Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Daybreak Stroll in Dithyrambia

From time to time I will search the webs for anything dithyrambunctious or more properly dithyrambic in style or spirit. One item of dithyrambic curiosity is a screen print of mixed media called, Dithyrambic Aspirations by Bret Pfeifer. This work is housed on the Office of Urban Air conditioning. There are on-going essays by Aaron Jones about what defines success, terra impenetrabilis or surfaces of our paved planet, our relationship with fossils and their fuels, urbanity's siren sell to affluent suburbanites, and predatory neglect in the inner city. His art echoes the themes of his essays although my favorite of his work is "Berber Woman." Speaking of Berber... I just bought a used copy of The Seven Addictions and Five Professions of Anita Berber: Weimar Berlin's Priestess of Depravity (Paperback).

My first question to Bret Pfeifer was about his use of Dithyrambic for the title, and how he defines dithyrambic.

The title 'Dithyrambic Aspirations' comes directly from my own creative process. I seem to have a never ending flow of creative aspirations that remain stagnant due to new more exciting thoughts, ideas, projects. It is as if the creativity feeds on itself in a cyclical process never producing any real product. Once I understood this I began to revel in the process of creativity rather than the final product.

Life is dithyrambic, it is a continuos flow of the unexpected, never ceasing. In this case creativity is dithyrambic, flowing without regard for anything else but the creative process.

When my eyes sank into the piece, Dithyrambic Aspirations, my first impressions that it works visually and feels like a comment about business or urbanity with what looks like high-rises, date stamps of 2008, and what could chemical reactions. I wondered what Bret was trying to accomplish with this piece.

"I am an architect by trade so the building-like forms refer to my 'creative profession'. Architecture is seemingly very creative....but to me, it is one of the creative endeavors that holds back the development of one of my ideas, thoughts or projects. Architecture is one of the only creative processes in which a real tangible product is delivered, although, throughout the 'process' of architecture the original idea is so tainted by the real-world constraints that the creative process removed.
The date stamp refers to the idea actually setting a date and developing one of these ideas into its mature potential. This of course diminishes the importance of the 'process' and places that importance on the product, which kills the creativity.
This piece is partly me as an artist making piece with the fact that creativity and commerce are directly in conflict, to pursue one depreciates the other. I would much rather retain the creative process.

I would like to thank Bret for graciously answering my questions. We will be sure to let you know when his website goes up. I wish him well.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Lunch in Dresden

In the Summer of 1984, one of the places I stopped was Dresden, Germany for lunch after a tour of the city. The tour was punctuated with the tour guides judgmental snarl, "This was BOMBED by the AMERICANS!" We were a bus of 60 American kids that were in the late teens, born in the mid or late 1960s. It was a real temptation to take it personally, but excuse me for saying at the time, "We were not even born yet, give us a friggin break!" We would get similar sentiments from another East German tour guide on our tour of East Berlin. She would claim that they left the ruined buildings up as a monument to the Allied bombings. Right.

What I remember of lunch was that they had this liqueur, digestif of sorts that smelled like it could run a car. Don't get me wrong, I love liqueur, especially lithuanian honey liqueur, or rasberry liqueur. A tiny sip confirmed that I had no business with the stuff and I handed it over to one of the guys on the tour that seemed less discriminating. Passing on the digestif would happen in Prague. It just seemed to be the right thing to do.

The East German guides did have a point. Our country did firebomb the hell out of Dresden. In fact I was reading Vonnegut on the trip and he actually spent time in a bunker while it happened. It was horrific. In 1984, we had Reagan as President who was certainly hawkish and calling the Soviet Union the Evil Empire. The thing is, despite the verbal digs, they needed our cash and so they let us in.

