Archive | March, 2011

The troubled march skies are finally here: Part 3 (& final)

31 Mar

[The final installment of my cultural diary.]

March 12, 2011

Morning:

Woke up to sun. And a fly. I’m convinced a miracle took place in my room over winter. Here’s the story. I noticed in November a fly hanging on the window screen. It was inside the house, but cased between glass and mesh. It hung there, not moving all winter. I was more than convinced the fly was dead. Here’s the miracle: this morning while I opened the window again (see cleansing above), I saw the fly was gone. That would’ve been miracle enough, a fly just disappearing like that. Then I realized well, if dead it could’ve decomposed, fly probably turned into dust. I mean, it is that season of lent and the disappearing of bodies in caves. However, a more miraculous thing happened: the fly was alive and buzzing around my window, trying to get out! I wanted to know what role I played in this miracle. Do I have an aura of heeling powers? Of course, I’m presumptive enough, as human, to believe the fly’s miracle had something to do with me. Finally, believing that there is hope for miracles in this world – and not religious miracles, but life miracles – I ran out to my roommate to tell the redeeming story. He relayed to me that flies hibernate over winter. More than that, their eggs can only hatch in temperatures between 75 and 95.  Wait? So a fly exposed to the entire winter conditions (cold, snow, wind) didn’t die but was only hibernating? That seemed too easy, but if science has taught me anything it’s that it knows best (even when it doesn’t) – even over human intuition.

Regardless of how it happened, even from hibernation, it is a kind of miracle isn’t it?

The fly is still in my window – desperately buzzing to get out. I’m worried that if he gets out he’ll die out there. That’s a funny thought, isn’t it?  My mind has gone into overdrive because I now believe that if the fly doesn’t get out and eat something within two or three hours it’ll starve to death. But I’m not sure I’m strong enough to assist him into a cup and out my door. Maybe even flies don’t deserve to live in such a cruel time. And it still just might die out there, and that seems wrong to a fly that has magical powers.

I am happy to repeat anything in these days that has come off as confusing. Though I don’t promise that the additional telling will be any more clarifying.

After the earthquake I’m reading reports about Japan’s nuclear reactors going out. Or rising. Or doing things they shouldn’t be doing. At one place there was an explosion. Why do the Japanese have such trouble with nuclear problems? It is, after all, the only country to have nuclear weapons used on it. Now this? Could it be all this industrialization isn’t actually beneficial in the long run? We’ve lost our roots and our technology will kill us all? As far as I know, humans can’t hibernate. Well, not counting people like Walt Disney.

I can’t help but watch clips of the tsunami reaching land. But first I have to wait out the ads. Even in the face of destruction we have ads.

Afternoon:

I’m returning the calendar to the local national book chain and see a book titled: The Rational Optimist. I can’t buy it because it’s too positive a view under these troubled skies.

Evening:

Nothing.

March 13, 2011

The Day:

“By preventing people from entering the capitol building Thursday morning, the police also denied entry to legislators, including at least two Democratic Assembly members — David Cullen and Elizabeth Coggs.

Mr. Cullen was turned away even after displaying his Assembly identification.

Asked why the officers did not allow him inside, Mr. Cullen said: ‘I don’t know. And they won’t answer why.’ Later, Mr. Cullen and Ms. Coggs could be seen climbing into the building through a first-floor window.”

Is this American Democracy? Is this what we’ve come to?

Someone told me this is all the start of a new civil war in America.

But someone said using the word ‘war’ was hypocritical.

Yet we’re fighting wars because we like wars. Everyone in power likes a good old war. And who’s gonna win against the middle class? And what happened to the Japanese? Are why are there suddenly so many flies in my window? It’s not that warm yet.

The march skies are too much. I have to hold out for April.

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The troubled march skies are finally here: Part 2

30 Mar

[My cultural diary continues.]

March 11, 2011

Morning:

My roommate woke me up to say that Japan had an earthquake. I was in the kitchen finding orange juice in an early morning daze, wondering who I was and why I was awake, when he spoke words of truth that woke me up. I watched from my bedroom desk the destruction against a civilization. Through the magic of wireless I watched Hawaii morning news. Watched waves flap against the shores of the islands, thinking even their destruction is beautiful.

