Saturday, December 12, 2009

On depression

December 12,2009

I think that depression is a loss of desire. Whenever I feel depressed and/or withdrawn I sit down at the computer and I write,

"He was depressed."

And I wait for a response. I consider this act of writing tantamount to knocking on the door of the mind and shouting,

"Okay, open up in there! I want the info!"

I may sit for a long time thinking about nothing but then a fleeting thought will cross my mind which may have nothing to do with depression. It may be:

"I was just thinking how my father loved to work in his garden!"

An odd, random thought indeed. I write it down. Now I'm taken to thinking about my father's garden and another thought occurs to me at random. I write:

"I always wanted to work with my father in his garden but he would never let me. He thought I was stupid. He always called my mother to come and get me when I was around him. It hurt my feelings. I only wanted to show him how much I loved him-------------"

Now, suddenly, you have a comet by the tail. No more glum, unfeeling staring into space. The mind is creaking open and the pain issues forward. Maybe you can't handle the pain but there it is. It's a game breaker which can knock your depression for a loop.

The mind is eager to tell what it knows if one can find the means to ask. It works every time for me and in the process of discovery the depression is inadvertently forgotten. Once you make that break with your depression it can never hold you fast again. All you need to do is listen to your thoughts and write them down as they emerge. Your story will tell itself.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Troops to Afghanistan

December 2,2009

Watching and listening to O'Bama's speech on sending additional troops to Afghanistan. Thirty thousand more GIs to do.........what? The object in going to Afghanistan in the first place was to avenge the 9/11 terror attacks by rooting out al Qaeda and killing bin Laden. We didn't get Osama but we did drive the al Qaeda out of the country. Mission accomplished! What else?

We've extended our concerns in Afghanistan. Now we want to secure the cities, kick out the Taliban, train the Afghan army. It is like Vietnam and the reasons for our presence are not that much different. Johnson said that if we didn't defend democracy in Vietnam the dominoes would fall in Southeast Asia. That turned out to be wrong. O'Bama says that if he didn't believe Afghanistan/Pakistan was a threat to America's security he would gladly bring the troops home immediately. Where's the difference? The predicament is the same. O'Bama's morphing into George Bush.

We went into Iraq without invitation to free the Iraqi people from the yoke of Saddam Hussein. His bogus nuclear weapons were our excuse to invade.We dispatched Saddam and no nuclear weapons were found. Okay..... mission accomplished!! Why are we still there?

The impression in Iraq was that there was no long term agenda. American troops were not fighting any actual battles with decisive results but just hanging around dodging car bombs and IEDs. The troop casualties began to mount one IED at a time. The press was watching and counting. Frustrations with the war increased as the price accelerated until it became a political hot potato.

Here we go again in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Palin Memoir

November 18,2009




I watched Palin/Oprah. Haven't read the book. She seemed vivacious, confident, candid. But honest? Who can tell? Too many politicians are professional liars and deniers. I believe her. She didn't make up all those colorful stories. Her version sounds too much like real life. McCain picked her to consolidate the conservative vote. They thought she was a Barbie doll. They hated her but they thought they needed her. It didn't work. The issue with Palin now is whether the conservative right will continue to intimidate the Republican party. The monkey's uncle is a viable candidate at this stage. If the conservatives do hold sway in 2012 watch out for Palin. In a party that deifies people like Limbaugh and Beck she's a good bet as the next losing Republican.

Friday, September 11, 2009


September 11, 2009

If you want to know what the Kennedy family was doing while you were at work today I suggest you take one of those tours of Hammersmith farm. Walk the farm's sleepy green lawns that slope down to the sea. Sit on the back porch which overlooks a panoramic view of the ocean and where president Kennedy used to land his helicopter. See those cute bedrooms with the watercolors where the Kennedy children played and slept. Walk the gardens and the groves of Hammersmith farm and tune in to the quiet privacy of Narragansett Bay and you will realize why the Kennedy lifestyle was nicknamed Camelot. Let the moment take you out beyond the madding crowd where the Kennedys vacationed and you'll understand how distant they were from any appreciation of what was happening in the working class. They may have read Dickens from the comfort of their back porch with the family cat cooing in their laps but they were never out there in the smoke and fire of everyday travail. They got their knowledge of working class ideals second hand through the wrong end of the binoculars. But don't take my word for it. Take a walk through Hammersmith, through Camelot, and you'll see what I mean. You won't see any working class values rearing their ugly heads in that environment. Hammersmith is about forgetting your troubles. It's about ruing the thought of returning to the depressing sobriety of middle earth.