My story of my short time in Dresden came up when I thought of artist Otto Dix, an expressionist from Dresden. I bring up Otto Dix, because he is a great example of how art was affected by World War I. Dix was also a part of was called by the facists as degenerate art, which I prefer. Otto Dix comes up because there is a show I want to go to, but can't, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art called, Shell Shocked: Expressionism After the Great War, Today.
Extraordinarily resilient, German Expressionism was profoundly changed by World War I (1914-1918), which first enthralled and then devastated the “generation of 1914” throughout Europe. The young German artists initially welcomed the “Great War” as a grand adventure. But this euphoria soon yielded to pacifism and outright political protest in opposition to a war that was taking a heavy toll in such unprecedented battles of attrition as the Somme and Verdun. Departing from the arcadian landscapes and anguished probing of the individual psyche of early Expressionism, artists now conveyed political protest and communal utopia visions of a new humanity.
These artists lived through WWI and were surrounded by maimed vets, war widows, economic decline, and the whole world punishing them for the war itself. Dismemberment, distortion, death, and destruction were familiar to these artists and they faced it head on in their work. The work is often described as grotesque, but it is really is a time where all you had left was to portray the world how it felt to many. There is a German proverb, "“A great war leaves the country with three armies - an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Unlocking The Heart of Adoption

It has been a wonderful experience being friends with Sheila Ganz, who is a birth mother and filmmaker extraordinaire. I had the pleasure of working on the website of her first film, Unlocking the Heart of Adoption, for about 7-8 years. Unlocking the Heart of Adoption is essential viewing for anyone who is adopted, adopting, planning to adopt, or has relinquished or plans to relinquish a child to adoption. This film unflinchingly deals with experiences in adoption that do exist, but are not found in most adoption films.

You must go to her website and for as little as $39.95 buy the DVD for yourself or for friends you know that are touched or want to be touched by adoption.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Bastard Fairies: We Are All Going to Hell

Warning this song does contain profanity. Pause if this offends you. These folk are called Bastard Fairies, an indy band. I am liking their version of "Brand New Key" with the ukelele band.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Don't Trust Anyone Making $250,000 or more...

Think Progress found this little gem on CNBC. It seems to this particular anchor that this AIG problem cannot be solved by those making less than $250,000. I know a lot of smart, experienced people who have been laid off who would love to be making $100-150k a year right now. Many are settling for jobs that make 12 bucks an hour, so I am sure AIG and these ruined companies can get help. It seems to me and a lot of folks that it was people making more than $250,000 that got us into this mess in the first place. It is clear from the past year, we cannot trust these people who make more than $250,000 with our public dollars. They have to earn back our trust.

We, taxpayers, sacrificed and gave them bailout money to fix the problem they created and they turned around and gave 218 Million dollars in bonuses (and gave Paulson's ex-employer Goldman Sachs $12.6 billion). The money can go to salaries for people to work through the problem, but times of high salaries and bonuses are over. The time for slipping billions to your friends are over. When the government owns 80% of you, it is time to get paid like a government worker. To say no one would take these jobs is false.

It is time to make an ultimatum to those who still work at these corporate welfare queens that they work for the taxpayer now. If they do not want their jobs, then there are plenty of people who will take their places. We can hire a lot of smart people for the price of one, overpriced and over hyped executive with entitlement issues. Maybe it is time for them to stand in the unemployment line and feel the pain that their choices inflicted upon the world, and let the rest of us take their places.

People have been accusing Obama as wanting to redistribute wealth while we have been witnessing the greatest redistribution of wealth to financial, energy, and military contractors in the past 8 years. It is time to redistribute it the other way for the best interest of our country.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dithyrambicology: Historical Dithyrambic

"In Paris appeared The Black Book, a novel by Lawrence Durrell, who gave promise of outdoing Henry Miller in the form that admirers call the dithyrambic novel and that others call plain old-fashioned pornography." - Time Magazine, Dithyrambic Sex, Monday, Nov. 21, 1938

Quote of the Day

Bacchus, n.: A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk.
Ambrose Bierce

