can buy more with that hundred bucks. . . And to top it all off, the national deficit mysteriously goes sky-high so that you and your children and maybe even your grandchildren become indentured servants to the costly war machines.
But hey, you got your hundred bucks. Enjoy. And whatever you do, don’t confuse that cheese with a sharp snapping sound or that blood across your back. It’s just a coincidence. They have nothing to do with each other.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
And You Said Too Much Government is Bad?
Doesn’t that depend on what aspects of government we’re talking about? Here’s one area I’d like to see government health agencies get a little more busy in. (Maybe it’s too much corporate power that’s really bad?)
Anyway, I have a friend whose son was recently diagnosed with Aspergers, a mild form of autism. And no, autism doesn’t mean stupid; this guy has an IQ over 160. But when you meet people with Aspergers, you know something is “off” pretty quickly; it shows up in socializing and communication skills. I know someone else whose two-year-old grandson was recently diagnosed as autistic, too. Then I found out something astonishing: we have an actual “epidemic” of autism going on. Various studies show a 273% increase in autism between ‘87 and ‘98; incidence climbing 10-17% a year; autism ten times more prevalent now than in the ‘80s.
Before the 1940s, autism was unheard of, no case studies ever seen that described the symptoms. There was a large increase in the ‘80s, at the same time that MPR vaccinations were given more widely, and there are other disturbing correlations between childhood vaccinations and autism. (I also was told once by a pathologist that they often put down “infant death syndrome” when they know it was the vaccine causing an infant death.) So parents and potential parents, PLEASE DO NOT GIVE YOUR CHILD VACCINATIONS WITHOUT EDUCATING YOURSELF AND KNOWING THE FACTS AND THE CHOICES.
Here are a few resources about childhood vaccinations:
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations, by Stephanie Cave
A Shot in the Dark, by Harris L. Coulter, Barbara Loe Fisher
Some of the increase in autism may be explained by better diagnosis, but not all. Nobody knows why this is happening yet, but it doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to figure out that it’s got to be something different in the environment. I also recently learned about the effects of aspartame, that low-calorie sweetener in diet sodas and other things, and I started wondering about a correlation between that and the rise in autism.
I remember that when “Nutrasweet’ first came out in the 80s, I couldn’t drink the stuff without getting headaches and feeling weird, and I never got headaches otherwise. Good thing I was paying attention to that because it turns out that aspartame can cause much worse than headaches. (Hey FDA, are you any more than a monkey for the drug and diet corporations?) Aspartame may be especially dangerous for pregnant women and children. So, what if autism is a result of genetic weaknesses, vaccinations, and aspartame, or some combinations thereof? It’s just that the timing all fits. Anyway, I for one would like to see some kind of blind study done on that, even if it upsets the poor corporations’ profits.
Below are some facts from a doctor who nearly died of aspartame poisoning. Her website is: www.sweetpoison.com. Check it out, especially if you drink lots of diet soda. (An interesting aside: one guy researching diet soda told me that he discovered that both Coke and Pepsi pay fines every year for lying about the number of calories in their diet sodas; the fine is nothing to compared to their profits.)
And if you know someone with autism, I’d also like to tell you that I just met a nice young man the other day who was born in the late ‘70s with autism. His mother was told that he’d never be able to speak or function, and that she should put him in an institution. She didn’t, and now he talks with strangers, looking people in the eye, and works a fulltime, normal job.
The components of aspartame can lead to a number of health problems. Side effects can occur gradually, can be immediate, or can be acute reactions. According to Lendon Smith, M.D. there is an enormous population suffering from side effects associated with aspartame, yet have no idea why drugs, supplements and herbs don’t relieve their symptoms. Then, there are users who don’t ‘appear’ to suffer immediate reactions at all. Even these individuals are susceptible to the long-term damage caused by excitatory amino acids, phenylalanine, methanol, and DKP.
Adverse reactions and side effects of aspartame include:
irreversible brain damage
birth defects, including mental retardation
aspartame addiction and increased craving for sweets
hyperactivity in children
Aspartame may trigger, mimic, or cause the following illnesses:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Mercury sensitivity from Amalgam fillings
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Question your doctors and other authority figures. "Experts" often know a lot about individual trees, but may forget to see the forests. What is indisputable "fact" in one century often turns into rubbish in the next. So remember to . . .
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Rioting, Wars, and Pamprin
I know something’s wrong with me when I have to rev myself up to talk politics! Well, there was just a full moon and I’m still recovering. I’ll get back to myself one of these days. (I was a poet before I ever got political or became a publisher.)
So much has been going on in the world that it’s hard to know what to pick . . . Well, how about them ungrateful Iraqis? We spend billions of dollars and our soldiers suffer and die over there to get them their freedom, and how do they respond? Rioting and terrorist acts. So we close down a dangerous popular newspaper over there. It’s for their own good, don’t they realize that? The paper said things that were against freedom.
Plus, we’re giving them their country back in June. Why are they so impatient? Bush just announced today that all that’s left practically is him deciding who to give the power to. But it will surely be an Iraqi, not a U.S. man. So what’s their problem?
Actually, one thing I noticed from the brief TV coverage I watch is that all the rioters are men. What’s with that? Are they afraid we’d put in a woman? They should know better. I mean, Bush hasn’t announced it yet, but we all automatically know it’s going to be an Iraqi man. Even with all this silly political correctness stuff, we’ve never been stupid enough to put a woman in the executive office in this country. We sure wouldn’t be dumb enough to do it in an Islamic one. Some things are just universally understood. Where would we all be if there were some good wars to wage and women leaders were busy running to their medicine cabinets for Pamprin?
Jeez . . . some people!
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Today I was walking down Hennepin in Uptown, hurrying toward a coffee shop as the busy street tried to mill people, traffic and sun into something substantial. Then he was walking toward me, maybe six foot five, around forty, immediately identifiable as homeless, though I couldn’t say why. His hair, perhaps it was his unkempt hair. Or his eyes, something about his eyes. Pay attention to this because it’s something new.
I looked into his eyes and he looked into mine. He flung pride toward me, automatically, because of the simple human gesture of looking. He saw only eyes looking and defiantly threw out pride, maybe not even seeing me. It was the pride of an animal that knows its own strength, that pulls on the sinews of laws we haven’t discovered yet. Then he suddenly swooped down halfway to the sidewalk, stretching out his arm to grasp a broken chip. A broken potato chip that he swept in one long graceful arch into his mouth. He looked at me again and passed. Not throwing out pride again. Simply not caring, moving on, not seeing me. Or maybe seeing me.