The sun tried peeking through the blinds, and I found comfort in that before heading out into the windy air and letting the sky bland my thoughts in my gray car ride to the bus. I drive further out of my way to catch a bus for school. On the bus hangs a sign, “Thank you for decreasing congestion and improving our air quality.” Every time I read that I think about how I drive further out of my way to catch a bus.

Afternoon:

A friend is coming into town tonight – needs to take a test for a state he no longer wants to teach in. It’s called the Praxis, which is funny to me because doesn’t that mean practice? And isn’t that what life is all about but not standardized exams? He no longer wants to teach in Idaho because it, I’m told, now has woes. That’s at least what the email said: Idaho has woes. Doesn’t the sky too?

Because of his impending arrival I have this extreme compulsion to clean my room and bathroom. I don’t care about the kitchen, living room, just my bedroom and bathroom.

My second trip to Rockin’ Rudy’s allowed me purchase of the new Adele CD. I regretted buying it because I had already downloaded most of my favorite songs, but I figured I drove there twice for it, and it’d be weird to drive a third time. So I bought it. I do things like that.

I’m listening to Lovesong by Adele on repeat, half-way done cleaning my room (still need to vacuum and change my bed sheets; I always occasionally change the sheets), when I’m brought to the skies and to the nights when I once watched this show that was borrowed to me called Queer As Folk, and on one episode there was this one kid who was dating this one violinist. At the end a song called Lovesong by The Cure came on, and the way the two boys lied, holding one another, love, the violinist, they weren’t going to survive, you could tell by their words, by their eyes… but it ultimately doesn’t matter because it’s a scripted TV show and ultimately it doesn’t help me clean my room.

But Adele does.

I stared at a peppershaker top for quite some time this afternoon while talking to my roommate. It was all residue, left over pepper dust, not quite destined for the plate, nor was it welcome back in the shaker. It sat exposed to the air, and I couldn’t believe it was the same as the pepper in the shaker itself. I couldn’t quite believe it. It just didn’t seem like pepper anymore. I wouldn’t want it touching my food.

Speaking of which, I went to the store last night to buy pork to cook for dinner. By the time I got home, late, I no longer wanted to cook. So I heated a TV dinner package which proclaimed Shrimp Pad Thai. While eating it, I couldn’t tell if the shrimp were breaded or just skeletons of shrimp. I regretted the meal, especially since I just finished a book by a man named Michael Pollan, who, in his book, told me to eat real food. I’m sorry Michael, I wasn’t in the mood to cook at 8:30 at night by myself. I never am. So the TV dinner made due. Luckily, on my way home from the grocery store I stopped at the liquor store and bought a new bottle of rum. That made the brown shrimp sing.

Who could buy the wrong calendar? It’s March, and I needed a calendar. So off I went some days ago to the local national bookstore chain. The store, losing books, adding games, losing minds, adding kinesthetic lives, had two calendars: one of Italy, one of Ireland. I looked at the pictures. Having been to both countries once, at separate times, I realized I loved Ireland more than Italy. Even though I want to learn more Italian and move to Italy. I wanted to see pictures of Ireland for the next year, I wanted to believe there’s a place untouched by human destruction. Yet, the calendar doesn’t work. It skips March, April, May, June and starts on July of 2011. I would like to skip those months too, if it were convenient, but it’s not because I’m in school and I need to ride a bus to appreciate irony. So I need a calendar that’s strong enough to start three months late but go with me month-by-month until I kiss 2011 goodbye, which would be the way I brought it in, a simple smile and wave. Hello, year. Goodbye, year. That’s all one can say in those situations.

I have mouths to feed. A baby after all has never been dropped off at my door. But with these skies the way they’ve been this month, this year, this time when we’re scattered from each other, when there’s this cultural war happening, when the haves scream at the have nots and the choosers stare at the deciders and I’m predicting a stork to come by and say, ‘I can’t go on. Please, take this child, it’s not yours, but I need need to rest.’ And all I can do is say, ‘But I’m not trained to love.’

