History channel and the answers to things that bother me

I’ve been wondering about why America was so paranoid about communism. I have read about McCarthyism and couldn’t believe it was true. Why would America, a country based on trying out new political ideas, be so FREAKED about communism?

And McCarthy, by most accounts, was this cynical guy using communism as a political lever to get power.

I just couldn’t see how the lever worked. What was in the minds of the populace that gave this fear purchase? Why would people who had gone through the depression let someone’s political opinions keep them from having a job? A job was a precious commodity. But the blacklists did just that. It was almost the meanest thing that anyone could think of, during the context of that time period.

I just couldn’t get it. What was so threatening about communism that people came up with this idea that there were spies everywhere, and that a communist message could be hidden in a movie script that would INFECT the whole nation. The pen had to be ripped from the hands of people who even knew people who knew communists.

BAD BAD BAD communists.

And yet, when I read the communist manifesto, I never got why it was so scary. Sure, for monarchies, it seemed pretty harsh. But we were voters here. We were a democracy. And if the majority thought there were good principles in communist philosophy, then it was our policy to let those have their sway.

I just couldn’t get it.

But I was watching the History channel this Saturday. I usually can’t STAND the history channel. Chris loves it. I have to groan and complain whenever he turns it on. It’s a joke now.

But I turned on the TV, and it was on the history channel and they were talking about the BOMB. The A-bomb.

I remembered, I remembered reading and thinking about nuclear war. It was the scariest thing anyone could think of. My mom told me she had been taught to hide under her desk if a bomb was dropped.

I laughed “What good would a desk do against a nuclear weapon? How ridiculous is that?”

But this show said that the A-bomb was a puny little bomb compared to the Hydrogen bomb that was invented soon after. Maybe a desk might have helped with the A-bomb.

They showed clips of the films like the kind my mom must have watched. “Little Jimmy has dropped to the ground, and he is covering his neck. That way he will avoid being burned.”

Oh my God! How scary!

Of course, WW 2 was when America raced to complete the A-Bomb, thinking that Germany had one in the works too. Germany surrendered before we got a chance to use the bomb on them. Whew.

But Japan didn’t. And we got to use the bomb on them.

I cannot describe my horror and sadness at the destruction caused by the A-bomb. The show said that it caused two deaths a week for 20 years after it was dropped. That’s a long time to keep bringing death. I hope that keeps the warmongers in check.

And on one hand, it has. No one has used a nuclear weapon since.

But check it out…There were Russian Spies who leaked the information of how to make a nuclear weapon to the Russians!

The Russians were on our side in the war, but that means nothing in geo-politics. Russian spies had infiltrated our military research operations and gotten the secret.

And the Russians had the bomb. And the Russians were busy taking over Europe, which showed a will to expansion.

And the Russians had the bomb.

And two people a week kept dying in Japan.

And maybe we were next.

THAT’s when America made a bigger, nastier bomb: the H-Bomb.

and I suddenly understood why we were so afraid of the Russians, and what purchase McCarthy had on the fears of the people.

That was the scared senseless part of America that he tapped into, and used to his advantage. When you have the scariest Mother of all bombs hanging over your head, freedom to try out new political theories seems to drop in importance.

SO that’s where all this “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party?” comes from.

But the strangest thing about it. The Rosenbergs were put to death for their role in the spying activity. THey were couriers. The guy who was on the inside, Fuchs, was in prison for nine years and then went on to lecture in East Germany.

Only nine years.

Stunning how things work out sometimes.

But the history channel gave me the last piece of the puzzle, despite my derision. I may watch it once in a while, now.

Passion and Ryan Seacrest

So I was listening to the radio today. Flipping stations to find music, and not just people yapping.

KISS fm was talking about a new poll that married women 2 to 1 are in favor of Bush for President, and that single women are in favor of Kerry. Ryan Seacrest took a call from someone about it.

HE brought it up, remember.

Lady gets on and says: “I am a married woman and I do NOT want to see Bush as our president.” She goes on to explain, quoting something from Cheney and drawing some fairly well-thought out conclusions.

Ryan says, “I appreciate your passion, I appreciate that you have taken the time to find out about this issue and that you are going to go out and vote. That is very admirable. I’m also putting you on my list of people never to piss off under any circumstance!”

That pisses me off.

