to do list

envision : nap : whisper : laugh : caress : sing : love : consider : hug : create : wonder
but above all

Traveling Hopefully

"Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."

-Arundhati Roy

Friday, December 11, 2009



Contact: Elias Martinez (559) 999-4964 and Ianna Owen (570) 977-0487

This morning, on the fifth and final day of a weeklong “Open University” held at UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall, University of California Police stormed into the building around 5am, arresting 65 people without provocation, witnesses said.

“People were not given a final warning – police burst in while people were sleeping and immediately started locking doors and arresting people. Many students have papers due today, and finals to take starting tomorrow,” said Elias Martinez, an undergraduate from Political Science. “There had been cops in here all week, they were acting like it was okay. We had no idea.”

The police raid at UC Berkeley came one day after students participating in an occupation at San Francisco State University, also railing against budget cuts to public education, were arrested by SFSU Police at 3am.

Douglas Virgos, an undergraduate student, spent the night in the UC Berkeley building but then left on a food run in the early morning. “I got back and saw that the police had put handcuffs on the doors. I was there all night and never heard police tell us we had to leave.”

Students and faculty supporters who gathered on the scene shortly after raid alerts went out say they saw the students, some of them without shoes and wearing only their underwear, being loaded onto Alameda County Sheriff’s buses headed to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

“We’ll be shuttling people out there all day on caravans to do jail support and camp out there until the protesters are released,” said Melissa Barker, an undergraduate of Interdisciplinary Studies and parent. “The fact that the cops drove 65 people all the way to Dublin makes me think that the charges will be way more than misdemeanor trespassing. We’re worried, but we’ll do everything it takes to support our folks. We’ll be there all weekend if it takes.”

Students have been holding public events, including teach-ins on the UC budget, study-ins, and live music shows as part of a “Live Week” of Open University events since Monday.

The week of events was scheduled to end with a free concert in Wheeler Hall, where the Oakland-based political hip hop artist, Boots Riley, would perform tonight.

“We are going to proceed with the event today, and this show will be larger than ever. We’ll continue to organize with students from other schools and build a worldwide movement of students fighting to retain and expand public education,” said a student who withheld their name, fearing university reprisals. “The police attack only makes us angrier.”

Occupation Maintenance Council on Facebook
UC Strike web site

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

John Lennon: October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980

Children don't create this reality. We bring them into it. What they ultimately do as they grow is what they learn to do from us. They are possibility and potential. They are still free. Something I was thinking about on this anniversary of John Lennon's death. - Cat ☮

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Alexandros is every child.

When each of us matters, the whole community is as outraged as a mom or dad, an aunt or uncle, sister or brother. We have grown used to a society where no one really matters, except to those closest to small insignificant one should matter to everyone. People are news, not individuals who each had a life.

When Alexandros was 15 and was murdered by the police, my nephew was 15 and alive. This made it very personal for me as I began to study my nephew throughout the month his face, his thoughts...thinking about 15-year-olds and their dreams and how very young they are. And though I am a pacifist, all I could think of was what if it was my nephew? I began to think violence is justified. I was confused. I understand better how people can become confused. I think if someone killed my nephew, I could kill them. And if I didn't kill them, I could surely burn down everything they stood for. I am still a pacifist. Those who participated in the uprising, they heal my heart as an aunt. They say this child mattered. Every child matters. Every person. Every life.

Love in the Ruins of Democracy - The Greek Uprising of 2008 - by Tolstoy's Cat

On the evening of Saturday December 6th, 2008 the police shot and killed 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos and left him for dead. Today is the anniversary of the 2008 Greek Uprising, which started with the death of this young anarchist boy and ended with Athens and other cities in flames after over a month of insurrection.

Love in the Ruins of Democracy - The Greek Uprising of 2008 - Blogcritics Politics

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Silas...

Your birthday begins with a magic trick...

Next, of course, is a Jesus birthday joke...