There was a show on TV. An old man kept a diary for twenty-five years where he wrote hourly the news headlines across the country. I thought of how I can barely hold onto my thoughts, they pass wildly through the mind. I thought of how I once tried to write a diary, it came out as nothing but whines. Oh woe is me Oh woe is the world Oh woe are the living who watch the dying. And I wasn’t even in love.

Evening:

Who are you? I ask, standing at the door. Something new is fighting us from ourselves. Someone here is going there!

Today I opened my window for the first time since winter started some months ago. I braved months of frosty winds and cold nipping temperatures while always dreaming of that one day in the spring when I can open it and let the warm, clean, fresh air come in and soak up the moisture problem. Today I cheated, I so longed to open my window and let the air in and cleanse my soul that I opened the window and let the dirty, brown, stale march air nip at my semi-clean clothes on the floor. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel cleansing anyway.

The way I clean my bathroom: spray 409 or some bleach around, let sit for a while. Throw some water on it and go to the toilet.

The troubled march skies are finally here: Part 1

26 Mar

Missoula, Mont – March 8, 2011

Evening:

I watched the WI protests live tonight on my computer. And while watching them I finally feel, after 25 years, that I’m watching Democracy in its true form. I was unaware that American’s still knew how to practice Democracy, or were still empathetic to its principles.

After three hours I realized I was watching the same interviews over and over, this upset the viewer. The protests couldn’t have been live. So when were they taped? And why was I not watching live WI protests? Did everyone go home?

What’s this I hear about a Labor Movement? And why does America only have two political parties? That seems wrong at times like this, especially when everything seems wrong. Do either party represent the people? Well, yes and no. Depends what kind of a person you are. At least it’s night, so I can’t see the sky.

I go to sleep thinking about how I was just reminded that St. Partick’s Day is coming soon. I used to live in Butte where it’s quite a celebration. Or a drunk fest. Or are they the same thing? I humor myself when I think of wearing my green jeans with my orange t-shirt on that day – I’ll do this because I’m not Catholic or Protestant and I believe that things would be better if God didn’t exist in the hateful form of the Bible.

But I continue on.

March 9, 2011

Morning:

I’m reading an essay by a man with the last name of Gorski about multicultural education and it’s possible oppression if taught the wrong way. This has caused me to think about Paulo Freire. How does this actually relate to my future students in Montana?

Talking about union busting? Watching WI crumbling, rise, crumble – depending on whom you talk to, or whose side you’re on. How does this relate to my reading about oppression? Who’s being oppressed?

Watched a clip with Michael Moore on the Rachael Maddow Show on Huffington Post. Thinking about how Michael Moore said that Republicans (I call them neo-Republicans) have called a class war over their anti-union, collective bargaining stripping bill. Then read some comment about how the word ‘war’ was used by Mr. Moore and the person related it loosely to the Tucson shooting and how liberals were hypocrites. Then I think of two wars being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, or is it Iran? How many Middle Eastern countries can we fight? Oh, wait…. U.S. Battleship on way to Libya.

I read more from Gorski on oppression and how all the major news outlets, newspapers, and film studios are now owned by the same five conglomerates (such a monstrous word with a pejorative tint). In this context I think of Rachael Maddow on MSNBC. And then of NBC. Then of Vivendi Universal. Oh, god, it’s true. Where does Rachael Maddow fit in? And wait. Shit, damn. Huffington Post was just bought by AOL, which was once called AOL/Time Warner. And HuffPost readers are told this buyout is a good thing. I don’t buy it. Everything is owned by a few people, people who don’t seem to like unions. Time to watch Wisconsin protests not-live.

Afternoon:

I again listen to the greatest band of the past year: Foals. They’re from Britain and they soothe my bones when the sky looks as ominious as it does in early March in Montana.

St. Patricks Day comes closer and closer and

The big rigs rolled through Missoula last night with the big oil drums. I read that. I don’t know what to think of them. They’re big, like much of everything in this country. So don’t they fit in? Aren’t they culturally acceptable? Oil and big? That’s the ideal U.S. economy isn’t it? No answers, just questions.

