Big brother and cautious moms

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories Leave a Comment

I don’t know where to start. I don’t want to leave Mediagirl’s blogging on cloture and what it means to constituents as versus the politicians. Nor do I want to leave the subject of Giuliana Sgrena (Nur al-Cubicle has up a translation of an interview of her by Marco Imarisio of Il Corriere dell Sera). I want to talk about Georgia’s redistricting and the State Senate’s Democratic caucus which “led by the chamber’s black members, walked out of the Legislature Friday after an emotional vote on voting rights“. Plus I’ve Idyllopus Adventures in Blogging Film reviews that I have lined up brain and deskwise to do. Then there’s always the War on Terrorism and who’s terrorizing who.
I’ve also been found by gambling spammers hitting the comments area and need to do something about that.

But for now I will write on the killing of Court Judge Rowand Barnes here on Friday. What happened is horrible. I hope that someone doesn’t take advantage and decide that this means all defendants will have to wear handcuffs in court and their jail garb (Nichols had his handcuffs removed so he could change clothes when he stole the deputy’s gun). But what struck me was that in a city of several million people, in response to the shooter (okay, alleged shooter) being on the loose, they locked down a number of the county’s public schools and provided extra security for a sports game that night to help ease the nerves of jittery Atlantans.

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Amaryllis eyes

Juli Kearns Art-Photos, Everyday Stories 1 Comment


Took a digi snapshot last night of our amaryllis for family. The “eyes” effect is actually just an accidental trick of light and shadow, the white being the wall behind the flower. Still, quite something. I looked around on the web at other photos of amaryllis and didn’t come across anything even vaguely similar. Was having a couple of weeks ago a conversation with a photographer friend about how our brains are configured to look for patterns in things and perhaps especially facial features. Click for slightly larger view.

Legalistic theology and bankruptcy

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories 1 Comment

My mother wrote me mentioning Bankruptcy Reform and I thought she was asking for further info on it but realized later she wasn’t, she had another question on it that had to do with religion’s role. still the particulars according to Mediagirl’s blog are here (fair rundown, mom) which I found via Alas, a Blog and there’s a link too to a rant at Dailykos by Maryscott Oconnor.

Maryscott Oconnor notes:

The details of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 — a Draconian piece of shit so OBVIOUSLY crafted as a Republican Paean to MBNA (the LARGEST SINGLE CONTRIBUTOR to the REPUBLICAN PARTY — never, ever forget that) and their co-conspirators, in a giant “Fuck You, Assholes — We Want MORE!” – are horrifying in the extreme.

One of the charms of wealth is that if you are wealthy wealthy wealthy you don’t, of course, have everything taken from you because you put your assets in a trust…the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 provides exemptions for asset protection trusts. Oconnor gives a nice rundown of the amendments (such as one that would rein this in) that were rejected. Such as exempting debtors from “means testing if their financial problems were caused by identity theft” which was a no go, and I would like to hear Rejected: the amendment that would limit the amount of interest charged on any extension of credit to 30 percent.

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One learns when one is two that a big fat square will not fit through a little peg hole. Intelligence is judged by some on an ability to recognize and accept this fact

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories 2 Comments

In the comment area of Washington Monthly’s this article which states Italian Foreign minister Fini has rejected the U.S. account.

Is it any wonder? At dailykos is a summary of Gianfranco Fimi’s testimony to the Italian House of Representatives. Paper Tigress listened to the testimony at La RepubblicaRadio.It and prepared the summary which is also up on her website.

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I want to read Giuliana Sgrena’s story

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories Leave a Comment

CNN executive, Jordan Eason, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland is said to have said that the U.S. military deliberately targeted journalists–he knew of about 12 who’d not only been killed but had been targeted as a matter of policy.

Jordan Eason, reportedly having said to have said the above, then resigned from CNN and said he hadn’t meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when they accidtantally killed journalists.

Today comes the news of another U.S. checkpoint slaughter in Iraq. This time the car taken aim at was one in which was Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, just released after being held hostage for a month. She was wounded. The Italian secret service agent, Nicola Calipari, who had facillitated her release “threw himself over her” and was killed. Two other agents were wounded.

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I was back at the bottom of the hill, it was night, and I had started my walk up it

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories, H.o.p. art Leave a Comment

Wednesday a.m. I was still stressing over CSS when from the other room came ooo, nice tingly tinkly xylophone on PBS Kids. Early millennium gateway to jazz of yesteryear. For the second time in two days I felt briefly upbeat. And then PBS took my new happy theme music away and returned to the Arthur show. I’d labored on CSS all night, a constant stream of water dripping sounds accompanying, courtesy of H.o.p.’s computer and a browser window he’d left open on Brainpop world. Altering my reality would have been as simple as me putting one foot on the floor, leaning over and turning down the speakers on his computer. But I’m so used to H.o.p. using these sound clips as background atmosphere, even when he’s asleep I don’t think to turn them off. That lethargy may change now. I’ve got new speakers on my computer, my others having died, and they are some good sounding speakers with bass end. Some of the music on websites H.o.p. likes to visit sounds considerable-different. His eyes go wide. Wow.