Then, I am making you an honorary anarchist! To make it official here is your anarcake...

To wrap up your birthday, a dance, featuring a surprise encore performance...

Happy Birthday! Have a good time! ♥

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

IWW Interviews Noam Chomsky

"The editor of the Industrial Worker, Diane Krauthamer, spoke to Noam Chomsky at his MIT office in Cambridge, MA, on October 9th, 2009."

Inspired by b9AcE...

all you need is love...
(click photo)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The War on Kids

Someone just passed it along to me. The documentary just opened in NYC. I will review this after my torrent downloads (maybe). Meantime, a press release and a repost of the NYT review follow. If you'd like to have the film, you can buy a copy from

Press Release:

The award-winning feature documentary, THE WAR ON KIDS, launches a nationwide grassroots screening tour that will bring the debate about public education to dozens of campuses and communities nationwide.

In 95 minutes, THE WAR ON KIDS exposes the many ways the public school system has failed children and our future by robbing students of all freedoms due largely to irrational fears. Children are subjected to endure prison-like security, arbitrary punishments, and pharmacological abuse through the forced prescription of dangerous drugs. Even with these measures, schools not only fail to educate students, but the drive to teach has become secondary to the need to control children. Not only do school fall short of their mission to educate, but they erode the country’s democratic foundation and often resemble prisons.

School children are interviewed as are high school teachers and administrators, and prison security guards, plus renowned educators and authors including:

Henry Giroux: Author of Stealing Innocence Corporate Culture's War on Children
Mike A. Males: Sociologist, author of Scapegoat Generation
John Gatto: New York City and New York State Teacher of the Year
Judith Browne: Associate Director of the Advancement Project
Dan Losen: The Civil Liberties Project, Harvard University
The New York Times review:

The War on Kids
November 18, 2009
What Ails Public Schools? Better Ask, What Doesn’t?
Published: November 18, 2009

A shocking chronicle of institutional dysfunction, “The War on Kids” likens our public school system to prison and its disciplinary methods to fascism. At least now you know why little Johnny won’t get out of bed in the morning.

Arranged in sections that range from merely interesting to downright horrifying, this provocative documentary suggests a system regulated by fear and motivated by the desire to control. Tracing the evolution and application of zero-tolerance policies on drugs and violence, the director, Cevin Soling, amasses overwhelming evidence of institutional overreaction. When an 8-year-old can be suspended for pointing a chicken finger and saying “Pow,” we know that common sense has officially left the building.

Impassioned interviews with educators, authors and medical professionals — and some very perceptive students — warn of the consequences of surrounding children daily with armed security guards and surveillance cameras.

“They don’t really prevent anything; they just take pictures of it,” says Jessica Botcher, a student at Columbine High School. Those pictures, however, are electrifying: an armed SWAT team terrorizing high school students in South Carolina; a tiny, terrified girl being handcuffed by burly police officers. Offering neither balance nor solutions (a segment on the overuse of medications like Ritalin is especially powerful, but especially in need of counterargument), “The War on Kids” questions what kind of citizens we are producing. Parent or child-free, we all have a dog in that particular fight.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Daniel Parker's Reply to Free Market Anarchism and Private Property

(Editorial note: This was a response by Daniel Parker to an individual. I've generalized the comment. --Cat)

I'm an anarchist and I completely disagree with this...conception of private property or of reality for that matter. I think [it] conflates private property with possession. I don't think [this perspective recognizes] the fact that private property means 'ownership' over stuff the owner cannot use to the extent that owners become a class by the monopolization of the means of production and this scarcity induces people to become wage slaves, simply because there is no place left for them to go. The Earth is finite and so are its natural resources - considering that we all depend on it for life, that we have all become wage slaves, and that we are all subjected to the consequences of decisions we didn't make but were made for us by hierarchies of bosses, owners, and politicians. It would appear to me that not only should the people affected by decisions be the ones making them, but that the people producing and servicing should be the ones defining the terms of these activities.