“But far too often these experiences are facilitated—controlled—in ways that assume that all participants sit at an even table,” Gorski’s essay continued on. He says that when people negotiate oftentimes both sides go in thinking that they’re equals. But typically they’re not and the dominate group dominates. That’s typical.

What makes a man/ what makes a man like Gov. Walker think? Does Walker think? Have we created intelligent monsters? So intent we are on mastering reading and math and science – but where are our ethics courses? Our humanity classes? Our classes that bridge us towards one another instead of making us all feel like we are one man, one island, and the biggest wave will win? No answers, just questions.

Evening:

Yesterday in my ethics class a student showed up drunk. He was shouting out random things, like ‘lent!’ – this was not ethical. And he’s supposed to be a future teacher, because it’s a teacher prep course. Prepping for what? For the public beat-down of teachers and their overpaid nonsense? Oh, I just said ‘beat’. Am I a hypocrite because I don’t think people should be beat? Are there not class wars? Are we not fighting wars at home and abroad? Is it not a war to simply get up and pretend the world is sunny in early march? Is humanity not losing?

The middle class is disappearing and there’s nothing we can do about it. We buy Brawny, and Kleenex, and all those products that pay for the attacks against us. No one seems to care. I do though.

Jon Stewert had a great logical conundrum. My head is trying to wrap around it still – I’m looking for a way out, a way to answer logic. Luckily, the question wasn’t posed to me because I think Obama is an American citizen and I also think it’s important for equality that women have control over their own bodies. I watched his conundrum on Huffington Post – we have no diversity left.

I’ve been getting into arguments with friends lately about this Obama character. Here’s a word-for-word excerpt of one of his 2008 presidential campaign promises: “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”

The White House issued a release saying, “We’re not getting involved in WI politics.” But Obama is the president and is involved in politics all the time. It’s okay to get involved in Egyptian politics, or Libian politics, but not Wisconsin politics? I voted for a man who ran away when the White House opened its doors to him. My friends are fighting me on these points. Say I’m wrong, he’s done a lot, inherited a mess, yabba yabba. I’m apathetic to those talking points. I’m definitely buying his campaign promise, yelled loud and clear, Change We Can Believe In. I believe it, because nothing has changed. The powerful and rich continue to cling to those ladders. And why wouldn’t they?

Who owns Jon Stewert? Who owns Comedy Central? Who cares what they say as long as they make money, right?

Greek man Diogenes is holding up a lantern during the daylight. When asked what he’s doing he says, “Looking for an honest man.” I’ve paraphrased the entire story. Someone once told it, but I read it. That’s how oral tradition has continued on.

In one of my Foals songs the lyric is, “Let’s disappear until tomorrow.” I believe that everyone should do this on occasion.

The New Census

16 Mar

Most of you will find this blog incredibly boring and will leave the page before you finish the following paragraphs. However, it’s my blog and I’ve always been interested in things like the census. I think it’s an invaluable way to understand the places we call home, and the directions our cities are heading. So, wait for it… here is my MT census blog! Hooray!

Butte city, as of 2010, has a population of 33,525 people, a decrease of about 1% (367 people) from the 2000 census. Though it constitutes a rise from the 1990 census by about 200 people. What does this all mean? That Butte has largely held steady for the past 20 years. Butte is the 5th largest city by population in the state.

What’s number one? It’s still Billings, which saw a large growth over the past 10 years to over 104,100 people (up from 89,800 (rounded down to the hundreds place) in 2000).

Missoula is the second largest city in the state with 66,700 (rounded down to the hundreds place). Missoula gained nearly 10,000 new residents over the past ten years – a 17% increase. However, Missoula County grew even more to over 100,000 people.

Meanwhile, the state trend is continuing as eastern Montana continues to lose population while western Montana is seeing growth. Kalispell had the highest percentage of population increase over the past 10 years (40%) while Billings had the largest increase of people (14,300). Great Falls is the third largest city while Bozeman is the fourth.

For more questions – ask. And you’re welcome. 😛