Lionelhampton.nl has a lot of samples available which is what I’m going through now, a couple of days later, Arthur again on because H.o.p. is crazy about cartoons. He likes the xylophone too. “Where’s that music coming from?” he asks. I show him. “Can I keep that song?” Sure thing.

Yesterday I posted the ramble on Loon via Coulter, which I’d written Sunday but quite often it takes me several days to decide, yeah, maybe I’ll go ahead and post. So last night I dreamt about my junior high…

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The birds are singing for me and my dying mouse

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories Leave a Comment

Having entered upgrade and theme adjustment limbo, I was back at it early (couldn’t sleep) staring at the screen wondering where in the world my “edit” links had run off to. They’d been there a few hours earlier when I fell over on the bed, I knew it. Idiot that I am, didn’t occur to me that I wasn’t logged in but those of us who are more challenged than others, I think we have gifts to offer, such as making others feel good about themselves. Anyway, hark, I realized that was the soft sweet sound of birds tweeting I’d been hearing just under the roar of our lame loud air purifier. Checked the clock. Was about 5:30 a.m. The time about right. It occurred to me I’d not heard morning birds in quite some time, you don’t get warblers much around here. At least not loud enough I can hear them in the apartment. I saw and smelled new green, rose-yellows of dawn climbing above the neighboring brick apartment building on our east side. There are no windows in this room but the soul has a peephole. Yes, sing in the spring. My gravelly heart softened slightly. I answered email and took care of a few other computer chores while procrastinating on what might demand real decision-making or using left and right click on my mouse which mostly died last night. A while later I realized the birds were still singing. Persistent suckers. Spring will do that. I read a few blogs while I considered what to do about my edit links disappearing when they had been there last night, then I realized I wasn’t logged in and logged in and found the edit links were back which would have been good if not so disorienting, cause and effect not one of my stronger suits. Marty got up which meant I was probably now officially up and not just sleepless, and I realized the birds were still singing. Very rare for our city alley to sound like a tropical bird sanctuary. At which point I looked past the roaring air purifier over at my son’s computer. He still had up on the monitor a math game he’d been playing last night. I went over and leaned my ear into his speakers. Yep. Behind the math game window was another game he’d been playing,. Jungle theme. Like I said, some of us are more challenged than others.

“You know there are four monsters,” my son says to me as he enters the room, first words out of his mouth this morning. He tells me the names of the monsters. Well, doesn’t just tell. An annunciation meant to illuminate mom on their glorious nature. I ask him if he made up those remarkable names. He says no. I say oh where did you learn them. “My brain,” he says, and goes off to watch PBS and Caillou then comes back in and asks me if I want to be a bear and tells me he’s a bear with sharp claws and off again he goes to watch Caillou, calling on mom to follow with his two foot high stack of drawing paper and a handful of pens. “Lots of pens,” he says, “I want lots of pens.”

Reading back over the post, quite a dyslexic morning we’re having here. Three in one sentence alone. He’s becomes his. Follow becomes fall. Pens becomes pins. I had thought I wrote he’s. I had thought I wrote follow. I had thought I wrote pins. The words were in my head, I was seeing them in my head as I typed them out, and I could have sworn my fingers were typing them out true, but no.

“Mommy, there was a dragon and it had a cut shaped like a lightning scar because of the evil monster lizard. Everyone who saw it blew up because of its monstrous powers.”

What can I say but that I’m glad I don’t have to clean up after it.

Karen gets a quoter: When uniformity is compromised, then authority no longer holds

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories 3 Comments

Kelli Davis, a student at Fleming Island High School in Green Cove Springs, Florida, wore a tuxedo for her high school yearbook picture. Sam Ward, the school’s principal, said it must be removed because Kelli was wearing boy’s clothes and was not following the rules on dress. The decision was debated at a school board meeting attended by about 200 people, at which 24 people spoke, the majority of whom supported Kelli. The school board took no action and so the picture will be pulled. Bruce Bickner, the school board attorney, said there was no written dress code for the pictures but principals had the “authority” to set standards.

Karen Gordon, no doubt a proud patriot, attending the board meeting, applauded Ward’s decision. Said Karen, “When uniformity is compromised, then authority no longer holds.”

This astute appraisal of the situation appears to belong all to Karen. She thought it up in her very little-bitty own, or her husband did, or her pastor did, or maybe Principal Ward said it at a PTA meeting and Karen was so impressed that the words were impressed upon her brain with the near vehemence of the ten commandments. I looked up “in Google “When uniformity is compromised, then authority no longer holds” and there were no returns. Karen, if she knew this, would be so proud she could about pop.

