Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Poverty Weight Lifting

I'm getting concerned about my body: I'm just too weak. Simple thing wear out my arms and legs.

So, I resumed something I did before I moved here. I'd just forgotten I did it!

I take 2 20-oz. soda bottles and fill them with water. I tie one to each end of a jump rope.

I use them for range-of-motion exercises and "curls" for my arms. Then, I let them hang and "crawl" my fingers along the rope to pull them up.

Next, I hang the rope over both knobs of a door.

I sit in a chair, facing them, I use my toes to pull the rope toward me.

Then, I slide my ankles into the loop between knobs. I raise and lower my legs, pulling the bottles up and down. This even works my belly.

It hurts like hell.

So, it MUST be good for me.

I'm hoping to work up to 1 liter, then 2 liter and then 3 liter bottles.
SOMEONE tell me the weight of each?
And of 20 oz?
Oct. 1

I only did 5 to 20 reps., depending on the exercise.

And I'm feeling it today! OUCHIES!

I'm thinking this might take some of the tension pain from between my shoulders & in my neck.

Even my fingers and hands hurt; it's hard to type.

So, I'm going to keep doing this. It seems to be helping.

Today's not a good measure; I'm in a lot of pain and feeling quite weak.

Maybe it'll be better a week from now.


In the unending search for cheap ways to eat very well, I often use "folk" or "peasant" recipes to vary my diet and make it interesting.

Did you know, for instance, that most French cuisine is actually just peasant food? How many things one can do with hen eggs and cow or goat milk!

Some major companies have swiped such traditional recipes and are selling them as "junk" foods, at very high prices, with lots of added chemicals.

One such product is Nabisco's Rye Crisp. A reader posted a request for a recipe for this tasty cracker. Perhaps she plans to reshingle her roof?

Seriously, though, this is one of my favorite crackers. I haven't eaten it in 20 years. The Danes make a version of it; I used to eat it at buffets in Solvang, CA.

It's good with any or all of the following on it: cheese, nut butters, pickled herring, pickled vegetables, butter, or meats.

I never thought (duh) to look up a recipe on the 'net! Looks like I'll be making a run to La Montanita Food Coop for some rye flour!

From: Recipe Source


2 sm Potatoes, boiled or baked and pureed in the blender or food processor (about 1/2 cup)
2 c Of rye flour
1/4 ts Salt
1/3 c Water or potato water

"It is impossible to find a more spartan cracker than Norwegian Flatbread." It can be made with only rye flour, salt, and water, but adding a pureed vegetable, such as potatoes, increases the nutritive value and adds subtle flavor. This flatbread is excellent with mild cheeses.

In a large bowl or in the food processor, blend the pureed potato, flour, and salt together.

Add the water and blend well until the dough will hold together in a cohesive ball. With a sharp knife, divide into 10 equal portions. Turn these out, one at a time, onto a floured surface and roll into circles. Roll as thin as possible, at most 1/8 inch, so each is approximately 7 to 8 inches across.
Prick all over with the tines of a fork.

Lightly oil a griddle or large skillet and heat until it is very hot. One by one, place the rolled circles onto the griddle and cook until the bottoms begin to show light browning. Then turn and cook the other side. Keep turning until the whole cracker is dry and crisp.
Do not allow the flatbread to get more than medium brown. Cool on a rack. Yield: 10.

VARIATIONS: Substitute any pureed vegetable for potatoes. Flours other than rye can also be used.

Try wheat or barley. If the dough is too sticky to roll, add a little more flour. Letting the dough rest for an hour after mixing will also make it easier to roll.

Flatbread can also be cooked in the oven. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet at 400~F. for 8 to 12 minutes, or until crisp, turning 2 or 3 times.

Monday, September 29, 2003


oh, boyoboyoboy! Smith's had 15 lb sacks of taters for a buck thirty!! That's less than ten cents/lb!! YIPPEEE!!!!

I got 2 sacks. AND sour cream on sale! AND butter on sale: a buck fifty/lb! AND Maya sweet onions: REALLY BIG ONES for ONION RINGS!!!

ON the way home, I found a big, wooden packing crate: almost big enuff to curl up in! You shoulda seen me with all them taters and crap and that BIG ol box, all in my little stroller! ROFLMAO!

I came home & baked TEN TATERS! I just finished a BIG one, with cheese, pepper, butter and sour cream...basically, a heart attack on a plate!

Chili taters! Vegie taters! Spaghetti sauce taters! Tuna taters! I LOVE TATERS!

The packing crate will be lined with "hay" from the weeds I pulled and newspaper. I'm gonna grow junk in it! It's tall as my knees! I could grow pumpkins in it!!

I'm full of potato, even the bit I snorted out my nose, reading Scott's post in my newsgroup! Pepper in a nostril is PAINFUL!

Sunday, September 28, 2003

The Easiest Way To Grow Potatoes!

EASIEST way to grow taters!
Group: rriverstone
Date: Sun, Sep 28, 2003, 8:21pm (MDT-1)
From: (Rogi Riverstone)

Plant ABOVE ground, so they're easy to harvest! Use: stacks of old tires, trash barrels, kids' wading pools, or just tubes of chicken wire, fencing, etc, lined with newspaper or straw to hold dirt in.

Get u an old 55 gallon drum. Bust BOTH ends out of it. punch some holes in the sides. Toss in dirt and taters. Water as needed.

Come tater season, knock over the drum, brush off the dirt, eat the taters!

Saves yer back from diggin! just tie a rope to the drum & to your bumper and pull the drum off with yer truck!

Easy as gettin drunk on Saturday nite!

ps: u can cut the drum in half to make 2 tater mounds.


Porkchop was a fighting dog. He didn't have the heart for it; it made him crazy. He's much better now, after a year with me & the six cats, but he's still very nervous, shy and aggressive with strangers who approach him without an introduction from me.

He's calm and cheerful when we're alone, either at home or out walking. But let someone interrupt us, and he's a wreck.

Poor buddy!

He's never intentionally hurt me. He's very strong and has accidentally knocked into me, but never attacked.

And that's even though one day, while we were gardening, I whirled around and smacked him HARD on top of the head with a shovel! I didn't see him behind my full skirts. He made a sound like you wouldn't believe: REALLY scary! Sounded like Kujo...I've never heard a dog, or any animal, make a noise like he did! I'm surprised I didn't break his skull!!

He was scared of me for a week, after that!

Free Burger!

I have a tiny bit of meat left, to last 'til the food stamps come.

It's hot. I'm tired. I don't wanna heat the kitchen and make dirty dishes.

So, I hitched up Porkchop and we went to Wendy's, 3 blocks from here.

Some scrawny, slack jawed, wannabe gangbangers were in front of me, with three trays piled with food.

The girl's bank card didn't work and none of the 5 boys had money. So, they left their food and went to an ATM down the street.

I ordered. Then, I said, "I'll buy everything they just left for half price!"

The mgr. had already "recycled" the chicken strips & fries, and dumped the sodas, but she sold me 2 Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers for $1!!!

I gots me a sack o burgers for 2 days! Yippee!

