Thursday, August 30, 2007

Brave Men in Black

A small but impressive group of orthodox Jewish men demonstrate peacefully against Zionism, for peace, and the peaceful dismantlement of the state of Israel. Yes, that’s right! Every time a conference is held about peace in the Middle East they show their support to the Palestinian cause. They consider this their moral duty. Their deep conviction that Zionism is incompatible with true Orthodox Judaism is based on the Torah, which teaches that the Jewish people was send in exile far away from the promised land because they had not obeyed the divine laws. One of these laws forbids formally the use of armed force against any people in order to impose their political will. Moreover Orthodoxy is based on the religious obligation of compassion and humanism towards all individuals and the whole of humanity. The Torah, they tell me, teaches that the indigenous Palestinians are sovereign and have a rightful claim to govern their own state. Going against the teachings of the Torah through the errors of Zionism, which they see as a heresy and a cruel philosophy, is what brought down all the pain and bloodshed.
Thus these brave men go and stand to show the world that there are other ways of looking at war and peace. They reminded me that they have an obligation of courtesy, friendship and respect towards the Muslims since they gave shelter during the persecutions of the Jews in Europe.
These Rabbis and laymen call for a peaceful solution to the terrible impasse. Moral, economic and political pr
essure should come from all corners of the world to ensure a durable peaceful coexistence.

The honorable men end their thoughts with a prayer: May we soon be worthy of the time in which the whole world will know peace and that eternal glory well be revealed. Amen.
Peace now!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


You know the easy season is over when you have to get up before the sun. At this end of August the wind pulls at the leaves, the lindens turn yellow, the nights are cold. That is the price for a clear and star filled sky. A memory to prolong the summer:

The days are full and lazy
days of slow happiness
hold back - don’t rush
sit still concentrate on
the passage of air
the passage of time
savour the secconds
of present
of presence

Monday, August 27, 2007

The end of leisure

Painting woodwork, dining, a BBQ in a pretty rural area, working on manuscripts and back to work, practical life taking over are reasons enough to have slacked.

I thought you might enjoy the before and after 1227 km in 67 hours and 21 minutes. The proud cyclist was in the fastest 10 %.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Open networks, wasn't that what they promised us when the first wireless computer features entered this world. There were visions of a hotspot on every bench in the park, in all public spaces, free access was just the dream. Or so it seemed. In the hotels in Europe you pay for three hours of access 10 €, in the US in many coffee shops when you drink or eat 5 $ worth you have unlimited acces. My own network at home is open and there are two others nearby. And now I just had to try whether I could e-mail and blog already from my 12th floor. Obviously somebody has a free network and I don't even have a phone yet... So this blog is meant as a hymn to free networks...

Thursday, August 23, 2007


The photographer arrived: 15 minutes past three in the afternoon. Almost two hours under the target he had set himself. He was not just trying to do in the allowed time of 80 hours, but he thought he could do in 70. He did in in 68 hours and about 15 minutes. Now the swag wagon still has to work: taking care of him, cooking, getting some sleep (they slept probably less than he did) and getting back to Antwerp from St Quentin, near Paris. Congratulations, to all 5.000 plus who participated in the PBP ride, flowers for the photographer and the futurist and a toast to exciting lives.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


The preparation has been intense: training, getting the right equipment and making it work just right, food, organizing a bit of back up... The photographer/cyclist is one of the over 5400 participants in the PBP event: 1227 km in 80 hours on a bicycle. The riders, in order to be accepted, have to prove they can ride and have to submit 'brevets' of 200, 300, 400, 600 km. Today at 12 AM it was the control of the bikes and of the participants. We haven't heard of the photographer so I assume he can start tomorrow night at 8 PM. You can follow the riders on the internet. 1473 is his frame number. He uses a 10 year old carbon graphite frame. Tomorrow the Architect and the Futurist will travel to Paris to be the swag wagon and to provide him with food and drinks at the control posts and to lend moral support. It is a very grueling, hilly stretch of country and the 27 km just before entering Paris after having done Paris-Brest- almost back to Paris are really hard.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Work in progress

I came across Julia Kristeva’s work reading literary studies in the eighties in the same period I developed affection for Roland Barthes. She coined the term ‘intertextuality’. What I like in her psychoanalytical approach is that she allows for the fluidity of the individual. We are all subjects in progress… a work in progress :

So is all
work in progress
the searching for the note
that touches the soul
the words that please a lover
find a friend
the playing of an eight bar blues
in 7,5
knowing there is time
and that in time every beat
will be picked up
brought to a conclusion

