Friday, September 30, 2005

Just a quickie

[Our usual reminder for those new to the Parlour, that all the EZLN, zapatista and Other Campaign translations can be found in our most staid Library.]

I so must find the time to respond to some of our Comments.

Especially the one bemoaning the fact that easy girls are just never to be found when one most requires them. I do have some Helpful Hints on that subject.

And now I know what has been bedevilling me of late - the damnable Santa Anna Winds, and I had been oblivious. Much too busy with boring details to notice the larger picture.

Speaking of which [and we can guess which], our little periodical of future renown is much on my mind. We shall obviously require an Advice Column, tons of glossies and some interesting Classifieds.

Bear this in mind, and, yes, all Vexing Queries, stunning photos and advertisements shall be cheerfully accepted.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Easy girls and hot topics

[As most of us know, all our EZLN, zapatista and Other Campaign translations are filed in our terribly proper Library, rather than in our properly improper Parlour.]


In addition to my regular notation of above, I really must encourage intrepid souls to not ignore our Comments. Who would have thought that such a minor aside – and that only in initials – about an overly prolific author of note would set off such a stream of lovely thoughts.

I wonder what might happen if I were to casually mention that the only Eco I ever enjoyed was Foucault’s Pendulum, semiotics be damned. Or what I think should be done with Derrida.

Actually this might be a good topic for our first issue of YO! Basta. A list of all those must-have, rarely read, often carried, tomes which are useful only for establishing one’s street cred amongst like-minded boys or for getting lucky with earnest, fetchingly naïve, undergraduate girls.

Unless, of course, the girls in question happen to be salonistas, in which case they would gently shoo the Wittgenstein carrying boor out the door and wait for the one bearing Wordsworth. Whilst penning something sensible themselves.

And murmuring “God, for a man who solicits insurance,” as I so often do. Along with most of the other lines from Dorothy Parker’s perfect Bohemia [“Authors and actors and artists and such/never say nothing and never say much” and the one preceding the insurance quote: “People who do things exceed my endurance,”].

No corrections, googling fools, as I’m doing these lines from Memory.

YO! Basta shall also require an I Spy column, of course [and, ooh, maybe we should loop around as well, reporting not only the gossip, but also the spies espying the Glorious Ones], and I suppose I might do that one, but with a suitable nom de tattler.

And definitely lots of Top 10 lists, no? Best-dressed, Up and Coming, Hottest, and so very forth. This is definitely going to be the easiest section. Special reports on Baby Blingsters and Second Generation Trust Fund Limousine Liberals.

There would have been more this eve [and there shall be tomorrow], but I had a brief interruption with a girlfriend, a bottle of very mediocre merlot and lots of important chat about the pros and cons of waterproof mascara, the comparative virtues of flats in BCN, Budapest and Krakow and what we would do with Derrida, given half a chance.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Excuses, excuses

I know I vowed that I'd be back to the usual no good tonight, but something is apparently transpiring in the heavens. God, I hate having no control over the heavens and such.

But right now I'd settle for reasonable rents in Barcelona and manuscripts that would re-write themselves. Oh, yes, and children answering their mobiles.

Until all that happens, and I'm giving it a week or so, back to the classifieds, the stacks of chapters and cursing just a very little bit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Barely legal

[For those seeking our EZLN, zapatista and Other Campaign translations, they are, as ever, in our Library.]

Just peeking in this evening, for various boring reasons.

I have, really and truly, been giving serious thought to our alt-Hola glossy, but the prepubescent boy in me - who seems to own a fair part of my soul - won't let me past the title. In keeping with the Hola!, Hello!, etcetera, tradition, I have come to the obvious [and probably felonious] solution.

Yo!
basta.

See? Aren't we glad I can't tarry this evening?

But in case anyone might like to honor the day by paying a visit to Sinn Fein, do. They have a rather tedious, Lib-Demmish, new website, but at least you can link to the Republican News and catch up on things.

Back to the old normal tomorrow. Promise.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Saturday night with CSpan, or not

[As we all know, the EZLN, zapatista and Other Campaign translations are to be found in our Library.]


Yes, it’s Saturday night, and I know what havoc I’m wreaking to the notoriety of my reputation by just being here. Instead of somewhere naughty.