Stupid ppl come in handy sometimes...
I did stop at two. But, fifteen or thirty minutes later, I ate the 3rd.

I did it because I COULD!

I always have to be so damn careful with every bite of food in this house: stretching it, covering it, freezing, bagging, packing it....so it'll last without going bad.

I ate 3 cuz I COULD eat three. I never feel stuffed, especially with protein.

It was the most satisfying feeling!

I have dreams of having enough money for a big kitchen and lots of varieties of foods! AND a chicken yard, AND a truck garden AND a full sized freezer! LOL

Friday, September 26, 2003

Poverty's Up

Well, congratulations, Mr. Bush. According to Reuters, millions more people have fallen into poverty in this country since you stole the White House.

Oh, I know, you're blaming it on 9/11 and on the corporate scandals. Let me remind you: it was YOUR choice to invade a non-threatening country, which had NOTHING to do with 9/11! And it is your buddies, including Ken Lay, who stole all the cookies and left us with the crumbs!

And all this, so close to another election, right after your almost-laughable (if our young men and women's lives weren't at stake!) dog-and-pony show for the UN, just when you're begging them and Congress to pour MORE personnel and money down the rat hole you've dug!


MILLIONS more hard working US citizens, competing in lines at food pantries! All from the most vulnerable and stressed populations and geographical areas of this bedraggled nation.


Sunday, September 21, 2003

Something Sweet

Watching a PBS program on the desperate state of education globally.

A small house in Kenya. A large cardboard box, almost the size of a washing machine, serves as the family closet.

The mother has carefully covered the top of it with a small, hand-appliqued table cloth.

I do this.

Wide Angle: Time For School http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/shows/school/

Check out this web site. It's a lovely program.

I wish more popular media, tv, radio, broadcast programming about ordinary life in the global village.

We Americans know so little of others' lives. It's pitiful!

Australians know what our toilets look like, but we don't even know their major cities!

And what we Americans take for granted as rights!

I Give Up

Sent e-mail message
From: (Rogi Riverstone)
Date: Sun, Sep 21, 2003, 2:48pm
Subject: I give up

I have never had, in ten YEARS in the War Zone, the problem of people being so arrogant and selfish as to approach my dog without my permission. Porkchop is my PROPERTY, legally.

If I wandered up to people's briefcases, purses, etc. and began handling them, you'd have me arrested. But members of the fellowship know SO MUCH about me, my dog, and our needs, they think it's absolutely alright to molest a CHAINED animal, who is trying to defend himself from what he perceives as a threat to his territory!

So, I put my dog outside, and someone out THERE, who defines herself as "knowing a lot about dogs," UNLEASHES my dog, in the presence of her TODDLER, and tells ME I don't know how to handle my animal! TWO year olds, illiterate crack heads know better than to approach a strange dog!

On top of this, NOBODY showed ANY gratitude for the hard work I did, after a MILE WALK to CHURCH AND Smith's, where I bought the pie, of making coffee this morning. Indeed, people COMPLAINED!

They've complained at the food I've brought, too.

NOBODY in the congregation defended me against that Mary bitch, humiliating me that week. In fact, Mary was welcomed to stay in the kitchen, while I was PUSHED!! PUSHED!!! A woman with MS gets PUSHED!? In a so-called "peace" center??? And the reason I'm given why MARY wasn't asked to leave is that "she was washing dishes." In other words, my rights, honor, personal space and safety aren't as important as DIRTY DISHES!

Every week, I hear you all ask each other, "Are you going to lunch with us?" Ask me? Hell no! You can't even be bothered to INTRODUCE yourselves to me! Or SPEAK to me!

I have extended my self in friendship. I have contributed labor and food. I have offered to assist with services.

I will NOT be treated like a servant in CHURCH! I am JUST as good as ANY of you and, from what I've seen, I may even be BETTER than SOME of you!

I want NOTHING more to do with such an abusive, elitist, arrogant, whining, picky, judgmental, HATEFUL clique of dilitantes!

I will see that Marie has your hymnal for you, Kathy. You are the ONLY one who has treated me as a peer, not as an inferior, at best, or human furniture, at worst. And
I'm sorry. You don't KNOW how sorry! You don't KNOW how BADLY I NEED a church! I walk 2 miles each Sunday! It's PAINFUL. You don't KNOW how badly I need church.

But when I offer the best I have to people, and they treat me like dog crap on their shoes, it just breaks my heart.

I Want this read to the Board; it's for them I wrote this, not you. I don't want to cause you any hurt, Kathy.

But I can't keep being patient with this abuse, hoping they'll relax once they get to know me. They've made it VERY clear they don't WANT to know me.

Their loss.

I heard a LOUD snarl outside and went to look.

I had shortened Porky's leash so that he couldn't move more than 2 feet from the gas meter.

When I got outside, YES, that woman WITH A TODDLER!!! had either provoked Porkchop so badly, he'd somehow unclipped his leash or SHE did it. He was standing IN THE SIDEWALK on Silver Street, ONE FOOT AWAY from that baby's FACE!!!!

It was the woman who took my spot on the sofa.

I asked her what the HELL she thought she was doing, approaching a strange dog, a CHAINED dog, like that.

Oh, I work with dogs. I wanted to know if he was friendly.

Well, now you KNOW, DON't you??? Stay the HELL away from other people's property and don't EVER touch ANYTHING that belongs to me again! If you know so much about dogs, how come you didn't know that dogs BITE?? You're going to get me kicked out of CHURCH!

Why doesn't your dog have any food or water??

I refused to answer; I always put a bowl of water out for Pork, except today, because I'd been so busy in the damn kitchen! He could wait til after the service. And FOOD??? Good god, does it look like porchop is HUNGRY?

She was obviously too stupid to care about anything besides her own lack of self-control, and was trying to place the blame on me, implying I was neglecting my dog!

Her stroller, kid and body were blocking the entire sidewalk, and I didn't feel like getting tangled in the pyracantha bush thorns, to try to reenter the building.

So I said, "Get the f___ out of my way, you stupid C___!"

I came in to get my crap, and saw her on the sofa.

I assumed she was there to "rat me out."

My dog is not safe there. I am not safe there. If people had minded their own business and left my dog alone, NONE of this would have happened.

There's no reason why a responsible person can't walk with their dog to church and back without fear of great bodily harm to either of us. If Porkchop bites anybody again, he'll be destroyed. And I'm sure I'll got to jail, possibly prison.

The coffee decision was made without my imput. I have to wake and dress quickly, some Sundays (today included). I have a long, painful walk to get to church. I'd like to rest with a hot cup of coffee and something to eat when I get there. I don't have time here to prepare breakfast and drink coffee. It's at minimum a half hour walk, sometimes an hour. Some weeks, there just isn't time.

I don't get home until nearly 1pm, hot, tired and very hungry. I have to prepare something to eat immediately, in spite of the fact that I'm dehydrated and in great pain. I run a fever for the rest of the day, and into the following.

Then, I have to spend the rest of the day in bed, to recover.

Even the following day, it's painful to walk, I fall easily, my arms are sore from pushing the stroller, and I can't get much work done.