I honestly am appalled at the notion that market forces are acceptable for anti-authoritarians and anti-statists to base economic models on.

Even in social anarchism, a person has a right to possession and free association. How agorists, mutualists, capitalists, and other marketeers could ever misconceive of social anarchism to be authoritarian is beyond me - however I have tried sincerely many times to understand it.

Maybe propertarians and marketeers will snort at me, "But no one forces you to work for them!". Well, except for the case of private prisons or other forms of slavery, sure. I'll concede that. But generally you do have to work for someone. And that's what propertarians always like to gloss over, seemingly unaware of the monopolization of productive resources which induces people to submit to wage slavery and the resulting plunder and destruction of natural resources.

If anything, I consider them only to be concerned about the right to make a profit. Profit, of which the fact eludes them that it is distinct and generally disconnected from the cost of production, is something which people historically have gone to great lengths to protect, even using violence, deception, and certain other forms of general malevolence and ill will...(including the creation of states--if I may add. --Cat)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

FBI Arrests and Raids of Twitter Anarchist Activists

Friends of Tortuga (reprint)

"On October 1st, 2009, at 6:00am, the Joint Terrorism Task Force (a union of local police departments and the FBI), kicked out the front door to our home—an anarchist collective house in Queens, NY, affectionately known as Tortuga.

The FBI spent 16 hours ransacking our house before carting off boxes of our personal belongings, everything from computers, passports and even stuffed animals.

The apparent reason for this predawn raid was the arrest of two members of our household a week earlier in Pennsylvania. Our two friends were arrested and charged with several felonies for sending twitter messages during protests against the G20 in Pittsburgh."

Further information:
Friend's of Tortuga Blog
Twitter Revolution Solidarity Action: Free Elliot Madison! Allow twitter for protests in USA, not just Iran! Set your avatar red & black!
Story Oct. 6, 2009: Attorney: Info sent to G-20 protesters via Twitter was public

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Human nature and the study of humans. Intellectual Machines. (1)


We are not intellectual machines, but the creators of social reality. We are complex analyzers, and interpreters--each one of us a synthesizer of incoming information into a personal knowledge that interacts with, influences, and is influenced by others who are each doing the same thing and on a variety of levels from person-person to person-culture/group.

These cultures are many, as well. One individual may belong to a larger society, but also many smaller cultures and subcultures of subcultures. I am a person, but also a female, white/brown/yellow/red, considered beautiful or not, smart or not, old or young (and maybe all of these things in varied circumstances and by different groups). I may be a student or a scientist and each of these memberships, itself, results in still more subgroups, ingroups, and outgroups. Each group and subgroup has its own culture that creates a social reality. What is relevant and salient and useful to one may not be to another.

Human nature and the study of humans - a work in progress. Read at your own risk.

Warning to readers: I am a messy writer and thinker. My world is a chaos of larger pictures lost and found as I muddle around looking at the smaller pictures, while also losing and finding them. I contradict myself and back up to correct, forget half the evidence and can't seem to get all my ideas down in an orderly or comprehensive enough fashion to feel comfortable. I forget much of what I, myself, know on any given day and have to refer back to what I write to find out. This leaves even less room for remembering all the details of the evidence or the ideas of thinkers who've influenced me. I am more like a process than a destination. I write in fragments of ideas. I will experiment with trying to write, anyway.

1. Intellectual Machines

Monday, October 12, 2009

Everything is OK

"The only chains that exist are in your mind."

This is wonderful, hilarious, and full of great stuff! "I am not protesting, I am just speaking through a megaphone. And what I do is give people like you hugs." "Capitalism is a wonderful system. Okay, a few billion people get nothing. But still, think of all the people that get lots." "Everything is OK." "Please go back to your jobs."