But since I am here, I’m in the mood to chatter on a bit about a comment left by one of our dear Anonymous ones last night. Lamenting the fact that the scooplet about someone’s amorous pursuits garnered more coverage than any serious examination of the Sexta.

Um, yes.

Certainly most all the major media – wire services and newspapers – provided at least fairly minimal reports, starting with the Red Alert through the Plenary. But thorough, incisive? Well, when was the last time we saw a thoughtful exegesis in the mass media on Bolivia, or Argentina, or Venezuela, or Uruguay, or Brazil [that spoke of anything other than “scandal”], or any of the movements anywhere in the world?

This is the mass corporate media of which we speak.

I fancy there are just the obvious two options. Either outsmart the mainstream media, literally, as the Daily Show has so ably done. Or do something with alternative media. Unfortunately, however, most alt media out there leaves me shuddering with moral and intellectual outrage at the lunacy contained therein…or makes CSpan2 look like an engaging, fun-filled romp.

There has been, forever perhaps, a deeply held tenet on the left that they must be Serious, or at the very least deadly boring. And god knows they’ve been brilliant at it. Sometimes I think it has to do with a subliminal need to prove their worth, their competence. After all, they have chosen, in a very real sense, to move outside traditional circles, whether political, academic, social, cultural. And so sometimes it seems that, even as if they draw their own circle ever tighter, they must appear better, smarter, more filled with endless footnotes and gravitas than the morons in those “traditional” circles.

I do serious, really.

Even really serious. I’ve read, I read and I shall read. As much of it as I can bear. But after NC’s 689th book or the infinite raging stream of articles all saying the exact same thing about the exact same subjects, I ache for wit, passion, silliness. Or, just occasionally, to be surprised.

Which is why I so often adore anarchists, why spark and ms. b are so delightful, why Don Durito and old Uncle Antonio brought tens of thousands of persons, literally and figuratively, to an odd and amazing little corner of the world.

Perhaps tomorrow I might present a prototype for my little alt-Hola.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Details - some serious, some so very not

[As they now do, all the EZLN, zapatista and Other Campaign translations can be found in our Library].


Mostly serious business this evening, but just for this evening, most especially since the weekend is upon us.

I was able to clarify a few points, and answer a few questions I’ve received, about current and future mechanics of the Other Campaign.

First, next week we will be getting the redacted proposals that were presented during the Preparation Meetings and Plenary. I will be translating those rather than the summaries. These are the proposals, objections and additions to the Other Campaign which are to be decided upon by current [as of the 11th of September] supporters.

As for those who still wish to sign on, yes, as I said. You can still go to Revista Rebeldía and register your support, either via email or webpage. I also still have a post up here [RSVPs, if you wish to scroll down endlessly] which provides a direct link to the email page. The only difference - since the Other Campaign was formally handed over at the Plenary to the entirety of those subscribing organizations and individuals – is that the mechanism for formally incorporating new supporters will have to be decided by the Other Campaign.

Not to worry, just sign on. Luckily for us, we can let Others attend to the vexing administrative details.

Now, as for the Internationals amongst us. Suggestions, broad strokes, maps and such, shall probably be emerging in October and November. But I have a suggestion, and listen up, Spark.

The entire point of the Other Campaign is to dream up, devise and give life to a linking up of efforts and rebellions, nationally and, I shall presume, internationally.

There is an inviting little invitation on the Revista Rebeldía Other Campaign page, asking for comments on the Plenary. Well, sigh, there was. It seems to be down. Nonetheless, I see no reason why any international organization and/or individual should hesitate to send comments, reports, broad strokes, suggestions, and so forth, on anything they might find relevant, to the Other Campaign.

For the time being, one could post these whilst signing on to the Sexta [see above], as many others have. Eventually I suppose there will be a more formal way of reaching the Other Campaign.

Oh, hell, I can only take so much in the way of necessary, yet tedious, administrative detail.

Obligatory Friday Evening Silly, Yet Mildly Titillating, Tidbit:

Has anyone else out there found their mailbox filling up with a breathless little article in an “Hola”-type - People, Hello, etcetera for other nation states - rag, with a friend of ours on the cover, revealing, breathlessly [and, yes, I am belaboring a previous reference of mine wherein I gave our readers one of my much too subtle heads-ups], said friend’s amatory life?

Since none of the news was new, except for the parts that were false, the part that caught my eye and sent me into torrents of much needed giggles, was the fact that one of the primary sources for the “news” was CISEN. And it only took them 8, oops 5, years to gather this “intelligence.”