THAT's what I sacrifice to get to church. THAT's how much it meant to me.

I have very limited resources. My health is horrible. I "shouldn't" even bother to try.

When I get there, I try to be friendly, cheerful and helpful.

It's a real effort. I'm always so tired and in so much pain when I get there. And so hungry and thirsty. I haven't complained. I haven't asked for help. But you guys don't know how my body feels when I get there. I need some physical comfort, some food, warm coffee, some sugar in my blood.

I was willing to take responsibility for brewing coffee. None would be wasted; I would take home what's left over for me to microwave. I can't always pay for the coffee, but Smith's has marked-down baked goods, almost every Sunday morning. I can frequently get them on my food stamps for a dollar or 2 per week.

I can't pay membership. So I brought food. No, nobody asked me. I was trying to carry my weight. I also think it's rude to eat in front of others without bringing something for everybody.

Porkchop doesn't get enough exercise, because I have a tiny yard and because I don't walk unless I HAVE to. So, he goes when I go, whether it's for errands, meetings, church or trash picking on Thursdays. He needs the exercise. And I feel safer on the streets with him beside me.

I won't walk without him. But I won't leave him, unprotected, in that parking lot. Some idiot smart ass is going to get bit.

I WILL go to jail. And Porkchop WILL be destroyed! I could end up homeless over this crap. ALL my animals could end up dead, my things stolen or thrown out. I could lose EVERYTHING over this.

My dog doesn't bother people who don't bother my dog. And I plan to KEEP it that way!

You guys didn't know what leaving Porkchop in that parking lot could cost me, but I DID! THAT's how important church is to me. I'd sit inside, worrying if there'd be cops and dog catchers waiting for me when I walked back out. Every time.

Now, if people had just left Porkchop alone, he could still be sleeping by my side, on the sofa in the back, out of everybody's way.

But NO! THEY had to approach him and f___ with me.

I can't trust anybody there.

It's not worth the risk.
Porkchop did not disrupt anything.

People invading his space, disrespecting my property rights, disrupted AUUF.

My dog is NOT their business!

Porkchop was trying to protect himself.

He sees humans as abusive, life threatening dangers. So do I.

I'll take Porkchop over people without boundaries, impulse control and basic manners any day.

Don't blame this on a dog who was protecting himself. That's not fair and it's not honest.

Not my problem any more.

As to my physical pain, a truly welcoming congregation would have offered me a ride.

I don't choose to discuss this further. I will email one, last time to let you know the arrangements I made with Maria for you to get your hymnal.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Beans And Bombers

Students in this country can get a little public assistance while in college. Others resent this, especially if they chose not to take the assistance, and were employed, instead. A single mom takes the assistance, so she can get out of school more quickly and start earning money. She also does it so her kids aren't in daycare 10 hours a day. A person who was childless in school complains that tax payers had no choice but to pay for this single mom's choice of self imposed poverty while studying.

My reply:

"I don't think that the issue is about your choice of whether or not to work. The issue is that they might not like the fact that they do not get to choose whether or not to support you. You decide not to work and they are in turn forced to pay you money. It's a bit vexing."

Well, if these vexed people want to live in a country without roads, bridges, sewage, utilities, national defense, public libraries and other facilities, they can move!

Our taxes are supposed to pay for the benefit of society. I'd say educating our young people for skilled jobs is a SORELY needed use of these common funds!

Funny, people can whine about how hard they work to pay taxes on a measly amount of food stamps that runs out after 3 weeks of each month. But they're stone silent and acquiesce to CORPORATE welfare!

$87 BILLION more is going to get dumped in Iraq, after the $150± already dumped there. So the "cronies" of this admin. can make money.

But everybody has to attack ME for receiving less than $3 per day in food stamps! I EARNED that money, scrubbing toilets, wiping old people's butts, RUNNING down factory assembly lines 10 hours per day without benefits!

People who get assistance while attending school will MORE than pay that all back to society, not only in taxes, but in skills and services to the community!

While the rednecks count BEANS, the cronies of the government are walking away with the WAREHOUSE!
Someone suggests that, if students can choose not to work while going to school (the student in question is a single mother of 2 small children; she DOES work, just not for pay!), then people could go onto welfare to take a vacation, write a book, etc.

My reply:

Cindy said, "I'm getting welfare because: I need a vacation, I'm starting my own business, I'm writing a book, etc."

Depending in which state one lives, a person can't own a car valued at over $1,000 dollars (not exactly reliable transportation). No: Savings, stocks, bonds, real estate, pensions, life insurance policies, personal property valued at over $2,000, etc.

A person can't have more than $2,000 savings to continue receiving Social Security Disability, nor earn more than about $600/month before the check gets deductions.

I don't qualify for state or federal medical insurance which would cover: doctors' visits, perscriptions, glasses, dental. This is because I actually WORKED for a living, and my Soc. Security Disability Insurance is based on that. I "earn" $23/month too much to qualify! That's about a tank of gasoline, for an economy car. So, I'm disabled, and can't get medical care! Yet, I must pay $50/month into MediCare, just in case of emergency hospitalization. That's about 1/10th of my income.

Now, if I'd stuck a needle in my arm, or a bottle down my throat, I'd get SSI: Social Security Insurance. It was originally designed to help the indigent during the Great Depression.

Many professional bums live on SSI. THEY get FULL medical benefits, because the amount is just below the threshhold. They also get lots of food stamps. They qualify for housing authority, subsidized housing. They get commodities foods.

They spend the checks on drugs & booze, live on the streets, eat and go to doctors for free.

In order for someone to "take a vacation" on welfare, they'd have to give up any and everything they owned.

When my mom had a massive stroke, she sold off my entire inheritance to pay for her convelescent care before the state would qualify her for medical insurance payments!
The "professional bums" get into rehab. programs or homeless shelters which have doctors certify that they are addicts.

For SSI, all you need is to be poor enough, and "unable to work," as stated by a doctor.

SSI is for those who haven't worked. SSDI is for those who have.

SSI: Who Qualifies http://www.gatewaylegal.org/whoqualifies.htm

Thus, as I said, if I'd stuck a needle in my arm or a bottle down my throat, it would be Christmas all year!

I'm sorry; I HATE addicts. I hate their selfishness, their self obsession, their abuse, their neglect, their irresponsibility, the damage they cause, how dangerous they are..... I have no pity on addicts who don't go through rehab, 12 step programs, etc.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

MORE Damned Idiots!

I just had to yell at my neighbor for stringing a CLOTHES LINE full of sheets from her fence, ACROSS THE ALLEY to MY fence! And for letting her dog run loose so my pit can knock my fence down to get him. AND for parking IN the alley, so the trash truck had to run over my flower bed and damn near take out my FENCE to get past it! friggin drunks!!!

Pork Chop, My Vicious Pit Bull

I have a pit bull, brindle. He was bred to b a fighting dog, but was no good at it, so they made him "bait."

Someone rescued him, but left him in an open yard with no house. Infrequent water, little food, and that was mostly spaghetti and frijoles, 'tho I expect that's all that family had, too.

