The Friends of California Libre...

09 January 2006

A Sunny January and What Else?

Greetings, friends,
Here's my New Year's Eve maybe your wondering about where I'm at will be apparent. I'm two weeks behind my own life, and what a way to begin 2006. As my sister said, she's over halfway to my age, and we're over halfway to 2010. Then what?

Too much recycling of my youth going on; of course, filling my IPod™ with New Wave music and trying to rouse myself to gawk at the circular glory of youngsters, it helps bear one down.

Early New Year's Day, a dreary gray morning if I do say, I left the underground bunker of the Hacienda for the enveloping fog along the freeway, and woke to a woolen cloud blanket. And I suddenly wrote this, which is not my best, but it came at once and I haven't had such inspiration in over a year:


Dear Mr. Spielberg:
In this patriotic vision
Jane Austen is living on Mars
An American citizen, of course
living beneath an American-invented force field
at an inflatable Hilton Hotel;
interplanetary product placement.

She's writing a new soap opera
about love, naturally
but with the European sensibility
for not aspiring too far above one's station;
her heroine would like to see peace in the Solar System,
has an appreciation for natural beauty and the fine arts,
a coolly passionate nature,
and knows how to manage her business affairs.

A young woman, not too pretty, timeless daughter of the bourgeoisie
is strolling the red desert
twirling her parasol against a sharp star.
The Earth is reflected
in a warped mirror
at the entrance to a wonderful masquerade.

And so we begin again, she says,
in a room full of strangers
dancing on the ruins of dead cities
dancing on the bones of our friends.

Her family says,
Our daughter has a message for the Earth.

Be at peace, for there is no violence here
Our planet is red
We have not poured rivers of blood upon it
for our dead world is ruled by imagination
only your living world is the recent flowering
of unimaginable slaughter.

And so we begin again, she says,
Full of champagne and ill-timed laughter
I would rather fall into the music
and wonder what ever became of the ghosts
dead and alive.

Miss Austen must interrupt, and she says,
In my stories the heroine
enters a carriage, or a train, or a fast car
a red one, sliding through the Grande Corniche;
when she enters a room, the past is outside
and the future lies at the center of the house.

But we are English, and she cannot leave
her family behind.
She is the perfect guilt of my mind.

Drive her into a tunnel
leave a horse's head in her bed
spray the wall with bullets
listen to her scream
paint her
bomb her
nuke her;
Close the book
shut off the telly
open the window
and look up to our red planet.

Join the masquerade.

And so we begin again, she says,
hand me a blood-red rose
look into my eyes; I love you truly
you, you, and you
but let us not linger in our farewell
for we Moderns are separated
by planes, telephones and automobiles
by music, movies and self-improvement;
no longer by clocks and calendars
not by forgotten New Year's.
-1 Jan 2006

And no, I hadn't seen "Munich" yet (saw it tonight and it put me off my babka), but it fit nicely with the theme; perhaps I'll e-mail it to Spielberg and start working on that treatment. It was related to just seeing "Wives and Daughters", the adaptation of a very weepy romance from the 1860s. Because yes, I feel great empathy with the ever-kind doctor's daughter, who will do anything but ask for what they want.

And now for something completely different (which should have been sent a few weeks ago)'s the history of Champagne!

And something I definitely meant to send on New Year's Eve, but you can save it for next year...or regret no have obeyed these New Year's superstitions:

Of course, I just have to have one last jibe, this one being against the Patriot Act, which was supposed to expire on New Year's:

USA Patriot Act Sunset: Provisions That Expire on December 31, 2005

Text of the June 10, 2004, CRS (Congressional Research Service) Report for Congress about temporary provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act on "enhanced foreign intelligence and law enforcement surveillance authority," which were scheduled to expire at the end of 2005 if they did not get Congressional renewal. Opens directly into a PDF. From the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

But our leaders thought otherwise...though we're supposed to think that's the best we ordinary folk can put up with:
Congress Extends Patriot Act for One Month
By Laurie Kellman
The Associated Press
New Life for Patriot Act Is No Bush Win
By Richard B. Schmitt and Mary Curtius
The Los Angeles Times
Statement on the Reauthorization of the Patriot Act
By Senator Russ Feingold
t r u t h o u t Statement

I doubt any of our neighbors would agree:
Canada Wants to Protect Itself from the Patriot Act
Le Devoir

But what the hell do they know?
Canadian Court OKs Group Sex in 'Swinger' Clubs

And thanks to Blake, for the enclosed comic strip. Happy New Year!

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