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Random play

[All the EZLN and other zapatista translations are sitting prettily in our Library, the way they do.]


Odd, bizarre, almost electric confluences.

I wonder if it could have anything at all to do with the constant savage chaos in the Gulf over the last few weeks. Or with the equally constant chaotic savageries of our political and social times.

It feels as if the ghost of Carl with a “C” has risen up to do battle with the ghost of Karl with a “K.” Synchronicity in lieu of materialism, alchemy in lieu of the dialectic.

Whatever the hell it is, I’m embracing it.

Some of it you can see in the sudden sunburst of gifts being left in the Comments here. Like little croissant crumbs, strewn along the maze, talismans for finding our way out. I shall have a few to offer as well, this evening, though I’ll warn you, some of them are as bizarre as the times.

As for the body electric, no, not quite yet, I think it would be better to wend my way towards that one.

There was a mesmerizing op-ed piece in La Jornada today. Soledad Loaeza, whom I’ve read before, but never like this. Just to tempt you, I’ll give you the title: The Strange Disappearance of Señor M. I have no idea what she’s up to – whether it’s some sort of nouveau-straight reportage about an exceptionally odd character in NY or Geneva, or an off-hours dip into fiction in the manner of Bellinghausen’s novellas, which also go onto the op-ed page.

But it’s the eyelash fluttering, ingenuous, looping, the circling back, a tactic I’ve always adored, that draws one in and give the phrases such resonance. Read it.

And, writing of good reads, another odd place for finding a few challenging words – the Contra web page at Revista Rebeldía. Not just for contras anymore, as you shall see, but certainly a place for Boys and Girls Who Think.

As for the synchronicity in question, it suddenly seems to be everywhere. Synchronous, one might almost say, just like the non-dialectical alchemy above.

Just the right dream, being dreamt at the most untoward time of day, followed immediately by phone call, perfect comprehension, reduction and, you know, revelation. Then followed by another phone call from a terribly bright, exceedingly right-brain, rattled, girlfriend to report an Odd Experience With Remote.

She was sitting at her computer, doing work, watching MSNBC out of the corner of her eye, as we do, when she could no longer stomach some boy or another. Given the hour of the call, I think it might have been the one who looks like Porky Pig with a comb-over. Just as she picked up the remote, before her fingers had done any walking, what to her wondering eyes should appear but CNN, the channel she had planned on channeling. And apparently had.

Reminding me of my universe shift yesterday, having to do with a very eye-popping sleight of something or other wherein an email mutated from one set of words to an entirely different one a few hours later.

Silliness.

But it has made me wonder, just playfully, of course, about totems, taboos and playing fields.

Bearing in mind, I don't much fancy Freud, and my heart belongs to Carl, as should be obvious by now, but I couldn’t resist the wordfrolic.

There was an excellent piece, a working paper, by the Frente a number of years ago about the need to change the playing field, and there is an allusion on the above-referenced Contra pages to a once-upon-a-time communiqué about chess playing and the introduction of a new piece to the board.

So I might, perhaps, assume that much of the current goings-on have to do with changing the playing field, or the chessboard, and perhaps some of the words of late have to do with totems and taboos exchanging places.

And, if that were the case, wouldn’t it be fun if we all had a hand in that? In changing the playing field, totemizing taboos and turning tables. Abetted, of course, by the powers of alchemy and synchronicity, in lieu of, you know, the other ones.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Words from the comandantas and comandantes

Just a swift word to let everyone know that I've finished, and posted to our Library, all the words from the Comandantas and Comandantes at the Plenary.

And to apologize for the way it looks - half in bold, and such. It's a really long deadly horror story, full of Technical Issues on top of - well, you need not hear it. But trust me, it would take over an hour to correct it, and I'm not up for it.

Next I shall be doing the discussion point summaries from the Plenary, but I believe I might be taking tomorrow off. At least from the translations. Other things call.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Of mice and men

[All the EZLN and other zapatista translations are still and always in our Library.]


Such a “best laid plans” sort of day, so I’ve tossed them all into the basket where they will still be tomorrow. Staring at me balefully, as they do.

One of the consequences being that the 11 pages of the comandantes’ and comandantas’ words from the opening of the Plenary are not nearly done. But they shall be.