(I originally wrote this piece in my journal back in March of 2004. The characters that once inhabited Hammersmith Farm have left the stage to history. The residence has been sold several times and all the furnishings from the Kennedy era auctioned off. I believe it's currently a private home which no longer admits tours.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Erin Andrews Naked Video

July 23,2009

Personally I think it was hypocritical for ESPN to ban the staff of The New York Post from participating in ESPN broadcasts just because the newspaper chose to run the nude photos of ESPN's sideline reporter Erin Andrews which were taken clandestinely in her hotel room. What is this knockout blonde doing on the sidelines anyway if not trying to capture the sexual attentions of the players and coaches and win new fans through the power of the sexual ogle. Every network has cute girls at the sidelines of sporting events now and oft times in the broadcasting booths as well posing for the cameras and showing off their sports erudition (among other things). And don't try to tell me that the networks are only trying to further the cause of liberating women to the possibilities of new careers in business. I'm sure the use of a little sideline sexual titillation maneuvering itself for a sure fire few seconds' interview with Tom Brady is part and parcel of their broadcast strategy.

Do I sound a bit cynical about women insinuating their sexual prowess into the sports' arenas of America? Perhaps I am because I know that relationships between the sexes belong in the bedroom and not in the amphitheatre and even the bedroom is not that safe if you're a star, as Ben Roethlisberger will testify.......... as well as Kobe before him. Women entering the world of male sports is always a dicey proposition. Does anyone remember the Himmelberg Wall? It's still in use today. It's that blue screen in front of which all NFL postgame interviews are held. Michele Himmelberg was a Florida reporter who was assigned to cover the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team and was denied access to the Bucs locker room back in 1979. The incident spelled the end of the post game locker room whopee for all media and introduced the post-game blue screen interview area background , a variation of which is still in use today. Lisa Olson of the Boston Herald actually made it into the Patriots locker room back in 1990 where she was crudely chastised by the jocks and held up to ridicule via gestures of naked exhibitionism.

It's been suggested that women do not truly understand sports as men do because they lack the testosterone that drives men on the playing fields and in the locker rooms. There's nothing glamorous about women climbing the barricades of men's sports' competition and nosing their way into masculine camaraderie. The ultimate penalty for such an intrusion is the humiliation of the sexual insult with all the macho participants engaged in the rejection. Woman—Know Thy Place!! The locker room is sacred ground. The recent Erin Andrews video debacle is only another chapter in the battle of the sexes.

Monday, June 29, 2009

On Sex

June 29,2009

    It seems to me that we are through with sex before sex is through with us. We are only too glad to be rid of it, to push it out of our lives. But sex is so much more than intercourse. It remains an important hue on the creative palette without which the proper colors cannot be mixed nor can the proper rainbow appear. Without its participation life is always a little grey.

About Feelings

June 29,2009

A speaker at a session of group therapy confesses candidly: (I paraphrase)

"How can I describe how I feel?

"I feel no desire, no motivation.

"I feel futility: what difference does it make whether I wash my face or take a shower or go to the super market or the laundry? What difference does it make if I wear the same pair of socks day after day?

"I am indifferent to everyday expectations. I know that having no exercise and eating high cholesterol fast food every day is damaging to my health but I just don't care. I just don't have the motivation to do anything about it. I feel like someone who is depressed, because I believe that's what depression is: losing touch with your emotional life........... except:

"People who are depressed sit around all day looking out the window thinking and doing nothing. They remain catatonic. They are out of touch with action. I am not out of touch with action. I get up in the morning, go to the restaurant, flirt with the waitresses, listen to and tell dirty jokes, make clever comments, can I say that I'm out of touch with my emotions.

"I live because I forcibly push my life along ahead of me. I force myself to do things which I would just as soon let lie. I force myself to act. But certain emotions are missing which make these actions pleasurable and significant, some attitude, some thought process. I feel as though I'm playing my life on a piano which has a key that sounds no note."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Raw Power

May25, 2009

I worked in a record store. A customer came in, an older man. He browsed around the aisles. He seemed to be listening to the music playing in the background through the store's speakers. Finally he came to the counter and asked:

"Who is that group playing in the background?"

"It's 'The Stooges'," I answered.

He contemplated my answer for a moment and then he asked:

"Is that 'Iggy and The Stooges'?"

"I believe it is." I rummaged for the CD jacket. It was, indeed, Iggy and the Stooges.

He nodded knowingly.

"A number of years ago," he began, "A friend of mine committed suicide. On his body, instead of a note, they found Iggy Pop lyrics from a song entitled, 'Search and Destroy.' Are you familiar with it?"

I was not familiar with the title. We played a good many Iggy Pop tunes. The hard rock beat fitted the signature of the store which also sold a lot of music videos and counter culture items, posters and pins, which were popular with the kids. I was intrigued to realize that Iggy Pop went back that far in time.

"When I finally heard the song," he continued unabashedly, "I realized that the lyrics actually did describe his life. There were personal admissions in those lyrics which he would never have made in his life."

There was nothing for me to comment since I knew neither the song nor the victim nor the customer. He was like the famous ancient mariner who stoppeth one of three. He bought a few items and left the store. The story stuck in my mind. I found the song on an anthology of Iggy Pop tunes which included an album entitled "Raw Power.

The lyrics of the song, "Search and Destroy" are the perfect description of someone who's ready to call it quits in life. I began to play the album in the store. Any time I played the track I received questions and comments. The customer's deceased friend is not the only one who identifies with the song. It's a universal plea.

I did not see the customer again.