"You were born free. You will live free. You will die free. You're allowed to make a scene. You're allowed to scream for joy. You're allowed to complain. You're allowed to cry. You're allowed to love people. You're allowed to hug people. And we're starting to live in a world where we're starting to feel scared. We're starting to forget just how divine and special we are as human beings. Every single one of you is the only example of you that will ever exist. And there is not a single authority in this world who can tell you how to behave at any time, any place, anywhere. You are free. You will live free. You will die free. The only chains that exist are in your mind."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Playing for Change - War/No More Trouble

Playing For Change | "War/No More Trouble" - Song Around The World from Concord Music Group on Vimeo. - As we made our way around the world we encountered love, hate, rich and poor, black and white, and many different religious groups and ideologies. It became very clear that as a human race we need to transcend from the darkness to the light and music is our weapon of the future. This song around the world features musicians who have seen and overcome conflict and hatred with love and perseverance. We don't need more trouble, what we need is love. The spirit of Bob Marley always lives on.

This is the fourth Song Around The World video released from the CD/DVD Playing For Change: Songs Around The World and the follow up to the classics "Stand By Me," "One Love" and "Don't Worry." This unforgettable track was performed by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it traveled the globe.

Sign up at for updates and exclusive content. You can also buy cool stuff in our new online store!

Join the Playing for Change Online Street Team.

Join the movement to help inspire people from around the world to come together through music.

Monday, September 28, 2009

short-cuts to happiness


"Great dancers aren't great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion. There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them."

RESIST! on Oct. 6th - We Are Not Your Soldiers - High-School Resistance

Oct 6th will be a National Day to Resist Military Recruiters for high-school students. Iraqi Veterans Against the War and World Can't Wait invite you to be seen on your high-school campus along with students on campuses across the country on October 6th to resist military recruiters. For more information visit WeAreNotYourSoldiers.Org.

No matter where you are, you have a voice! Whether we resist military recruiters has everything to do with the future we’ll get.

On Tuesday, October 6 students can:

* Wear an orange bandanna or ribbon (the color against torture and war) to show there's a movement
* Show a film of Iraq veterans telling about the war crimes the US military committed. Invite anti-war veterans to talk to your class or assembly.
* Confront military recruiters at your school or in the mall, telling them why you refuse to sign up, so that other students hear your side.
* Protest at a military recruiting office and call the media to let them know why.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

changing people

This is a photo of people watching the SDS Funk the War Protest in Washington, D.C. this past summer. In these faces is change.
(click the photo to enlarge)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I would have stayed up with you all night...

I used to know how to talk to people. Can I let myself go back there? It's a struggle to forgive. Maybe just a process to undo. Unraveling layers of protection. Warrior or medic? I have been all medic with no warrior and all warrior with no medic. How much is the right amount of each? How do I manage to get right down inside people, sit down next to their innocence, and yet keep their brutality far enough away from me? I am on my way. When I get there, it'll be like coming home.

Step one you say we need to talk
He walks you say sit down it's just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
You begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Let him know that you know best
Cause after all you do know best
Try to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you've told him all along
And pray to God he hears you
And pray to God he hears you

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you've followed
He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything
Or he'll say he's just not the same
And you'll begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
How to save a life
How to save a life

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sat. Sept 12th - NJ Anarchist Bocce Ball Tournament and Potluck Picnic

Host: Abe Karl-Gruswitz
Type: Party - Barbecue
Network: Global
Price: free (bring some food for the potluck)
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2009
Time: 12:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: Frelinghuysen Arboretum
Street: 53 Hanover Ave.
City/Town: Whippany, NJ

View Map
See Event on Facebook
Email Abe:

Notes from Cat: If you can, RSVP Abe as it helps him to organize (or just show up if you can't). Sure, contact me if you prefer. FAQ: Do I or my guest(s) have to be an anarchist to attend? A: No. Other non-anarchists will be there to keep you safe from the rest of us. ;-)

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Anarchist persuasion, I am pleased to announce the first annual NJ Anarchist Bocce Ball Tournament and potluck picnic!! This is a time for us gather together to meet one another, hear about our different projects, discuss all things political, eat delicious food, and most of all to celebrate that wonderful sport known by all as Bocce Ball. It is time to stop your arm chair theorizing and start your lawn chair theorizing! We will gather at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Whippany, NJ on September 12th at noon and celebrate into the evening. The prize for the winner is so amazing that it is unspeakable. Bring your lucky bocce ball set, if you've got one. . . and we all know you've got one. Contact Abe at for information and rain date notifications.