There is the mind work
the heart work
the digging in the dirt work
the body work
of animal and child
the wild

So are we all
work in progress

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


What is it about aging that frightens us: the wrinkles, the discoloration of our fresh skin, gravity that works on all that can sag and sink? The way our hands look, our body feels, bent out of shape? Or is it competition like J. suggests: to compete with younger women, to keep a husband? Is it our self esteem, or lack thereof that makes us nip and tuck, and color our hair. When I was end thirties, one day I had put a gray flash in my hair to see how I would look 15 years, 20 years later. My colleagues were shocked. Now I experiment with color and cut, to see what I can look like now. But more important is to see what I can think now, what I want to do now, what makes me feel in tune with the Wave Structure of Matter, with all the possible universes. I guess that aging made me a bit more insecure about counting on my body doing what it is supposed to do. I think there is more growth ahead. I feel I am still just the chrysalis, waiting to become a butterfly. I have to admire Dr Scarpone: he eats right and natural and exercises and pushes himself. So he can do what he wants to do, and having a choice at all times. My futurist reminded me that the most important action towards a good future is: keeping open as many options as one can and embracing change.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I was sending off a book to Chinchilla, Pennsylvania. It reminded me of the day Olive, who made a few of my daughter’s dresses, fed me steak during my pregnancy, made wonderful embroidered artwork and worked at Madame Arthur’s as a female impersonator, and I went to have lunch in town on a Sunday. He chose a rather posh fish restaurant and was wearing a long sleeveless astrakhan fur coat with circles cut out by the designer. He had also brought an ocelot coat, old, shedding, but a definite has been drop death gorgeous. This was in the early seventies. We were seated upstairs and Hugo, Olive is the stage name, had noticed that the old widows wore their mink little hats and the little mink (some in faux fur) collars on the coats. So in leaving the place he makes me drape the coat over my right shoulder and stride down those stairs the ocelot ‘slepping’ over them and leaving quite a bit of hair. He had instructed me, when the ladies looked at the scene, to say: ’old but real’. I did and giggling we left. He would always get me in ‘trouble’...
By the way, Hugo also had a small part in 8 1/2 by Federico Fellini...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Women's lives

Several of my female friends are in trouble because of their husbands. Two well in their sixties have been left for a younger woman. Two have trouble with husbands who have other ideas of where to live and who try to push their choice through. Rockcastle has been single for over 30 years and never found the right companion, Spooky is no longer interested in a relationship, and I have two wonderful dogs... At least they are not drinkers or depressed, don't lock you up in the house and like all my cooking.They are not intimidated by my writing or traveling... I apologize to my male friends but there is a lot of pain and eventually cynicism among women past menopause. Suddenly, one becomes invisible, is no longer wanted, uninteresting or so it seems. Yet, I have also noticed that two women in their seventies whom I know, found within a year a new companion after their respective husbands died. What is it I am missing in this pictures? Follows a poem written in a laundromat after listening to a lady.

I see the black blue eye
hear the nagging
and know the bruises of their soul

There is a war out there

Don’t wage that war on me
I lost my past and who I was
to find searching
a gentle caring sharing
But waves of anger
wash me to a breaking shore

Saturday, August 11, 2007

New beginnings

Having the keys to my new flat, I suddenly felt this urge to do a few things, besides celebrate with Rockcastle and have her come and look at it. So today I bought a bucket and a mop, cleaning stuff for the bathroom, even a special sponge, ecological soap for the kitchen, for the floor. All with different smells. I also bought chicken wire not to keep the pigeons out, but to protect my small dogs on the high balcony. I guess it is a ritual of sorts, cleaning and protecting one's animals. Planting flowers on the balcony is the next step.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Poetry night

Spookie was dragged along to a 'Muse trap', to a poetry reading. The usual format is one guest poet, who can hold the stage for anything between half an hour to an hour. Now that is a long time to be listening with full attention. After a 15 minutes break ten poets can come up to the free podium. Sometimes it is a hootenanny for poets: you'll have first time readers, of youth club age (couldn't understand a word he said, but his act was good and he had rhythm) and some way past the beginning of their pension. Some just drop in for a brief act, others make a fairly long drive for the privilege. Two were good or interesting. One poet reminds us of Hiroshima, August 6 and Nagasaki, August 9, 1947 and speaks of hereditary guilt then and now. He also reminds us of 9/11, and compares the events. The younger poet I liked was an Anarchist, full of good will and joy of life. Quite a contrast to the general dark and misogynous mood. One guy would have been interesting, being just a bit less stoned or drunk while delivering a speech about semantics...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Gray Justice