Mr. flash-of-the-fashion-moment brought up politics. And then he basically tells her to back off and not care so much, ’cause it’s excessive.

I get this response a lot too. I care about whatever I do. But I get this feeling that it is intimidating to others. Like, you can only talk about something if you don’t get too excited about it.

It’s not COOL to be passionate about things that everyone else in the room is not equally passionate about.

I find this frustrating. Why is this lock step necessary?

R – E – S – P – E – C – T

I try not to talk about my job very much. I try not to think about my job off the clock.

I am so much more than what I do to make money. And yet I spend more time trying to make money than I do sleeping. Big huge chunk of life-time.

This blog, and other creative things I do, is supposed to be a refuge. But there are things happening that make me think.

I think I blogged about Life of Pi. Maybe I didn’t …Anyway, dude was writing about animals in a zoo. He said, the animals needed to know where they were in their social heirerarchy so that they could feel secure and concentrate on getting food and sleeping.

Very subtle things let them know who was on top, whose roar they had to listen to, etc. And once they knew they could relax. But until then, it was first order of business.

The floor I work on has been re-organized. All the cubes are shuffling. And they are building new offices with DOORs. But those aren’t around yet.

The amount of trouble that moving should cause is much bigger than the sum of it’s visible parts.

THings are breaking, women are crying, and MANY MANY tasks on other floors require two people right now when they only took one before.

Low voiced conversations are up and down the hall.

And also, no one knows where anyone is anymore.

We’ve asked for a new floor plan.

SHH! it’s a secret.

Full up

So this weekend was really exciting-in a completely internal way.

The prior week was great; I’ve got some things going on a work that are keeping me very sharp. It’s cool, I love a challenge, and it kind of spills over.

And then I got in this discussion…It was the start of a very long discussion with a pup here…I shouldn’t have, because it was about religion and we didn’t agree. And he trips my triggers, because he is so much like a lot of people I used to know.

But it was a very hieghtening conversation…About the meaning of meaning, as held by words and the laws of God and man. AND because I couldn’t finish it, it left me all restless and feeling like I should pace and talk to myself.

So then the next day, I saw Spiderman 2. A very cool movie. Also left me thinking about a lot of things. I really appreciate the heroic ideals that superheroes and comics show…

Which leads up to the NEXT day, sunday, where I got to actually meet and talk to one of the writers for Superman comic books. wow.

he had written this graphic novel “It’s a Bird…” about the problems with superman. The character in the book was semi-autobiographical. He was trying to deal with what it meant to be superman, and why anyone should care.

And we all went on about creativity and humanness and writing and MORE stuff that practically made me want to jump out of my skin with excitement.

There is so much to think about and do!

And I AM doing things. I am working hard, every day, on this book that I want to finish. I have a long way to finishing. hmmm….it just takes time.

One of the things about my heightening discussion…The meaning of meaning…It is hard to talk about it…I know what I know now. I don’t have to talk about it anymore. I can, and it is exciting to talk about it, but because I know what I know is true, I don’t require validation. I don’t HAVE to talk about it.

And on that same note, I know that what I am writing [my book] is worthwhile. I don’t require validaton. But the getting it out there, doing it justice, is tough. It takes some perseverance.

Which is to say…Pacing and restlessness are fine, but I’m in this for the long haul. I have to be careful not to burn myself out…

iTunes and music compression on Computers

Okay, Brother Superior is telling me iTunes is the answer. He works for apple, so he has to say that…

But I am very suspicious of downloaded music. It just sounds like crap. I mean, didn’t we all move from am to fm and cassettes to CDs because it sounded better?

I find my appreciation for music is increased when it sounds good, when I can hear the nuances. Sometimes, I won’t even realize that’s why I like a song so much. THen I buy the cd and listen closely and realize that the song I keep stopping to listen to on the radio has great quality sound.

so…When I encounter the craze for MP3s, it’s like…oh man! it’s compressed, all the nuance squeezed out. I don’t want to listen to crappy recordings of music! I don’t care that I can fit thousands of songs on a player the size of a credit card. I NOTICE that it sounds bad.

But before I whip out a flame at Brother Superior for recommending the apple version of mp3s, I decided to doublecheck. This guy
thinks iTunes has the goods.

I will have to check it out. Stay tuned…

Kevin Lyttle- Turn Me On

Okay, this one song played on the radio was driving me crazy. I couldn’t get enough of it.