Back to the tuxedo for a minute. The argument couldn’t possibly be about a woman wearing trousers as I have never seen a class picture in which the whole person is pictured, instead it is usually a head and shoulders shot. Never mind that pants on females is the norm. Back in the late 60s pants on females were, yes, an issue in ass-backwards conservative America but I remember somewhere along 1969 girls being permitted to wear pants to school in most parts and then around 1972 jeans became acceptable. It’s true that at church services and rights of passage (weddings, funerals) dresses on women still tend to be the norm, a quirk that is attributed to etiquette, but defies rational explanation. Just like the gold standard is another culture quirk. And eating with forks or fingers.

Head and shoulders shot. You can’t see the pants, so the pants couldn’t be the problem. Is it the bow tie? Are bow ties overtly masculine? Have I missed some phallic symbolism in the bow tie that marks it as sacred to the male? Or maybe the school system doesn’t want to appear to be promoting a service industry career for women, tuxedo shirts and bow ties not uncommon as service uniforms in the restaurant or catering world?

Uniformity. Pants weren’t ever an issue, actually. Kelli showed up for her school photo and what happened was there were drapes for females to put over their bodices and tux tops for the guys to don. Kelli was uncomfortable with the drape baring her chest. She opted for the tux.

Kelli happens to be lesbian. Kelli’s mother says her lesbianism has nothing to do with the matter, that it’s a human rights issue. The papers beg to differ, lesbian being in most of the headlines. An article by Susan Clark Armstrong at altweeklies.com certainly suggests that lesbianism factored in principal’s decision, and that Kelli believes this was a factor.

Reason wasn’t a factor, that’s for sure.

Kelli is one of those problem students that cause headaches for school administrators every year. You know the type, the kind of person who feels compelled to try for a little self-expression and autonomy. There’s nothing that can throw a cog in the orderly wheels of a fine-tooled school system, the machine to seize up and start throwing gears, than a picture of a woman in a bow tie crossing the desk.

Truth is, Kelli’s lesbianism is a factor, but she would likely have had the same response in that school if she’d not been a lesbian. The problem in Sam Ward world is anyone, male or female, exercising a bit of brain matter and questioning our largely haphazard potluck culture table, what makes sense and what needs to go in the trash. Karen Gordon fully grasps the problem when she defends the principal’s position with her statement, “When uniformity is compromised, then authority no longer holds.” She knows that when individuals start thinking for themselves in school, there’s no telling what can happen.

You know Sam Ward and Karen Gordon. You remember them, don’t you? Sure you do. They’re the students whose only question was ever, “Will this be on the test?”

Meanwhile. It’s tough to concentrate when your seven-year-old is rolling the bathroom in wet toilet paper and painting vanilla yogurt on the bathroom mirror. But I try. Besides, he was kind enough to make a movie of it for posterity so I’m not missing anything. He and his dad were supposed to be playing Ultra Seven and King Joe. H.o.p. and I played Ultra Seven and King Joe last night for quite a while. This was after one of his questions on mortality, asking me if I was going to die when I got lines all around my eyes and was on a cane. He asked me what it was like when people die and asked me to act it out. I at first demurred then figured what the hell and did a good old drawn-out stage death. H.o.p. said I did a good job of dying. Then suddenly I was Ultra Seven and he was King Joe. When he was later doing his reading program, he’d had enough of one of the games at one point and moaned his hand was oh so tired from clicking the mouse (yeah, right, this is a kid who draws four hours a day and can play computer games for hours). I said hey I’m Ultra Seven trying to reach and attack you before you can get to the end of the game. He liked that. He liked it so much we played it over and over again. I’d start toward him, he’d yell freeze and I’d stay in that frozen position for a while and then he’d say I could go and so on and so forth. Thus does H.o.p. continue down the reading road in his own fashion. I laid down on the couch to rest my head this evening and when I came back in he had the reading program up and was doing the next episode.

H.o.p.’s itinerary for the day

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories, H.o.p. art Leave a Comment


H.o.p.’s itinerary

Who wouldn’t like a daily itinerary like this one? There’s at top (1) going to the office supply store to get paper (drawing of pen and paper to the right) (2) going to the “singing store” to make CDs (computer and CD case just left of musical note house) to give to (3 fingered hands on the right exchanging CD) someone at a music store (4) and then going to the video store to get a video (upper right is a video box) and then at last to the toy store (bottom left) to get a Dino Rider, a T Rex toy they stopped making in 1988 (the handsome creature on the bottom right). Yes, there was no Dino Rider, but H.o.p. had to see for himself there was no Dino Rider. “There may be one. They may have it. I might be wrong and I might be right. But let’s go find out.”

Of course he comes home with a 2 pack of Transformers and another Mega Bloks Dragon for his collection.