One day, a crack head jumped the family's wall & ran across their yard. Porkchop didn't even bark. He just watched.

He didn't know he was supposed to protect that family; he was out there alone all the time! He didn't know he was PART of the family!

So, they turned him loose in the streets in winter, in a 4-day freezing rain.

Porkchop chased: dogs, cars, bicycles, children, adults, motorcycles, police cars, me and my cats.

At night, he'd curl in front of the gate, soaking wet and shivering, trying to reenter their yard. They'd kick him whenever they went in or out.

After 4 days, I finally had enough of being chased, growled at and snapped at and my cats were nearly hysterical.

I said, "come here, you son of a bitch!"

He came right to me. I put him on a leash and brought him inside.

All the cats stayed outside for days. That's except for Miss Thing, who'd just had a litter of 3 kittens in the bottom drawer of the dresser just inside my bedroom door.

When I went to bed that night, Porkchop followed me and slept in the bed.

But he made the mistake of sticking his nose in that drawer, just to smell the kittens. His tale was wagging and he was smiling; he wasn't going to hurt them.

But Miss Thing saw him from across the apartment, and in a flash, she had all 20 claws in his head, and rode him around the house!

Porkchop has never chased ANY of my six cats again! He is actually a Professional Cat Butt Licker.

He's been my dog ever since.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do!

E-mail message

Date: Tue, Sep 16, 2003, 3:45pm
To: (List for CLF members)
Subject: Re: [Clf-l] Finances

The problem is having "friends" and acquaintances whom you've trusted to discuss your personal life.

Students and single moms are working people, too. They like to discuss their issues, too.

It's always an offensive surprise to realize that someone whom you'd, up until that moment of confrontation re: "Welfare Fraud," assumed to be a supporive and rational human being.

The reactionary forces of popular media in this country are turning us ALL against each other! Like that homeless lady, humiliating me at church for asking for a few left overs! We should be sisters in solidarity! Or the alcoholic Chicano, waiting with me at the bus today, complaining about "those damn Mexican illegals," undocumented immigrants who work at hard, low-paying and often dangerous jobs, while HE is too drunk to do ANYthing!

Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reily, et al are ROLE MODELS for us trailer trash, teaching us all how to hate, insult, hurt each other. If we're all at EACH OTHER's throats, we won't band together and go after the REAL welfare cheats in this country: the corporations!

I've been insulted in line at the grocery for buying a 1/2 priced, partly green STEAK on my friggin Food Stamps! Ain't nobody's business if I do!

It's HARD to live on the edge like this and never speak of it for fear of judgment and condemnation! It's a stressful life!

But I'll tell you what: I'm SO grateful Food Stamps are now magnetic strip cards, instead of those obvious, brightly-colored coupons of the old days! Now, I can slide my card through the electronic reader and, if I hold it right, nobody knows if it's a bank card, credit card, or WHAT!

The PROBLEM with the new cards, though is that Chase Manhattan Bank of New York City now knows: where and when I shopped and exactly what I bought, and can sell that information to other companies!

I know this because they send me a "statement" every month!

When you try to get ahead and go to school [this was written about a single mother, in college], they act like you're "too good" too flip burgers at Mc Donald's.

There's an old expression: Poor folks are like crabs in a bucket: as soon as one almost climbs out, the others pull it back in.

But it's not just poor folks doing the pulling; it's the late night comedians, the landlords, the social workers, the grocery cashiers, the police....anybody who learns your business is likely to condemn you for trying!
Clf-l mailing list

Food Stamps Hell

Up at 5, as usual. Drinking coffee & filling out my food stamps application. Reread the letter: I should have had the application in by yesterday! Ut oh!

The print on the letter is so small, all I read was that my Stamps run out on the 30th of the month. Forgot to get glasses when I came in with the letter from the mail box 2 weeks ago.

Called the office, right at 8am, when they open. Should have done that earlier.

Said I had moved from NE part of city to SE part. Was told to go to SE office. Told to bring: applcation, lease, bank statement, SS award letter, phone bill. Later, I would learn I didn't need them today.

Wasted WAY too much time hunting those, headed for Central bus. Stood in sun 10 mins. and waited.

Missed 1st Broadway bus; had to wait 35 minutes. Broadway bus only runs every 40 mins. Sat in sun and waited.

Walked 4 blocks to office.

Arrived at office at 9.

Metal detector search of stroller, bags, body.

Lady took application, photocopied my other papers, typed me into computer. Said I needed to be at Menaul/Broadbent office, other side of town. They can't process me in SE until NE knows I've moved.

Climbed back up hill 4 blocks to Broadway.

Went to grocery. Waited for bus in hot sun 25 minutes.

Off at Cental; waited in sun for 10 minutes, transferred.

Off at 6th; RAN to catch Menaul bus.

Off at Broadbent; walked 4 blocks to....nonexistant food stamps office! Nothing but empty bldg. and construction workers.

Asked one who pointed to new office, 2 blocks away.

Got to new office. Metal detector check of bags, stroller, body.

Handed lady my papers. She processed all of them and said, "you're at the wrong office." This was now the NW office; NE office is several miles East on Menaul. "Menaul and Washington," she said.

Walked 4 blocks; waited in sun for bus for 20 mins.

Took bus to Washington. Office is NOT at Washington and Menaul. It's on Cutler, near Carlisle.

Walked 10 blocks to office. It was now almost 11:15. Too late for a morning appointment, maybe too late for a 1pm appointment, too, depending on # of clients ahead of me.

Metal detector search of bags, stroller, body.

Handed papers to lady. Finally! I'm at the right office!

Started to cry. Explained my morning, how tired I am, that I'd had nothing to eat or drink for almost 4 hours, and that I really needed a bathroom.

Lady pointed me to bathroom and said she'd have my paperwork done when I got out.

Homeless lady in line said, "have them give you a bus token, too!" I only had 45 min. left on my transfer; I wouldn't make it home without spending another dollar for the bus.

Came out of bathroom. Another lady in reception had a cup of ice, waiting for me. First lady gives me my receipt and papers, and FOUR bus tokens.

I explain I'm scared I've messed up my stamps for next month, because I'm late. She reassured me, saying, "only by one day! It should be ok."

I thanked everyone profusely and went out to smoke and drink the soda I'd brought. With: 2 loaves of bread, a pound of cheese and a big box of cheap laundry soap, plus my stroller to carry things and my purse, I didn't have enough hands to open it before then.

Drank soda. Walked 10 blocks to Carlisle.

Saw Rudy's Barbeque. I don't eat out, but I was SO hot and tired.....

Told cashier, "I don't think I should eat here! I can buy cheap brisket for 69 cents/lb. at Stadium Grocery; You want $4.29 for half a pound! I'll have pork ribs, please...might as well make it 1/2 lb, so I can eat it at home, too." I knew that would cost about $9, but I was SO TIRED!

Kid gets my ribs. Kid says, white or wheat bread? Wheat. He packs a WHOLE LOAF!! He says, go get you a salad, too, no charge. I got 1/2 pint of potato salad.

I should get a drink, too; I'm awful thirsty. He hands me a large drink cup (you fill your own there) "no charge," he says.