53 Hanover Ave.; Whippany, NJ

Traveling from the South:
I-287 Northbound to Exit 36A (Morris Ave.).
Proceed East approx. 1/2 mile in the center lane, past Washington Headquarters (on left).
Take left fork onto Whippany Road.
Turn left at 2nd traffic light onto East Hanover Avenue.
Proceed for about 1/4 mile. Entrance is on left, opposite the Morris County Library.
Traveling from the North:
I-287 Southbound to Exit 36, following signs for Ridgedale Avenue (bear right in exit ramp).
Proceed to traffic light, then turn right onto Ridgedale Avenue.

At 2nd traffic light, turn right onto East Hanover Avenue.
Proceed for about 1/4 mile. The Arboretum entrance is on the right just past the traffic light at the Morris County Library.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Money by Benjamin Zephaniah

"Children are dying, spies are spying,
Refugees are fleeing, politicians are lying,
And deals are done and webs are spun,
Laws keep the third world on the run."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

we're waiting for you

nothing changes unless you change you

another world is possible
but only if you want it

About the band Switchfoot: "According to [band member] Jon Foreman , the name 'Switchfoot' is a surfing term. 'We all love to surf and have been surfing all our lives so to us, the name made sense. To switch your feet means to take a new stance facing the opposite direction. It's about change and movement, a different way of approaching life and music'.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Killer Cat

Clav's two step attack cat training method starts with making Minnie do the family taxes.

Next, he makes her sleep in the dresser. This shot was taken before he puts the drawer back in.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I just saw this movie. I hadn't realized how much I'd like it. This scene is a celebration of older women. We are, if we are lucky, still just girls. One of the things I like most about being with other women is the fun and silliness that can ensue. Of course, I love men too. But, there's something wonderful about girls. It reminds me of a joke I read: What would the world be like if there were no men? It would be full of fat, happy women.

May we all dance far into our old age.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

March on Gaza, Jan. 1, 2010 - Gaza Shall Not Die!

Norman Finkelstein and other prominent activists are asking that people converge on Gaza on Jan. 1st, 2010 to break the siege of Gaza. Go with them, or support someone else who's willing to go. Events to raise money to send people to Gaza are planned throughout the Fall.

As for the march itself, tentative plans are for 5000+ international marchers to enter into Gaza through Rafah, and then exit through the Erez crossing, "with 500,000 Gazans behind us." Help make it happen!

For more details see Norm Finkelstein's web site and facebook groups.

“This march draws inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi,” according to a statement by the Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza. The statement also outlines plans for the march, which will take place on January 1, 2010. “We will march the Long Mile across Erez checkpoint alongside the people of Gaza in a nonviolent demonstration that breaches the illegal blockade,” it said, adding that “We conceive this march as the first step in a protracted nonviolent campaign … If we bring thousands to Gaza and millions more around the world watch the march on the internet, we can end the siege without a drop of blood being shed.”

Saturday, July 11, 2009

like tears in rain

This is one of my favorite film scenes. I think it's likely Rutger Hauer's best performance ever. Aside from the poetic beauty of the scene, it is a metaphor about power. The marginalized replicant is more capable of human compassion than the alienated human being.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Noam Chomsky Anti-War

This is an incredible production. It begins with Noam Chomsky on the U.S. anti-war movement and moves into a powerfully resonant audio-visual message about how the world sees the U.S.