I had to listen carefully before I found out the name of the artist: Kevin Lyttle.

SO I betook myself to Virgin records, and wandered the aisles and got some non-help from the guy who worked there:

“Kevin Lyttle? That’s under Dance hall.”

Off to find the Dancehall section.

“Miss? MISS? It’s over here.”

That’s Reggae…

“It’s listed as Dancehall, but we put it in the Reggae section because we don’t have a dancehall section.”

But I looked there already.

“Yeah, we don’t have a sign for him.”

Well, at least I have it now. Couldn’t wait to hear the album.

That song still kicks ass.
The rest of the album doesn’t.

It’s not bad…Maybe it will grow on me. But I could probably have done with buying the single.

Homeschool people

I go to this amazing coffee shop for open mike night. Psychobabble, in Los Feliz. GREAT forum for original work of any kind.

I shared this story about homeschool last time.

After I was done, I was kicking it with the MC, Jocelyn and some of the other writers there. I was telling Jocelyn this engrossing story.

One guy there, who had sung bluegrass that night, interrupted me. “I’m trying to Tell you!”

I stopped my story and listened to him. He is fascinating to watch, because he has a vampire fetish. His canine teeth have been replaced with fangs. Not huge, but just enough to keep you looking at his mouth when he talks.

“I homeschooled my stepson and daughter! And when you were talking about rabbits, we almost had rabbits! That could have been us.”

A homeschool parent.

Another person asked, “You got rabbits?”

“No,” he said. “My ex-wife wanted rabbits, but we were living in a van, so we couldn’t have them.”

“I’m sure your kids were perfectly adjusted,” I told him.

“It was great! We travelled around to places like NEBRASKA.”

…need I say more…?

Not out of the woods yet

I talked once before about my family moving to Humboldt county when I was small. We came back to alaska, because that didn’t work out.

We had moved down to California to start a church. It was the thing, in our circle, and so we did it. We were in Humboldt for four years, but it didn’t work out.

And it was a hard thing for my parents. They believed in it, they believed in the team. THey thought they would be planting a church, a church that would be around for years and years and years and be a sheltering place of refuge.

But that wasn’t what happened for us. The pastor who’d come down to plant the church with our team started spreading his seed elsewhere. That didn’t come out till later, but it was very evident that something had gone very wrong.

My parents listened to that voice that said, “This is not right…” and got out. They were quite wrenched about it. THey wanted to build a monument, a church community that would be there for a long time.

But they left after four years, feeling like rats. Dad went back to Alaska to look for a job, and to prepare a place for the rest of us. That meant mom was supposed to pack everything up, us four kids-wait, three. The oldest was 18 now and could stay behind on his own.

But the house and us kids, all packed up and ready to be driven up the alaska canada highway to Daddy. It was a lot of packing. Mom was very organized and cranky about all the things, keeping track of what went where.

But the last day, she sat down on a chair and cried. I was 11: “Mom, why are you crying? You are all done! You should be happy.”

She sniffed and sobbed, and then told me “I only cry when it’s all done.”

It wasn’t done, though. SHe still had to drive all the way to alaska, in a VW bus filled with her children and our stuff. But to her mind, the hardest part was over. The part where she packed up her feelings and her dreams and put them away forever.

For me, I feel as if I’ve come through the hard part right now. It’s a sort of thing, where, you’re not quite out of the woods, but there is a light filtering through the leaves.

Now that the heat of the battle has passed, it’s okay to fall down in the dirt and beat my fists and howl with all the hurt I couldn’t feel before. Let the guard down. I faced the monsters so now I can be weak.

The ‘B’ word

I had to go an another flight this week. As I was getting my laptop out and putting it in the gray tub, the guy in front of me was taking off his tennis shoes.

He had two cute little boys, maybe three years old, with him. The TSA said, “Take off all shoes”. He was a dad, alone, which probably had him panicking in the first place. Small children with no female present makes many men nervous. His face was very red.

So he had to take off the little ones shoes. He wasn’t happy about this. He said, sarcastically, “Yeah, because there might be a BOMB in them.”

The TSA guy who had mechanically told him “Take off all your shoes” became excited. “Did you hear what he SAID?” he gestured to the supervisor.

The supervisor took him out. He got extra searched.

Don’t say the ‘B’ word at the aiport. Not even kidding.