I said, when I get rich and famous, I'm gonna buy your ass out of here!

He charged me $2.12 for ALL THAT FOOD!!!!

I got a cola and sat down. I ate the salad, 2 small ribs (their SAUCE is fantastic. the tv commercials say, "Rudy's Barbeque: where the sauce is boss!" they ain't kiddin!), ate 4 slices of bread and drank 1/2 the big soda.

Sat and rested awhile, refilled my drink, left.

Walked down Carlisle 6 blocks to bus stop. Sign says, "no midday service on Carlisle."

oh, god. It's 10 more blocks to the next main street! And I'll have to transfer twice to get home!

There's a convenience store by the bus stop. I just started asking everybody who came for a ride to Central, so I could catch that bus.

Man in company pick up says, "I'm heading down town." I say, "I live on your way!"

He gave me a ride RIGHT to my gate!

Now, here's the kicker: After all that crap, standing at the 3rd office, the lady tells me (this was NOT in the letter!) I could have MAILED IT ALL IN!!!!!


Now, I may or may not get stamps in time. My paperwork has to be sent back to the SE office, the first one I went to today.

Can't speak to FS worker, who can still screw this all up; just have to wait and see if she schedules me an appointment with HER, or if she sends it down there.

Came home to find SOMEONE disconnected the 2 utility extension cords I plugged into the outlet in Raoul's yard and TRIED to lock me out of his gate! So, I went out and plugged it all back in.

Called slum lord re: fire in air conditioner, melted heater wires, and that SOMEBODY needs to flip MY breaker inside RAOUL's apartment, AGAIN!

I'm in agony, nekkid, exhausted and still getting bbq sauce off my chest, belly and face.

After all the above happened, Veto, the maintanance guy showed up. He finally found the circuit breaker for my apt. inside Raoul's.

I tried really hard not to, but I finally had to enter Raoul's apt. to help him find it.

You know the storage locker in the movie, "Silence of the Lambs?" That's Raoul's apartment. Truly TRULY terrifying! I couldn't get out of there FAST enough. No WONDER he cooks in his yard! There's NO ROOM IN THE KITCHEN! He even washes his dishes with the garden hose, out in the common yard..... shudder....I'm not even going to try to describe it in any more detail....puke. And the SMELL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sort of Museum, crossed with Marijuana Tar, a hint of Dumpster and a splash of Men's Public Urinal.....even though his air conditioner has been running continuously for the 2 weeks he hasn't been here!

I stood out in the common yard, in front of Raoul's and my gate.

Here comes the Sow From The Basement, to spy on me (I suspect SHE's the genius who unplugged my electric cords, screwed up the door on my VCR, messed up my digital clocks and left my refridgerator warm while I was gone today! Gonna have to defrost again...

Anyway, she barks, "Is that Tim in there?" (Tim's the property manager) I didn't answer; kept my back to her, took old nails out of my gate that scratch me when I use it...which is seldom. I use the gate I BUILT, on the back side of the property, so I don't have to associate with y lunatic neighbors!

She stood there, like a stringy headed alcoholic moron (which she is) and waited for Veto to come out so she could see who it was. Veto's very distinctive truck was in her line-of-vision, if she'd just turned and LOOKED!

Well, I showed Veto the melted wires on my furnace and the smoke smudges inside my air conditioner, so he's gonna tell Tim to buy me a new AC. He's coming back around Thursday to repair everything. Thank gawd it's Veto; he and his wife and daughters are so sweet! They're immigrants. Their daughter just this semester registered at UNM: first in her family to graduate high school, let alone go to university! They're SO PROUD! Good people!

The last maintanance guy was a drunken grouch. Thank gawd HE's gone!

So, tired as I am, I spent an hour, after Veto left, unplugging everything from the extension cords & plugging it all back into wall jacks. Most of these wall jacks are behind large, heavy pieces of furniture, in the dark. So, I twisted and turned and got it all plugged in again, rolled up the extension cords and reset all 3 clocks, including my automatic coffee maker.

I'm not doing SQUAT tomorrow!

The reporter emailed; she and a photographer will be coming by next Tuesday. So I have plenty more time to finish cleaning the house before they come.

It's just cluttered, dusty and the floors need cleaning: six cats, 1 dog, me & my art projects and Albuquerque wind....

I'll sleep TONIGHT!

Monday, September 15, 2003

To The Reporter

Well, I need a couple more days, if that's OK. I've been so busy making masks, starting my little online job and hustling groceries home on the bus, my house is FILTHY! I own twenty forks, and ALL of them were dirty this morning! I have limited strength, and have to prioritize. So, vacuuming, dish washing, etc. were LOW on my list for awhile!

On top of that, my coke addict neighbor has disappeared. Been gone for weeks. Could be dead in his apt., for all I know; the air conditioner's been running continuously the whole time! Well, my circuit breakers are in his apartment.

I came home from church yesterday to find my refrigerator warm. So, I've been scrambling around with extension cords, trying to plug my life back in! LOL

I won't call the property mgr. until the house is clean. They need to replace my air conditioner, which caught fire. And they need to look at my furnace, which has melted WIRES leading to the thermostat (Dang thing was turning on when the temps. hit EIGHTY!!!). So, when I do call, people will be disrupting my life for quite some time, 'til everything's done.

Slum lords: I've been telling them, since the day I signed the lease, that something was wrong with my electricity and with that furnace!

Mean time, I notice you haven't read the Viri Diana blog, which has grown since we spoke. It's here: Viri Diana http://viridianariverstone.blogspot.com/

in case you want to look.

Tell your editor I'm a GREAT FREELANCER! If that doesn't cut into YOUR pay check, anyway.

How would Friday be? Just tell me a time that's convenient for you.


Saturday, September 13, 2003

Accessability at Church

E-mail message
Date: Fri, Sep 12, 2003, 8:35pm
To: (List for CLF members)
Subject: Re: [Clf-l] Access to the CLF offices

you know what's REALLY STUPID!?!?

There ought to be a gvt. grant for nonprofits and public facilities to upgrade to disabled accessibility!

Bush want to throw big bucks at churches? FINE! HE can buy the blanketyblank elevator! A lousy hundred grand, and he wants EIGHTY SEVEN BILLION (that's 87 WTCs) MORE to urinate down that rat hole he dug?!?
[waste in Iraq?!?]

DANG it!

He's talking about JOBS??? How 'bout rebuilding the infrastructure of this country and making it accessible? Besides, if people could get INTO buildings, they could WORK in them!

I'm supposed to stand on a street corner with a tin cup, while these fat cats give away the store to their cronies?!?!

[I'm supposed to humiliate myself by publicly begging, while these spoiled, rich people give away our National wealth to their friends?!?!]

oooooo I'm mad! Sorry.

Our church had to burn DOWN before it got a dang ramp and an elevator! SHOOT!

I didn't curse. barely.

Sometimes, our collective stupidity as Americans just burns me UP! [frustrates me!]