"The peace of the world must never again be destroyed by the will and the wickedness of any man." — George W. Bush

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Noam Chomsky on “Crisis and Hope: Theirs and Ours”

Noam Chomsky speaking at Riverside Church in Harlem on June 12, 2009. Posted on the DemocracyNow web site on July 3, 2009.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Noam Chomsky on Iran Election (Radio Interview)

Noam Chomsky - Interview includes Iran election & other topics.
Linguist, Activist, Author
WorldStreams Radio
Hosts: Said & Dari
Aired: Wednesday 6.17.09 - 10:00-11:00 PM

Friday, June 19, 2009

When I give up...(every other day)

Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

We'll do it all
On our own

We don't need
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That's bursting into life

Let's waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That's bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes
They're all I can see

I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things
Will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Say Yes to Peace

The only way to stop war... to stop participating in it.

It's only when the soldier refuses that war will cease, when those at the bottom say--"no more soldiers." War is in the interest of those at the top. The culture will continue to indoctrinate with messages proclaiming soldiers as honorable protectors of freedom. And other messages that appeal to the desire for danger and excitement. The culture will continue to glamorize and mythify being a warrior.

Being a soldier means only one thing--you will be engaged in the justified murder of other people. By doing this you will make the world a far less safe place as your enemies grow because of your own manipulated and corrupted conclusions.

I urge people to go to their local libraries and other public places where military recruitment literature can be found and remove and dispose of it.

Discuss high school military recruitment with your children. Saying yes to military induction is saying yes to war. Information can be found via We Are Not Your Soldiers.

It is up to each individual soldier to lay down arms. It is up to the rest of us to work toward making no new soldiers.

Support the troops...when they refuse to fight: Courage to Resist

If you say you want a peaceful world, then it's got to start with your actions. Create that peaceful world.

Say yes to peace.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Into the impossible...

I sailed from never,
into the harbor of when,
and left the same day.

Happily adrift,
in the possibility
of the impossible.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

On Your Shore

Strange how my heart beats
To find myself upon your shore
Strange how I still feel
My loss of comfort gone before

Cool waves wash over
and drift away with dreams of youth
so time is stolen
I cannot hold you long enough

And so, this is where I should be now
Days and nights falling by

Days and nights falling by me
I know of a dream I should be holding
days and nights falling by
Days and nights falling by me

Soft blue horizons
reach far into my childhood days
as you are rising
to bring me my forgotten ways.

Strange how I falter
to find I'm standing in deep water
Strange how my heart beats
to find I'm standing on your shore

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Only If

When there's a shadow, you reach for the sun.
When there is love, then you look for the one.
And for the promises there is the sky.
And for the heavens are those who can fly.

If you really want to you can hear me say.
Only if you want to will you find a way.
If you really want to you can seize the day.
Only if you want to will you fly away.

When there's a journey, you follow a star.
When there's an ocean, you sail from afar.
And for the broken heart, there is the sky.
And for tomorrow are those who can fly.

Ooh go doe bay mwa.
Ooh go doe bay mwa.

Ah! Je voudrais voler comme un oiseau d'aile
Ah! Je voudrais voler comme un oiseau d'aile, d'aile...
Ooh go doe bay mwa.
Ooh go doe bay mwa.

If you really want to you can hear me say.
Only if you want to will you find a way.
If you really want to you can seize the day.
Only if you want to will you fly away.

If you really want to you can hear me say.
Only if you want to will you find a way.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


As an undergrad in psychology I wanted to choose training a rat to run a maze as my research project. I knew I would have to deprive the rat of something-- food, water. I was prepared.

The student group was led into the rat room to meet our rats. We each wrote our name on a card and put this in a slot on a cage to claim our rat. We were told all we had to do was put a sign on the cage and water would be withheld.

As I took my rat out to get acquainted, I wondered how I'd sleep at night knowing he would be back in the rat room--thirsty. I knew from the moment I looked into his little, beady rat eyes, I'd never hang the sign. But I claimed him anyway.

