Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Musings: New Starts

Today is Koko’s birthday, so we celebrated with two walks, first a short one beneath a crescent moon and the glittering stars of Orion’s belt, followed by a second one on a mauka trail lined with ripe guava, ferns and lush stands of vervain, well-tended by bees. Have you ever eaten the tiny purple flowers of the vervain? They taste slightly like mushrooms.

The only sounds were the wind in my ears and the trees, twittering, singing birds and the low vibrating murmur of cattle talk, punctuated by an occasional bellow. And Koko, panting as she thundered past, making countless loops through the pasture, chasing wild chickens.

I’m not sure if this is the day she actually came into the world, but it’s the day I brought her home from the pound, and so she was truly born again, without having to pledge any allegiance to Jesus. The minute I saw her hanging from a cage in the shelter, looking not unlike a captive fruit bat desperate to be freed, I knew she was the dog for me.

She was two or four or six years old; no one knew for sure, and though she’d been picked up as a stray, it was obvious she’d spent time in a house, and that she’d been trained, although not in the usual commands of sit and stay. Her repertoire consisted of duck, crouch and cower, and I’m happy to say she’s learned some new tricks in the two years since she joined me.

I don’t know what breed Koko is, other than poi, and she fits the ancient Hawaiian dog description laid out in “Native Planters” exactly: long body, short legs, large upright ears, small head, tail that curls forward. She comes from a gene pool that’s been in these Islands a long time.

I’ve had some great dogs, and Koko is no different. When I’m with her, which is most of the time, I’m often reminded of the words that the poet Mary Oliver wrote to describe her dog, Percy: “...more wonderful than a diamond necklace, which can’t even bark.”

In short, Koko never disappoints, which is something I cannot say about anything else, save for nature, and certainly not the politicians gathered in Denver and performing their ritual of choosing a presidential candidate and his running mate (the war monger Joe Biden) who supposedly represent us.

Never mind the mahalo receptions hosted by AT&T for the lawmakers that did their bidding and the rousing reception for House Speaker Nancy “impeachment is off the table” Pelosi and the corporations that shell out the huge donations that give them access and favor while the people, those with agendas like stopping the war and eliminating hunger, are relegated to the streets and detention cages where they’re threatened with arrest and blasted with pepper spray.

Yeah, there will be some new figureheads in the White House come next January, but the power brokers behind the scene will remain the same. I’ve never had much faith in elections, and I still don’t. The kind of change we need won’t happen in the voting booth, or the halls of Congress. What’s needed are far more drastic measures, an entirely new start. This system is broke past the point of fixing.

Finally, I have decided to start moderating comments, which generated a bit of discussion on yesterday’s post. I’d rather not do it, as it’s a hassle for me and I’m a person who personally appreciates maximum freedom. Some people liked the free for all, but others did’t, and it’s impossible to please everyone. All I know is I wasn’t enjoying a lot of the flotsam and jetsam that was caught up in my current.

It’s not, as the perps like to claim, an attempt to stifle dissenting views. I’m happy to get them. But if you’re making a personal attack, or a racist comment, or blathering, or hammering away with repeated comments that don’t break new ground, you’re not going to get published. Look at it as an opportunity to be creative.

Anyway, it’s all part of the grand experiment of blogging, so we’ll just see how it goes.

10 comments:

Andy Parx said...

Biden is also the biggest shill for the credit card industry in congress and was primarily responsible for the anti-bankruptcy bill a few years back. All the credit card companies are based in Delaware due to their lax laws about interest and lack of other restrictions.

Anonymous said...

"...while the people, those with agendas like stopping the war and eliminating hunger, are relegated to the streets and detention cages where they’re threatened with arrest and blasted with pepper spray."

I know you love to quote Democracy Now as a fair and impartial observer (Oh, that's right they came after it was over) but maybe those overzealous protesters brought it on themselves by not following the rules of the day and conducting themselves in a mature responsible manner.

Anonymous said...

-maybe those overzealous protesters brought it on themselves by not following the rules of the day and conducting themselves in a mature responsible manner.-
maybe, but probably not. the strategies and tactics of law enforcement has taken it to another level of execution. the police state is in effect. suppression starts at home; i hope you are feeling more secure about your homeland these days.

Anonymous said...

> Yeah, there will be some new figureheads in the White House come next January, but the power brokers behind the scene will remain the same. I’ve never had much faith in elections, and I still don’t. The kind of change we need won’t happen in the voting booth, or the halls of Congress. What’s needed are far more drastic measures, an entirely new start. This system is broke past the point of fixing. <

And sadly, amen. The sweet whisper of power to ego is too euphoric to resist. Individuals may say no, but systems eventually succumb -- swearing all the while that their motives are for the masses.

Time to scrub the floors. Beneath the wax. Below the linoleum. All the way down to the cold concrete.

Doug said...

Happy B-Day to your dog!

Joan said...

Thanks, Doug. I know you understand the joys of dog companionship!

Anonymous said...

Another problem with moderation is it kills spontaneous debate. It gives the comment section a disappointing molasses-y feeling.

Joan said...

Yes, it doesn't allow the same thrill of instant gratification. But then, so much of the back and forth wasn't "debate" anyway, but more of an "oh yeah, well you're a bigger one" kind of discourse. I'm on line a lot, so will try to keep things flowing.

Anonymous said...

> Another problem with moderation is it kills spontaneous debate. It gives the comment section a disappointing molasses-y feeling. <

Before blogs, before Usenet, back in the earliest days of BBS, it was a truism that the proportion of belligerent posts increases as the square of the freedom of access. Anonymous or signed, an unmoderated blog is like a bug net in a breeze -- it inevitably collects a cadre of "Oh, yeah? So's ya muddah!" types who delight in turning discussions into brawls.

I've posted on blogs whose owners upload new comments only once a day. To me, the thing that’s missing is the vicarious thrill of faceless debate. The empowerment of slamming words together like rocks, and before they've stopped sparking, clicking PUBLISH YOUR COMMENT. The gratification of seeing one's emotions instantly in print.

But nothing else is lost, not really.

I'd suggest that another criterion for comment moderation is the care that goes into the original post. Regardless of a blog's political stripe, it seems unfair for well crafted writing to be tossed into a mosh pit of Two-Fingered Sluggos.

Besides, if things get boring, Joan can always open the door and let in some Sluggos.

;)

Anonymous said...

write on joan! its your blog and your rules. mahalos for the coverage. wish you were at the convention, too. glad there are alternatives for info and perspective. cheers for the posts and the moderation. hope you keep it up. malama pono,.....jimmy t