My friends here in Europa complain about the endless rain and local floods since June. Just returning from the desert I feel blessed by having had so much light. Here the grayness threatens to steal all color. In the desert, the clouds rolling over the high mountains, slowly filling up the valleys and then spreading their haze over the main road, blanketing gently the houses, unsharpening their contours, bring coolness, but not darkness. Having such a wide view it seems as if all weather is just a local happening. Four miles down the road the sun reflects upon the copper tailings of the mine. And anyway, you know that in one or two hours, the sun will have burned away all moisture and that the light will be so clear that sunglasses and a black rimmed hat can't really shield one's eyes. So much light and still there is darkness and fear in the peoples hearts: The President has decided that we are all dangerous, and that it is OK to read our e-mails, our blogs and listen to our telephone calls. It is not because it is legal now, that this is right. The USA used to be a free country.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

No death sentence

According to PEN’s information, Adnan Hassanpour, journalist and advocate of cultural rights for Iranian Kurds, was detained on 25 January 2007 in Marivan, a small city in the northwestern province of Kurdistan. He was reportedly held incommunicado without charge in a Ministry of Intelligence facility in Marivan, and transferred to Marivan prison on 26 March 2007. He appeared before the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj on 12 June 2007, in the presence of his lawyer.

Adnan Hassanpour was reportedly taken from Marivan prison to an unconfirmed place of detention, possibly the detention facility run by the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province, early in the morning of 15 July 2007. On 16 July 2007 he was told that he had been sentenced to death on charges of espionage and Moharebeh (being at enmity with God). The sentence was confirmed on appeal on 31 July 2007, and must now to be further confirmed by the Supreme Court.

In April 2007, the Mehr News Agency, which is said to have close links with Iran’s judiciary, apparently alleged that Adnan Hassanpour had been in contact with Kurdish opposition groups and had helped two people from Khuzestan province, who were wanted by the authorities, to flee from Iran. However, in an interview carried by the online publication Rooz, Hassanpour's lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, said that the charges related to a phone conversation he had with a staff member of Radio Voice of America. Iran is beautiful country but these practice stain its reputation. I plead with Ayattollah Chameney and President Ahmadinejad to release this fellow writer and to reconsider the practice of the death sentence which I oppose in all countries. I will go on working for peace and understanding between all peoples.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The road back

I took the long way home. My friend the Lion took me from the desert to a magic show by Aaron Radatz. Wonderful, sweet and kind and as you can see honoring Houdini as an escape artist. He escaped in under two minutes, a real feat. (No it is really not me dangling from the plane because I am cheap.) After just two hours sleep, the Lion took me through the dark of night into Las Vegas. I felt as awake as the couple on the picture. In Washington there were problems first with the airco of the plane:We are trying to cool off the plane and then There is something with the hydraulics... After seeing parts of a motor carried on and puzzled faces of mechanics, four hours later we were on our way in a different plane. Travel, it will always catch you unawares. So in the last couple of nights/days I didn't sleep much, but I am back on line, blog I must. By the way if the quality of friendship would be measured in how early a person is willing to rise to give you a ride, then I have some real good friends...

Thursday, August 2, 2007


After a good conversation with Dr Scarpone I came to the conclusion that to be the fireman in internet activism isn’t really my thing. I have been signing petitions, writing letters and e-mails and calling people in Congress, wrote the President… I felt that I was time and time again just addressing the symptoms of a greater malaise. I am reducing my activities to what to me are the core issues and want to concentrate on those. If we can fix them, the rest will follow hopefully. My list is: peace, and lets be clear I mean everywhere in the whole world in all these issues, good education, which leads to citizens thinking clearly and critically – the only way democracy can function- and free speech, also climate change or environmental issues since our survival may depend on these. I guess it all could be said in two words: communication and respect as the rappers say).
In the mean time the soap opera of events unfolds from day to day in my desert town: first the bar is closed (no liquor license) and nobody can get drunk, since the other place is too expensive for a hardy drinker. Now the other place is closed till September: The rumor goes, gone to Cuba to investigate a new business adventure. Really? So most mornings the only place for coffee and a full tank of gossip is the porch of the local store… See you there tomorrow morning and then I will be on the road again to Europe. Back on line: probably Monday. Today packing and stacking and taking leave of this hungry dried out town.