I slept really well that semester. And I imagine my rat must have too.

--smushiness inspired by Dan(Miller)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Subjunctive Mood

In my dream the worst finally happened.

I was a man in my dream. That wasn’t the worst thing though. It wasn’t even a very bad thing. The worst thing was quite a different thing.

I sat in my ward cell. The straitjacket made movement difficult. I had been arrested and taken to a psychiatric center headed by a Freudian psychoanalyst who, on my arrival, had recited to me his literary analysis of Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. His voice sounded very much like one of my college literature professors. (“Your analysis is shallow. Your analysis is shallow, shallow, shallow...”) It had never occurred to me, before being corrected, that this tale was so chock full of sexual allegory. I had never considered what the headless horseman’s throwing of the pumpkin really represented.

In the end, I made up an analysis that was as fanciful as it was ludicrous and managed to finish with a “B” in the class. Did it make any sense to me? Of course not! But (am I allowed to use “but” here?…why not, it is my dream after all. As if in answer, I heard a voice say, “It's your conjunction too.” The voice sounded a lot like Lawrence Block.) what did literary analysis have to do with making sense to me anyway?

“You’re still hearing voices aren’t you?” It was the psychoanalyst.

We were seated in a claustrophobic interview room with gas-station green walls. The window was open and I could hear the wind whimpering like a whipped whippet. (A specter that looked a bit like Harlan Ellison flashed before me. He seemed to nod in approval.)

“We’re not going to be able to release you if you insist on being alliterate,” the psychoanalyst said.

“But that doesn’t even make sense,” I said. “I thought the rules…”

“You don’t make the rules and they don‘t have to make sense.” The psychoanalyst flicked a bit of lint from his sleeve. “Are you questioning the rules again? Where have all these questions gotten you? Do you remember when you were a child and you wanted to know who wrote the dictionary?”

I had wanted to know that. How did words come to be words? Who made all these rules? And why was everyone following them? Why did I have to follow them? That‘s when the voices started. (“People made the rules,” came a whisper.)

“Am I not a person?” I said.

“You can’t do that,” the psychoanalyst said.

“Do what?” I said.

“You can’t use ‘said’ with an interrogative sentence.”

“But I read that some writers do that all the time. I read that some writers use ‘said’ rather than ‘asked’ because they seem to think it allows the dialogue to flow without calling attention to itself.”

“But you’re not a writer, you’re a student,” the psychoanalyst said.

“You started that sentence with ‘but’,” I observed.

“Of course I did, “ the psychoanalyst said. “It’s perfectly acceptable to speak that way. It’s only natural.”

“If it’s perfectly natural to speak that way, then why can’t I write that way?” I said. “If writers, real writers, write that way…”

“Look, we need to address the issue of why you are here,” the psychoanalyst said. “Do you know why you’re here?”

“The voices?” I said.

“That certainly. But also the essays,” the psychoanalyst said. “And do you need to use ‘said’ so many times? It’s very unattractive,” the psychoanalyst said.

(A voice that sounded like Robert B. Parker said, “Don’t let it worry you. I do it all the time.”) I was about to say as much to the psychoanalyst when he interrupted my thoughts.

“Anyway,” the psychoanalyst said, “I have copies of some of the essays here.” What inspired you to write such titles as: Pardon My Infinitive But I think You’re Splitting Hairs, The Most Superlative Story Ever Told or In Support of Verbal Abuse, where you state: “If teaching is pared down to emphasizing insignificant and unmemorable facts the desire to learn will be similarly diminished.” Or this title: Dangling My Participles in Public Makes Me Feel So Free.

“Yes, well...I would think you would find a lot of meaning in that one,” I said.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Why is my blog so beige? I need some color. Olly! Taby! Help! You're both so colorful. Here's a song for us. It commemorates what fun we had being small again.

"I thought was like being 8 years old again. We made a tent and took our flashlights in and giggled..." --Cat