Rogi~~resting my aching legs after not selling one thing at the Peace Fair tonight.
Clf-l mailing list

Friday, September 12, 2003


E-mail message
Date: Fri, Sep 12, 2003, 1:39pm
To: (List for Church of the Larger Fellowship members)
Subject: [Clf-l] This list

Yes, I left the list. I didn't like what I was saying to myself about being inadequate, a trouble-maker, shrill, inconsiderate, naive, etc.

I came back because about 6 of you emailed me privately about all kinds of stuff. It was getting too hard to write back 6 different replies. Much easier, I thought, if I just rejoin.

I think part of it is basic, UU bluntness: UUs just say what they think, most times. I'm out of practice, not having a church for over 10 years. When I was churched, I didn't mind it, considered it a normal part of getting things done.

But I've been hiding for a very long time -- especially from myself. It's been too painful to remember important parts of myself which I couldn't act upon: loving, volunteering, creating, discussing, working on community projects, writing liturgy and music, teaching kids, etc. I had to cut off so MUCH of myself, just to survive, I forgot who I was.

Now I find this list. You guys have been haggling it out for years; you've developed a level of familiarity and even intimacy which I haven't experienced in a VERY long time!

I want you to know that this list, you people, have been immediately and profoundly healing for me. I'm beginning to remember who I am, what I value and what I want -- instead of just what I need.

I've been online for about 5 years now. It has saved my sanity from total intellectual isolation. But mostly, it was a one-way street: either I was reading others' websites to which I couldn't reply, or I was writing articles and usenet posts to which others did not reply, or replied negatively.

Yesterday, I was so aggrevated with how remedial alt.discuss (usenet for MSNTV) is, I ALMOST closed ALL my newgroups: Philosophy, skepticism, antiwar, agnostic/UU, and my personal "kitchen table" group.

I came home from the Peace and Justice Center, from an IndyMedia meeting (my first) thinking about closing shop. I'm the ONLY one who provides these forums, and keeps them flame-free. It's HARD WORK.

And I get few posters. And too many of those are self-righteous "christian" fundamentalists and reactionaries who call me unAmerican, Communist, trailer trash, etc.

But, as I turned on the MSNTV, I found email from here that was supportive and validating. And I regained my courage.

Maybe my groups won't be as high a priority in my life as they've been in the past. I'm getting more involved in offline activism.

But I'm NOT going to pull them!

SOMEONE on MSNTV needs to "keep the flame." And several MSNTV users respect and appreciate my efforts.

But I credit this list for reminding me to strengthen my real self. Which is giving me the courage and energy to do what I believe in most.

Thank you,

Clf-l mailing list

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Wanna Help The Disabled? Get Out of the WAY!

Sent e-mail message

Subject: Re: More on Ayn Rand

Hunter said,

"Her points about the importance of work and earning one's living are in reference to able-bodied people. I think that most fiscally conservative minded people take for granted that assistance should always been offered to those who are disabled. It's the able-bodied, able-minded lazy that people don't like to pay for."

Disabled people often appreciate the importance of work and earning a living. Many of us don't want hand outs. Many of us could work, if society wasn't so prejudiced, unaccepting and unaccomodating.
The problem with assistance coming from temporarily able bodied people is that they generally don't have a clue what disabled people really need. They pre-set their agendas and the disabled damn well better conform to their standards or just disappear, the ingrates!

Attitudes are the real disabilities
As for the able bodied, able minded lazy people: those are the corporate welfare recipients, I assume, of which you speak (ala Cheney, Lay, et al)? Tax payers have been subsidizing their laziness for years and, thanks to globalization, it's going to get worse.

I've lived around those who receive food stamps, housing authority, aid to families with dependent children, etc for many years now. I have yet to meet a lazy one. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. We hustle for every dime and crumb.


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Class Warfare

thank you thank you thank you thank you!

I'm just now beginning to understand how my middle class upbringing: manners, opening doors, offering seats, not cursing or spitting (or, for women, smoking) in public, etc. no longer apply and make me appear "uppity" to "authorities" and get me the accusation, "you think you're better than us" from other poor people.

Since I moved to this neighborhood from the War Zone, I am SO surprised how deferential and polite the police are to me! I live on an alley. The bldg. at the end of the alley is "bachelor" apartments, supposedly for students. The place is infested with crack and whores. I've been attacked repeatedly, which I'm used to.

What I'm NOT used to is having the police INVESTIGATE the bldg. in question, and call me, "ma'am" when I'm out watering my garden in the empty lot between my bldg. and the problematic one! The police actually offer me their business cards here!

In the War Zone, they'd actually cover their badges, so I couldn't identify them to complain of their abusiveness and harrassment. I would call for assistance, when being robbed or threatened. The police attitude was, anybody living in the War Zone is either: criminal, crazy or stupid and deserves whatever the cops hand out!

You're really helping me clarify some stuff I just couldn't put my finger on before joining this list!

Poor People Just Don't Try Hard Enough

"Oh, it's just too hard. The poor are helpless and can't take care of themselves." The heck they can't. And the ones who do take action and start taking care of themselves won't be poor for long.

Since my employer stopped publishing, I've been sending out at least one resumé per week for two years. I've been going on job interviews locally at least once every 2 weeks.

The only way I could move would be to sell absolutely everything I own.

I moved here from KY 10 years ago. I ran a boarding house here, trying to get ahead. The city condemned it; I was evicted; the neighbors stole my checkbook and wiped out my bank acc't; my animals were killed; I ended up way out in the desert without a car at the mercy of a very sick family.

That was 10 months after the death of my baby.

I have worked 'til my feet were bleeding to try to get ahead. I'm in so much pain right now, from a 5 mi. walk on Monday to drag home 200 lbs. of cheap food for the month, from making my paper mache masks to sell at a "family peace fair' this weekend, that my body is literally screaming in pain and I can't lie still. I have to keep moving around to ease the pain. I don't know how I'll sleep tonight.

That's what I mean about how hard poor people work.

I ran a 10 minute errand today. It took a total of 3 hours, because the bus I needed to get there only runs once an hour.

I know people who collect aluminum, cardboard, etc. It's filthy, exhausting work. People on the streets attack us "trash pickers."

Your representation of that woman on NPR was unfair: you didn't mention, in your first post, that she is a drug addict. Addicts are not normal, healthy people. Their brains are disabled by addiction. They can't think straight. The ONLY thing that's really important to addicts is scoring more of the drug of choice. An addict is not able minded. An addict needs rehab.

This isn't an era of the so-called "American dream" anymore.

When I sell my crafts-made-of-trash on the streets of my city, I could be arrested at any moment. This is because I don't have enough money saved up to get a "peddler's license" and the small business registration and tax forms that would make me "legal." I'm a criminal, for trying to earn some money.

This isn't about self pity, depression, apathy, victim mentality. Every day, I get up and go at it all over again.

One of the excuses the city used to try to call my house a "nuisance" was the arts and crafts supplies and the used clothing and household items I'd trashed picked that were neatly stored in the 4 car garage of the boardng house.

Cop: "Why do you have these beer bottles in this bucket?"

