Archive for November, 2012

22
Nov
12

endurance

My doctor says I’m falling apart, but I don’t believe him. I can endure anything.

Don’t get me wrong; this stroke business is tough. It is extremely difficult getting around, but getting around I am.

I am thankful.

۞

Groove of the Day 

Listen to Wilco performing “The Thanks I Get”

18
Nov
12

oh bummer

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Groove of the Day 

Listen to Brenda Lee performing “I’m Sorry”

17
Nov
12

alright

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Groove of the Day 

Listen to Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions performing “It’s All Right”

16
Nov
12

blessings

This is a song from when I was five or six.

It came to me last night just before I fell asleep.

۞

Groove of the Day 

Listen to Bing Crosby performing “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep”

15
Nov
12

time out

Friends, I’m going to be taking some time out from writing the Diary for a little while, maybe just a couple days, maybe longer… we’ll just see how it goes.

Today I suffered a couple “mini strokes” with symptoms including difficulty focusing my vision, dizziness, loss of hearing in one of my ears, etc.

In case this is a warning of more serious things to come, I have some basic business to take care of so that everything I have been working for over the last several years is not scattered to the wind.

I’ll keep posting images and music just to let you know I’m okay. But the writer needs a break.

I know you’ll understand.

۞

Groove of the Day 

Listen to Tito Schipa performing “Ah! Dispar vision” (1934)

14
Nov
12

strategic retreat

Last week I learned that Mitchell County IA prosecutor Mark Walk has backed off on his cruel and punitive intention to have 14-year-old Noah Crooks transferred into solitary confinement in the county jail from the juvenile detention center where Noah is being successfully rehabilitated.

In withdrawing his outrageous request, it seems unlikely that Walk has experienced a change of heart. It is far more likely that he simply concluded that this was a battle he could not win and moreover, that a defeat would diminish his chances of winning a conviction on his “murder” charges. It is also likely that his confederates in the attorney general’s office urged him to choose his battles more carefully or risk undoing the whole effort to criminalize Noah’s psychotic episode, which was precipitated by the forced administration of psychotropic drugs for ADHD.

It is noteworthy that one of the first things the juvenile detention staff did was to wean Noah from Vyvanse, the drug which was responsible for the tragedy having happened in the first place. Had it been deemed medically responsible for Noah to have been kept on the drug, the detention center’s medical staff would have continued administering it. Noah is currently drug-free and doing just fine.

Noah’s father William Crooks told me that the school insisted Noah be drugged as a requirement for the boy’s continued attendance at school. If this fact can be substantiated, it was apparently a violation of federal law.

Title 20 of United States Code, Chapter 33, Subchapter II, § 1412 (“Assistance for Education of All Children with Disabilities,” which passed into federal law in 2004) states that “the State educational agency shall prohibit State and local educational agency personnel from requiring a child to obtain a prescription for a substance covered by the Controlled Substances Act as a condition of attending school.”

Researchers in Holland have discovered that restricting the diets of children diagnosed with ADHD can reduce the symptoms in as many as two-thirds of cases. In other words, dangerous psychotropic drugs are unnecessarily prescribed in two out of every three ADHD cases.

Nevertheless, Vyvanse, Adderall, Ritalin and other psychotropic drugs are being given to children even if they are not found to need the drugs and thereby justify the risks of side effects which can include panic attacks, insomnia, changes in personality, psychosis, and other mental disorders that are just as bad, if not worse than hyperactivity alone. On October 9 The New York Times ran a disturbing story about a Georgia physician, Dr. Michael Anderson M.D., who regularly prescribes Adderall to normal children who do not have ADHD, just to help them do better in school.

How is it that we have become so irresponsible, unconcerned, so cavalier, about exposing children to risks which are so clearly unacceptable? For the answer you need to see this documentary, Making A Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging.

It’s the story of entrenched greed and big-money drugs that fuel a $330 billion psychiatric industry–one which is unable to provide a single cure! The cost in human terms is even greater: psychotropic drugs now kill an estimated 42,000 people every year, and the death count keeps rising.

The toll on children like Noah is particularly tragic. Before these drugs were so profitably proliferated, young people who made classroom management difficult or inconvenient for teachers would not have been given any drugs at all. Had Noah not been forced to take Vyvanse, his mother would be alive today.

What is actually happening is that the State of Iowa is dodging its responsibility for having created the conditions for this tragedy to have occurred and is, in fact, seeking to transfer that responsibility to Noah who is arguably already the greatest victim in this sad tale.