H.o.p.’s a dramatic one. He didn’t want to go to the grocery store. By then, he said, he was so tired, “I’m going to pass out.” When he was told he wouldn’t have milk or toilet paper all night he changed his mind.

He’s still loving his reading program. He did two episodes yesterday just for fun, taking digipics of the screen which is what he does. On his computer right now is a Brainpop flash he’s been watching for three days now. Moby and Tim educate on “Flight”. Tim gets air sickness and vomits. (They know what kids like.) H.o.p. stopped the animation on Tim in mid upchuck and so, well, there it is, in our supposed dining room that functions as a computer/living/work room, glance over from the table and there is Tim regurgitating perpetually.

We recognize Margaret Spellings is a sensitive issue and we wanted to make sure that parents had an opportunity to introduce this subject to their children in their own time

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories 1 Comment

Settle down to watch “George Shrinks” on WPBA with H.o.p. and there it is, a brand new commercial, swear it is (though I could be wrong) which gets down to business with big white script on the screen informing 84% of you see Public Broadcasting as a Safe Haven for your child. They may as well have substituted with footage of Department of Education’s Margaret Spellings, PBS and the Coalition of Vigilante Mom and Pop Justices clubbing poor Buster Rabbit bloody senseless for getting into the maple sugar patch. What’s disturbing is I doubt the message was concocted to reassure people like me that PBS is only doing what the majority wants. Instead the message is crafted for those who have already won, a scramble to beg their pleasure, frothing desperate, a pandering declaration of submission to Bush’s All-Consuming Mandate.

Disgusted, I go check email and find that WPBA has finally gotten around to responding to my protest on their not airing Buster’s Vermont adventure.

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I’m gibbering already

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories 2 Comments

The doorbell rings. Our friendly neighborhood USPS woman with a box. (And she is friendly.) H.o.p. grabs a fork and begins his transformation of the carton. He punches holes. Gets a flashlight and shines it through the holes onto the wall. “Look, a Phoenix!” And it is. A magical flutter of light wings and wisp of body that soars up the wall to the ceiling. He gets his puppet Phoenix and shines the flashlight through it so it is radiant orange and gold.

My brother and sister-in-law were over Sunday with their little girl who is a remarkable combination of brilliant, inquisitive intelligence and enviable, easy-going, even-tempered, good-natured, self-assurance. They brought a gift of homemade whole wheat bread made from grain they themselves ground. The bread is a perfectly formed loaf, light rather than dense and chewy stick-to-the-back-of-your-throat dry like my homemade whole wheat bread used to be eons ago, the one or two loaves I made.

Speaking of something that would be hard going down if not oiled by (alas) history and the travesties of Newt Gingrich, Sonny Perdue and Zell Miller (to name a few), is the announcement that Duluth’s Ralph Reed, of Century Strategies, will be running for Lt. Gov. in 2006. My first thought was I guess now I’ll be paying more attention to Georgia’s hopeless situation (I’ve preferred to block all knowledge Ralph Reed was down here) rather than South Dakota’s, and then just a few short minutes after that thought the internet reveals that Ralph Reed’s public campaign contributions, 15 lined up at Newsmeat, include one to John Thune for South Dakota in 2002 and another for John Thune for U.S. Senate in 2004.

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Tip: State Court Jury Duty and bored? There’s Scrabble and Backgammon in the coat closet

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories 5 Comments

I phoned in and listened to the recorded message thinking I hope I don’t really have to be paying attention to any of this. No, such luck. Yes, I know it’s my sacred civic duty so tar and feather me already but one of the last things I wanted to do was to be honored with the privilege of jury duty. We’re self-employed and homeschooling. My husband would have had to cancel his studio session today in order to stay home with H.o.p. but his brother, who had just moved down from NY Saturday (“The most frightening thing in the world is waking up and realizing I moved to Atlanta”) dropped by Sunday evening and offered to babysit. Also, H.o.p. was concerned with mom having to go to a government building. He hears enough about the government that concern is the first response (no, not shame on me, shame on them) upon learning that mom is going down to a government building. (“It’s all right, sweetie.” “But President Bush is in the government building.” “Not this government building.”) The kind of concern that isn’t assuaged when he says, “Don’t go!” and I say but I must and he demands why and I tell him the not-so-fine print that the government will hit me with a hefty fine or submit a bench warrant for my arrest if I don’t go, which means a court date regardless. I mean, they make jury duty so inviting in the first place, don’t they? If instead you opened your mail to “Summoning the Honor of Your Presence for coffee and homemade blueberry muffins with prosecution, defense and judge” then I’d feel a bit differently about it, more relaxed, even if the fine-print said the coffee and muffins would be at my own expense. Send me a blue slip that says Summons for State Court Jury Duty 8:15 a.m. Monday or you’re arrested and I get testy.

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