Me: "I get them from my neighbor's trash. I'm soaking the labels off. I tie strings around them, soaked in kerosene. I light the strings, then dip the bottle in ice water. The bottle cracks into rings. I paint them, hang them from fishing line and make them into wind chimes."

Cop: "You have an answer for everything, don't you?"

Me: "I have answers for what I do and why, if that's everything."

Cop: "Smart assed bitch, ain't you?"

Me: silence.

2 hours later, I was homeless, being forced into the back of an ambulance for a psychiatric exam, and my animals (including chickens for eggs) were being loaded into animal control vehicles. They all died.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

I've Gotta Get BUSY!

I need to make a lot, more masks & other crafts, work on my blog, clean the house....

Both NBC and the Albuquerque Tribune have been reading my blogs!

I just spoke with this reporter from the Trib; she wants an interview. NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!!!

E-mail message

From: [deleted]@abqtrib.com ([name deltetd])

Date: Tue, Sep 9, 2003, 12:26pm

To: Rogi Riverstone

Subject: curious

Rogi Riverstone:
I am a reporter with the Albuquerque Tribune and I am trying to get in touch with you. I came across your "hoodlife" website and found it very interesting. I'm curious to know about how and why you started the website and what it means. I was hooked after reading only a few excerpts. Please call me at [number deleted].

Thank you for your time.

[name deleted], Tribune reporter

I have spent the morning covered in paint, shoe polish and paper mache glue/goop, making masks.

Now, I need to make even MORE, plus some more cat pillows! Puff Pant!

And, since I've been so busy anyway, this HOUSE is FILTHY!

And I need to resume both the 'hood and Viri Diana blogs!

I'm STILL gonna sit here and watch dumb ol' General Hospital for a measley hour.

I walked 5 miles yesterday in 5 hours and dragged 200 lbs. of food home. I could barely walk this morning!

Five stinky masks, wet with paint and goop, are grinning at me from around the living room. Can't set them outside, cuz it looks like rain. Thank HEAVENS it looks like rain, cuz I'm TOO BUSY TO WATER THE GARDEN! LOL

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Lyman T Johnson

I have to remember the people I've met.

People in the 'hood have often accused me of thinking I'm better than they.

I'm not better; I'm just fortunate.

I was watching one of my old video tapes, recorded in Louisville, KY. It was a late night movie. I preset the VCR and slept. So, the movie is recorded with commercials. This was recorded during Black History Month.

During one of the commercial breaks, there was a short public service announcement to commemorate Black History Month. I saw a brief bio and interview with Mr. Johnson.

My life isn't easy. It could be more comfortable, less frightening. When I'm not homeless, I'm worried about becoming homeless, for instance.

But I am not, nor can I ever comprehend the difficulties of being, in the shoes Mr. Johnson walked.

This was a brave, focussed, gallant man. He was truly TRULY a hero.

I'm very grateful that I met Mr. Johnson, and other heros. Most of them I've met in Kentucky, some in California, a few here. The latter is, no doubt, more my fault for giving up on connecting. I know there are heros here. It is my duty to find them.

Here is Lyman T Johnson. I believe everyone should meet him.

His book: Rest of the Dream: The Black Odyssey of Lyman Johnson.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Cosmic, Schmosmic!

Someone in a newsgroup said I've saved my video tapes over the years for A Reason, and that something Cosmic "gave" me that VCR. That was a mistake! Here's my reply:

You can believe as you choose. But don't interpret my life by your faith.

I carried those tapes, waiting for an opportunity to replace my VCR.

I picked the trash. There wasn't anything cosmic about it.

My life, in my experience, improves when I have the resourcefulness, intelligence, insight and determination to take opportunities as they come.

I got the VCR. In spite of neighbors' nasty looks as I picked trash, in spite of a very limited income.

There were no angels, no fairies, no elves, no leprechauns....I found the VCR, because I was smart enough to go trash picking and dignified enough not to give a rat's patootie what others thought of me for doing it.

I have furnished my entire home by trash picking. I sold trash to pay for my webtv.

I am a practical, pragmatic, resourceful person. No cosmic intervention rescues me in times of crisis or any other time. I work my bloody tail off to keep a roof over my head and maintain a better standard of living than my economic "peers."

My immigrant neighbors in The War Zone called me, "La Rica," the Rich Lady. I had to laugh; they had more income than I, but my life was rich and full and theirs was shallow and superficial. They were in debt to rent-to-own rip offs, auto dealers, etc. so they could LOOK middle class. They squandered small fortunes, every weekend, on beer and drugs. They had pizzas delivered and bought $2.00 burritos on their food stamps.

I drove 2 old clunkers and wore thrown-out shoes and ate home-made pate and truffles, made from the crap the food pantries dole out.

I had Beethoven, Van Gogh and Walt Whitman; they had Brittney Spears, Budwiser signs and National Enquirer.

Now, you CAN make the argument that my intelligence is a gift. I certainly don't believe my intelligence is something I did or achieved; I was born with it. That's why we're called, "gifted:" because nobody can explain where it comes from or why it exists.

But, it could also be a genetic mutation.

I know other, intelligent poor people. We're not poor because we're lazy, stupid or cowardly.

But, for the most part, my quality of life is superior even to my middle class neighbor, next door, right now, who, right this minute is getting as high on cocaine, marijuana and beer as he can on his day off. He lives in a hovel, surrounded by trash and confusion. He earns $30/hr., is physically able bodied, owns 3 cars, has a college degree. But he's more disabled, immobilized and imprisoned by poverty than I'll ever be, because his mind is a mess.

Four days off a week, three vehicles, $300/day take home, and he never goes anywhere or does anything. He gets drunk and high!

I'm sorry. But when "god" or whatever magical force is given credit for MY hard work, I get angry.

There's an old joke, among Lesbians. Black woman gives her partner an orgasm. Partner is screaming, "Oh, God! Oh, Jesus!" The woman thinks: "typical, another White guy, gettin' credit for a colored woman's work!" That's from a poem by Pat Parker.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

My Movies

Oh, the Universe has finally taken pity on me! I went trash picking this morning, on my way to buy dog & cat food. It was looking like a bust. I did find good shelving for my living window, for my plants this winter. Even found shelf brackets.

I take different streets to and from the store, so I have more trash to pick.

Porkchop and I were almost home when I found it: a VCR! I almost left it. But, on second check, I realized it was a recent model, in perfect cosmetic condition. I looked at the house and the other trash. These people were affluent. I bet they'd gotten a DVD player and tossed the VCR.

I got it home and found I can control everything from a set of buttons, hidden behind a little panel.

Plugged it in to the TV. I'm watching "Broadcast News:" one of my favorite movies of all time. My favorite part is on, right now. I'll quote it in a minute.

For over five years, I haven't been able to watch my movies. No cable, of course, cuz I think my webtv bill is more important, and sacrifice just to pay that every month.

Little Women! Glory! Nell! Fried Green Tomatoes! Corina! Mind Walk!

I've dragged these poor beat up tapes with me everywhere I've gone, hoping for a functioning VCR.

I have another vcr. But it eats tapes. I only use it as the thing to connect my webtv to its tv monitor.

I'm going to find that quote!