Aristophanes, The Frogs

Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax,
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax!
We children of the fountain and the lake
Let us wake
Our full choir-shout, as the flutes are ringing out,
Our symphony of clear-voiced song.
The song we used to love in the Marshland up above,
In praise of Dionysus to produce,
Of Nysaean Dionysus, son of Zeus,
When the revel-tipsy throng, all crapulous and gay,
To our precinct reeled along on the holy Pitcher day,
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
That is right, Mr. Busybody, right!
For the Muses of the lyre love us well;
And hornfoot Pan who plays
on the pipe his jocund lays;
And Apollo, Harper bright,
in our Chorus takes delight;
For the strong reed's sake
which I grow within my lake
To be girdled in his lyre's deep shell.
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
Ah, no! ah, no!
Loud and louder our chant must flow.
Sing if ever ye sang of yore,
When in sunny and glorious days
Through the rushes and marsh-flags springing
On we swept, in the joy of singing
Myriad-diving roundelays.
Or when fleeing the storm, we went
Down to the depths, and our choral song
Wildly raised to a loud and long
Bubble-bursting accompaniment.
All the same we'll shout and cry,
Stretching all our throats with song,
Shouting, crying, all day long,


It's All About the Frogs

A tesla coil can make a frog levitate. It is probably not as fun as it looks.

Conventional Wisdom hath said "a frog can be boiled alive if the water is heated slowly enough—it is said that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will never jump out." Not true. Frogs are smarter than that and will jump out. This untruth has been used to describe us humans who will slowly poison our earth, and only react when disaster happens. Could frogs be smarter than humans?

Apparently George W. Bush had a taste for torture that predates his presidency -- frog torture, and crows are no better.

How to make Origami Frogs and a japanese frog shop.

Bored? Frogcam.

Peace Frogs has a pretty cool franchise idea, for 30k they can set you up with a vw van that is painted groovy and is a retail store. Cool way to live if you didn't have froglets.

The Frog Store is around just in time for my birthday! Your garden needs Garden Frogs! Wear Frog T-shirts! Human-sized copper frogs.Enter Frog Nirvana.


Buddhadeva Bose

The rains have come, and the frogs are full of glee.
They sing in chorus, with voices loud and lusty,
They sing in primeval joy:
There is nothing but fear today, neither hinger nor death.
Nor the wanton stones of fate.

Cloud-like the grasses thicken,
And in the fields the clear eaters stand,
And the care-free hours of the day
Are passed in insolent singing.

In the sensual rain there is ecstasy of touch.
How luscious is the mud, how young, how soft!

They are neckless, though their throats are swollen;
They are embodiment of the song's seventh pitch.

O what sleek bodies-cloud like yellow and green!
Eyes staring upwards in glassy transparence,
Like the sombre stare of a mystic
Seeking God, in deep meditation.

The rain is ceased, the shadows aslant.
Hymn-like rises their singing, solemn in silent skies.

As the day pants and dies, the loud shrillness faints,
And the darkness is pierced with a sleep-begetting monophonic

It is midnight. We have closed our doors and are comfortably in bed.
And the stillness is broken by a single tireless voice.
It is the final sloka of the mystic chanting.
The croak, croak croak of the last lonely frog.

If you "Go Galt", I'll "Go Marx"

Just so you know I am not in the habit of criticizing books I haven't read. I do make an exception for Ayn Rand's books. Throughout my life I have run into fans of "Fountain Head" and "Atlas Shrugged" who breathlessly tell me about how they love the books and how Ayn Rand blew their mind and inspired them to be objectivist libertarians. For awhile there, my hubby and I belonged to a political discussion group with some of these rabid fans. From what we were able to gather, Ayn has constructed fiction that rationalizes greed and social Darwinism. If you are unable to make economically optimum choices for yourself, or accumulate wealth at others expense, then you deserve to be poor and become a leech on society. In this fantasy world, there is a class of highly productive, creative wealthy people who are victims of those who are not. These people decide to go into hiding to avoid an oppressive government. Taxation to the Galtists is slavery.

Taxation to me means I am making money. Good thing. I am glad to make money so I can hopefully help pay to keep our government going.