It is relying on Mark Walk, an ego-addled mean-spirited bully, to serve as its chief henchman in its cowardly design. (More about him later.)

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Groove of the Day 

Listen to Thurl Ravenscroft performing “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”

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Sincerest thanks to Gloria Fernandez Suarez, who contributed research for this post.

13
Nov
12

sugar pie

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Groove of the Day 

Listen to The Four Tops performing “I Can’t Help Myself”

12
Nov
12

resurrection

This is always the most challenging time of the year for me. Today is the last day of the runic fortnight of Hagal and the eve of the runic fortnight of Nyd. The prevailing tides of these energies exert an influence on every change in this time frame.

Hagal, the “Mother Rune,” is said to describe the underlying structure of all creation and to embody the inevitability that all things must die. Nyd is the rune of “Need,” and is said to represnt a heavy, suffocating bar of iron across one’s chest. These two fortnights in combination are the end of the year’s solar cycle, analogous to the death throes which must preceed resurrection and rebirth.

The knowledge that rebirth will follow death as surely as the sun will rise at dawn makes the death throes of the cycle barely less difficult to endure in the moment unless, like Gomez and his family, you are particularly fond of unpleasant seasons.

The transformational passage through death to resurrection is stressful, to say the least, and I struggle each year to keep it from dragging down my spirits and suffocating present potentials. There is a well-documented correlation between the winter season and rates of depression, and ever since I moved here a decade ago and escaped the northern gloom, I have exercised conscious effort to avoid becoming a seasonal statistic.

My own favorite time of year is in May, 180 degrees opposite our current point in the cycle. It is then, rather than now, when I feel the most creative energy. All I want to do about now is sleep.

Yet in thinking of now as the “most difficult” time of the cycle and May as the “most favored,” I think I may be already lapsing into lazy thinking and overlooking the deeper creative potential of the present moment.

Renewal is something we usually associate with springtime, but if we consider natural models we see that the prerequisites for renewal are being realized by micro-organisms deep in the dark soil under the cover of snow–even if the proverbial flowers won’t be visible until spring. If we consider agricultural models, we are reminded that the winter months are used by the farmer to repair his tools and do other preparatory tasks.

Burrowed in for the winter, it would be easy enough to overlook the creative potential in a season one most typically associates with hibernation. As much as I have been sleeping since my return, I resist the idea of sleeping through the next four months.

When one thinks of particular seasons as the singular most “dark” and “bright” times of the year, we can lapse too easily into dualistic judgments which yield too many foregone conclusions. It is too easy to forget that these are but two points on a gradated cycle of transformation made up of an infinate number of points and opportunities for renewal and resurrection. When we say a point is the “worst” or the “best,” we tend make it more influential in deterministic ways than it needs to be.

It is easy to forget that the cycle itself is a unified thing, and that it possesses its own inherent power. The potential of the whole is present at every point of the cycle, though in varying degrees of possibility.

According to Maimonides, the created universe is not endowed with self-sustaining existence, but is created anew each and every moment of every day.

Though the tides of the seasons do exert unmistakable influences on outcomes, the potential of the whole is omnipresent and accessible to a great extent through our own initiative and imagination.

According to the Buddha, “Each morning we are born again.  What we do today is what matters most.”

Even though it is November is now, spring is also present through the whole.

۞

Groove of the Day 

Listen to Margaret MacDonald performing Arthur Sullivan’s “The May Song”

11
Nov
12

armistice day

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Groove of the Day 

Listen to Martha Tilton performing “I’ll Walk Alone”

10
Nov
12

light my fire

I just don’t have the fire in me to write today. Tony has gone missing and I’m pretty sure he has become a larger predator’s meal. Life is harsh out here; it can be extinguished as easily as a match in the wind. Elemental forces can be givers and takers of life in the very same breath. The fire that enlightens is the same fire that consumes.

Listen to Heather Nova performing “Throwing Fire At the Sun”

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Listen to Magnet performing “Fire Leap”

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Listen to Prodigy performing “Firestarter”

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Listen to Jerry Lee Lewis performing “Great Balls of Fire”

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Listen to Frank Zappa performing “Ring Of Fire”

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Listen to Great White performing “Baby’s on Fire”

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Listen to Wall of Voodoo performing “Ring of Fire”

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Listen to the Ink Spots performing “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”

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Listen to Jimmie Hendrix performing “Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire”

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Listen to Aerosmith performing “She’s on Fire”

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Listen to the Pointer Sisters performing “Fire”

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۞

Groove of the Day 

Listen to the Doors performing “Light My Fire”