Here's the script to "Broadcast News:" http://blake.prohosting.com/awsm/script/broadc_news.html.


Sitting in groups of three -- NEWS TEAM from around the country, remarkably similar in comparison...a great looking woman, good looking man (either young or attractively avuncular) and a Black or Hispanic. They still APPLAUD -- not yet having grasped the sincerity of Jane's plea which she presses with more urgency.

[this part was editted out of final movie]
Please. Don't!!
(she yells)
I gathered these pieces as an example of what's WRONG with local television news.

The applause stops.

The excerpts from THREE SEPARATE SERIES on prostitution were SIMULTANEOUSLY broadcast by all stations in one city during sweeps week. By what bend of either or suspension of duty is that broadcast news?

[resuming movie]
She pauses half a beat for possible applause -- hearing none, she continues. An anchorman sneezes -- four people shout "gesundheit" simultaneously -- they laugh.

[edited out]
The legacy of Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid, William Shirer, David Brinkley and Walter Cronkite is being squandered in a desperate popularity contest.

Our profession is in danger:

As Jane continues, REVEALING that the news team now have even more in common. They do not like Jane.

Yesterday's compliment has somehow managed to become today's kiss of death. To be considered a serious journalist is no longer flattering. It presents the risk of being labeled ponderous, or worse yet, elitest, right?


Women playing with their hair, young man bored...one middle-aged anchorman fusses with a spot on his tie...

Briefly departing from text.
All of you know what I'm talking about.
We're all trying to act together than we are. But we care. So, we're all secretly terrified, aren't we?
Not a peep -- she is thrown but doggedly presses on with her prepared speech though her throat constricts a bit, her voice begins to rasp.
We are being increasingly influenced by the star system. The network anchormen are so powerful they compromise our last best hope. The current group is clearly qualified, tied still to our best traditions, but who follows these men?
Seated with other members of his news team, a young blonde woman whose hand is resting on his inner leg, a good looking Hispanic. Tom feels a growing excitement -- Jane is not just a speaker, she seems a savior.
His female colleague looks at him.
Oh, I've known so many women like that. They don't like their looks so they're angry.
Fumbling with her cards, sunk but game -- gamer than she would wish.
I was going to talk about other trends but...
...the magazine shows, news at profit, [here's the part I love. they added "the historical"]influence of Entertainment Tonight, the danger, the hope, the dream, the question...Oh, I was going to show you a tape -- a story that was carried by all networks on the same night -- the same night -- not one network noted a major policy change in Salt Two nuclear disarmament talks... Here's what they ran instead...Go ahead. Show the tape.
Showing the Japanese Domino Championships as broadcast by all networks in the Spring of 1985. It is quite spectacular -- the dominoes falling into one another provoking waves, crossing tiny bridges, setting off little fireworks. JANE'S AUDIENCE applauds loudly and squeals with delight.
Jane between the two monitors. She begins to speak loudly OVER the AUDIENCE NOISES of approval.
I know it's good film. I know it's fun. I like fun. It's just not news.
(as they continue
to applaud)
Well, you're lucky you love it -- you're going to get a lot more just like it.
Jane sitting rocked into momentary catatonia, by the event. Dazed as an animal stung by a tranquilizer dart. She takes some irregular breaths waiting for normal life to return."

This movie came out in the '80s. I thought broadcasting was bad then. This scene was prophetic.

Wanna hear a "guilty pleasure" sound file from the movie? Go to my Site Map page and wait for the sound file to load. It's me...it's really me. shhh...that's a secret.

Another favorite quote:

I know you care about him. I've never seen you like this about
anyone, so please don't take it
wrong when I tell you that I believe that Tom, while a very nice guy, is
the Devil.

This isn't friendship.

What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he's around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a
long, red, pointy tail. No. I'm semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing...he will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance... Just a tiny bit. And he will talk about all of us really being salesmen.
(seeing he's not
reaching her)
And he'll get all the great`women.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Labor Day

An email to a friend with an abusive boss:

Dear Heidi,

The economy of the USA and, I dare say, most of the planet by now, has been based on the exploitation of the underpriviledged to provide weath to the priviledged. That's not Communism; that's a fact. Our workplaces are still peppered with the idioms and mentalities of slavery!

I posted information on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, all around MSNTV newsgroups, this morning. http://newdeal.feri.org/library/d_4m.htm Most of my fellow MSNTV users are unaware that their overtime (soon to be stripped by the current administration), child labor laws, beneifits, workers' compensation, disability insurance, work week restrictions, etc. can be credited directly to this event.

These were desperately poor, uneducated, illiterate immigrant women, mostly Jewish.

For years, these brave, young women, and their rural, Christian, American-born compatriots in "mill towns" and sweat shops had been speaking up to explain their working conditions were lethal. They were, of course, fired in droves, harrassed, beaten.

The Triangle fire was the 9/11 WTC of its day. The falling bodies broke holes in the sidewalks!

You are a good and loving person. You deserve to earn a meal, a roof and a coat without constant torture.

One step at a time, you can extricate yourself from this hateful, evil, toxic situation.

Just do a little, every day. Answer one classified ad. Mail out one resume. Make one phone call.

These are hard times: our jobs are being shipped offshore to places like India, where they're being taught American English, to work as Customer Service representatives for huge corporations, like phone, Internet Service Provider and other companies.

Our unions are being "busted." The recession here is creating huge lines at food pantries (two MILLION people, in Ohio alone, are waiting on lines for food donations now!).

The fault is not with you. The whole environment for working people is creating a climate of panic, fear, paranoia and abdication.

I realize how soul draining all this is. I realize you probably come home exhausted by it.

But you MUST put a tiny bit of energy into escaping! "Shawshank Redemtion:" he digs his way out of prison one scratch at a time.
You know that song, "Inch by inch, row by row, I'm gonna make my garden grow?"

That's what I'm doing with my writing and my arts and crafts, the loves of my life. And it's beginning to work! I just got offered a small job. I work independently, from my home, with a cat on my lap and a cup of coffee at my side! In my UNDERWEAR, on hot days! :)

My neighbor is a cocaine addict and an alcoholic. He literally SCREAMS obscenities, racial eptithets and other, toxic, hateful, disgusting stuff. He's five feet from my sofa! It's horrible!

Every day, when he puts on his loud stereo, gets high and drunk and puts on his "show," I start working on my crafts. I close the windows and door (even though my air conditoner is broken) and work on my writing.
Every day, I tell myself, I'm one inch closer to being weathy enough I could BUY this property and throw him in the streets, if I wanted to! I don't want to, but you get the picture.

He's cruel and dangerous. The property manager will do nothing, as no other neighbors besides me have complained. He either buys them: beer, drugs and groceries, or he intimidates them into silence.

So, I am working my way out of it.

I will help you any way I can: moral support, researching employment opportunities for which you can apply, whatever.

You are not crazy. You are not a coward. You are not being hypersensitive.

You are right to want to leave. And you are right not to endulge the impulse to just run out of there and torch the place.

Inch by inch. Row by row.

We'll help you.

Best wishes,


end snip

Here's a hero of mine: Mother Jones