When you talk to these people they completely ignore that they thoughtlessly take advantage of government they despise so much. Individuals and commerce depend on safe roads, public safety, drug and food safety, our military, our educational system, and our infrastructure. This all costs money. They some how think that individuals or the private sector will take care of all of these things. You can fill volumes about the failures of individuals or the private sector to do the right thing and take care of the needs of our country. The market has failed this country over and over because they are concerned more about profit than the best interests of their fellow citizens or our country. Individual consumers are powerless to change private markets, but citizens can press their governments to regulate markets in their favor. This is why we need to regulate markets and tax citizens to pay people to enforce regulations.

Now that Obama is president, there is a movement of "Going Galt" because they see that Obama is taking away money from the talented and giving it to the unsuccessful. They claim that the bailout is what gets them angry and I am angry about that too. I am angry we have to bailout a greed-motivated system of booms and busts run by people who are culture says are the creative job making elite who deserve tax breaks.

Where we disagree is the Galtists do not want government to invest in our infrastructure, our people, and our future. They rely on this fantasy that private markets are the answer to everything, even if it was private markets who caused this disaster. If government did anything wrong is that they listened to the Galtists in holding back needed regulation to keep private markets from self-imploading.

I believe objectivism based on the old Calvinist and Social Darwinist individualism hurts our country, because it is based on fantasy. It institutionalizes greed over the common good creating a nation of winners and losers that has little to do with merit.

None of us pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. We all get where we are with the help of others. We deliver our goods on roads and bandwidth paid for by our tax dollars. We stay healthy by paying people to check the safety of our drugs and food. We get whatever skills from our teachers, and are protected by our police officers and fire fighters. What we decide to pool our money for tells the world and history what kind of people we are. Government is us, it doesn't seem like it is because citizens are not doing their jobs keeping our government in check.

Rich people are no better than poor people. In fact, people who are not rich often are far more productive, creative, and resourceful than rich people. Without workers, rich people would have no means in delivering the products that make them rich. Without workers, rich people would have bad lawns, dirty houses, and would have to parent their own children.

We are all human beings who should be able to have the dignity of shelter, health care, food, education, and if they can - work. Our country is healthy when more people get a part of the economic pie instead of the wealth being hoarded by the top 1%. We need more socialism that works for all the people. If we go on strike, we need to strike for worker's rights and fight for our tax dollars to be spent investing in the American people. We need to spend our taxes on education, health care, infrastructure, renewable energy, science, and art.

What we spend on is who we are.

One of My Favorite Local Bands: Broun Fellinis

The coolest, grooviest, most chocolate-fabulous jazz trio on this planet is the Broun Fellinis. I have seen this group in concert a couple of times and have been blown away each time. I own albums and try to expose the spawn to it whenever I can. They play locally in San Francisco and the East Bay occasionally and we recently missed a gig at the Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco. We hope to catch them in live when we can get someone to watch the spawn.

So buy their albums! See their shows! Just hang out and let their myspace site play in the background while you blog and sip Cellar No.8 Cabernet with notes of chocolate, tobacco, and leather.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What They Deserve

The Hill article, "AIG staff: We deserve this money," quoted a source saying,
"“Quants,” the people who put together the computer-programmed algorithms behind the complicated hedges and trades that brought down the company, pushed back hard against any notion they should sacrifice their bonuses"

These people who have made enough money never to work again, do not deserve anything. They may want those bonuses, but they surely do not deserve them and certainly did not earn them. The whole notion of being deserving or feeling entitled has gotten us in this mess in the first place. Feeling entitled or deserving leads to a dangerous hubris that gives us permission to make bad deals, loans, trades that put our economy in peril. They had emerged from biz school believing the hype about themselves as golden children who were the brains behind wealth generation, when it is really the fact that it was the everyday worker who creates and buys real products and services that run an economy.

These Quants and their ilk kill jobs, wreck local economies, drain public coffers, and then try to tell us how indespensible they are in fixing the mess so we should pay them millions to stay on.

The MBAs who only bring companies their complex schemes to skim wealth via bonuses for the short term leaving the company weak or non-existent in the long term have nothing to offer our economy but ruin. They are the ones who layoff workers, lose money for shareholders, and basically mismanage the company without a notion of consequences because they know that they will always get a golden parachute. Bonuses used to be used to reward behavior that made the company stronger. Bonuses were for when a company was doing well and was a gesture to recognize the employee's contribution toward that end.

All the economic failures that have come to pass were very, very predictable and was predicted long before it happened but was drowned out by the mainstream media, Wall Street, and all the "experts" in bed with this broken system. If they had any sense at all everyone who brought this about knew very well this economic collapse would happen, but didn't care because they knew they would emerge from the dust wealthy. They do not care about our country nor do they understand our sacrifice as tax payers in bailing them out.

I want names released of these people who feel that in the face of their overwhelming failure that they deserve anything. What they do deserve and completely earn is a public shaming as crooked failures. They failed and continue to fail our country. They are not golden children who create wealth but drain it. The Quants and those like them need to be publically paraded in dunce caps and sandwich signs with their economic sins scrawled on them and which they would have to recite before angry crowds. They deserve to be poster children for the failure of all the crap that has been taught in business schools the past twenty years or so.

Our culture needs to stop worshipping unrestrained capitalists who transfer wealth upwards, leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab for their adventures.

As 80% owner of AIG I believe that these people owe AIG all of their bonuses, and if they are allowed to work to fix the problem they do so working off all the ill-got funds they recieved. If not, there are plenty of intelligent and hardworking people who have lost their jobs because of these people who can step in and fix it.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mother Maven Haven is Now Life Dithyrambic

For the longest time, have been wearing the title Mother Maven, but did not really fit me and not so much the blog. This blog about religion, politics, global warming, eco-friendly stuff, natural beauty, culture, art, the religious right, creationism, evolution, birth control, motherhood, neo-puritanical ethos, feminism, pop culture, and wine deserved a more descriptive and evocative name.

So I became inspired by my Myspace persona Baccus Croakus, and the title of Life Dithyrambic. I am not sure what it says about me when I hide behind a persona of a 102 year old male frog who likes wine.

I was inspired by Aristophanes, The Frogs, my fascination with Dionysus (my name Denise is a variant of Dionysus and means "wine-goddess"), my interest in Ancient Greece, and my appreciation of frogs as symbolism. Dithyramb is an ancient Greek hymn to Dionysus, but it is also defined as, "wildly enthusiastic speech or piece of writing."

Dionysus is a curious Greco-Roman diety not only that he is a god of wine, fertility, frenzy, and theater but his birth story of being "twice born." Being adopted I can relate to the whole idea of being twice born.

If I have a spirit animal it would be a Frog. Frogs as totem spirits recognize the purifying effect of rain, water, and tears. I love rain, fog, and misty days and how the moisture turn things green and mossy.

Frog spirits are all about empathy as frogs are known easily take in things from their thin skins. Ever since I was a little girl I could imagine and feel the pain of others. My days doing theater called on those skills. One reason I left the 8 year gig at Voices of Adoption was that I was internalizing all the poingnant stories I dealt with over the years. Imagining lives of others and having such empathy makes me a flaming liberal.

Frogs live double lives in water and on land. I have always needed to live by water on coasts, and as an adopted person I am influenced by dual heritages -- living a double life in limbo. Frogs are all about thier fertility and creativity. Frog people are often artists.

Frogs are also about transformation or metamorphasis. I have always been open to change and reinvention.Frogs see many directions at once. Being open to change and being able to take in information from a wide spectrum of places is very frog-like.

Frogs are associated with the color green. My favorite color is green-- all shades of green. My house is green and our rooms are painted either green or blue.

The Chinese see the frog as symbolizing the Moon, good luck and healing - a lunar yin. The Early Christians saw Frogs as symbols of the Holy Trinity (due to their three stages of life) and that they symbolize ressurrection as it does each Spring. Frog totems are known to bring protection to children and bring pleasant dreams.

Welcome to this pond teaming with dynamic and delicious dithyrambic dharma talks and dionysian musings. Grab a lilly and stay awhile.