I wonder if any of our US guests saw an astonishing little piece by Anderson Cooper today. After having done a very swift about-face from his initially competent Katrina coverage [now bending over and casting dark aspersions on the Mayor’s competence and motives] – he did an interview with the Police Chief in a small Mississippi town. The gentleman was walking him through the horrific conditions in one of their neighborhoods.

No electricity, mold everywhere, unspeakably unlivable.

And, as it turned out, the only part of town where these conditions prevailed.

The residents, by the way, just happened to be poor and Hispanic. And it was this very white very southern Sheriff who was pointing this all out. Aloud. All of it. And annunciating quite clearly.

The Mayor, who was refusing all enquiries, had a Plan. No shelters, god forbid, despite the fact that there were an abundance of possible facilities. No electricity.

Buses. To take the residents 50 miles away. Fifty miles from their jobs [and they do not own cars, of course, nor is there any public transport, this being the EEUU] and their homes. Fifty miles away from the Sheriff and his otherwise pristine little town. For good, of course.

A microcosm of the subtext in New Orleans, of the battle between the Mayor and the Federal Government and the latter’s maddened leap for the opening Man and Nature have presented them.

Ethnic cleansing, I believe it’s called.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Occasional festivities

Just a very quick note - first, to let you know that the translation of the EZLN's closing statement to the Plenary, by Marcos, is now finished and in the Library, along with the rest of the EZLN and zapatista translations. I'll be finishing the comandantas' and comandantes' words from the Opening Session tomorrow, and then I'll move on to the point summations.

Those of us who beat the September 11 deadline should be expecting an email on the morrow.

I so want to thank all our guests - or 'salónistas' as Anna dubbed us, and she will probably not be surprised to find I shall purloin the nom - for filling me with delight with their presence, words and spirit. Everyone was so very thoughtful and engaged and fun, and I think we shall entertain on a much more regular basis.

The masque, perhaps.

Although I'm wondering if anyone out there is expecting a birthday any time soon, as I found the most marvelous picture for pin-the-tail on the donkey. Has anyone else had a peek at all the pictures from the Plenary at the Frente site?!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Plenary Closing Statement

I just received the Final Words of the EZLN at the Plenary, and I've posted the original Spanish version in our Library.

I'll do it first, this evening, and then return to the lovely words from the Comandantas and Comandantes during the opening.

Plenary over [?]

Well, Chiapas Indymedia is now reporting that the Plenary ended almost an hour ago - at 15:15 local time.

As soon as I get a copy of the Closing Statement, I'll post it in Spanish while doing the translation.

Full Irish


A Very Full Irish
Bacon
Sausage
White Pudding
Black Pudding
Eggs
Tomatoes
Fried Potatoes
Beans
Soda Bread
Tea & Coffee
Guinness
Under the circumstances, this seemed the least I could do for us, and, trust me, it is the real thing.
And for those of you who haven't been keeping track, the Closing Message for the Plenary is about to be presented. I don't think you'll want to miss it.

Wordplay

[Lest we forget, the EZLN and other zapatista translations are in the Library.]


First, I wanted to let you know that the translation of Marcos' words from the Plenary last night is now in the Library. It gives details, dates and places, of the first departure. A six-month tour, my goodness.

And, whilst doing said translation and vainly trying to find a definition ["boteo" in case anyone knows it, and I do know that "bote" can mean jail, but...], and knowing how enquiring the minds of our readers are, I thought you might like to know that my favorite non-alcoholic beverage in Barcelona [where it's made with tiger nuts, thank you], "horchata," apparently also means, in DF slang, "orgy."

Such fun.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

How nice!

The Parlour had been down for several hours, and I certainly never like that.

I've been busy with our work and should soon have Marcos' words from last night finished. Look for them shortly.

Multi tasking or the attempt thereof

[The EZLN and other zapatista translations are tucked into our Library, and our Tea Party continues more or less in conjunction with the goings-on in La Garrucha, so do scroll down this page for libations and comments.]

Such a pleasure to find that our Tea Party continues.

Since I now have last night's transcripts in hand, I shall be attempting to work on the translations while listening in to the Plenary. What they are doing today is going over each of the various agenda items relating to the Other Campaign and then seeking agreement on each point. The results will be announced but not final, as everyone else who joined the Sexta, but was not able to attend the Plenary, will have a vote. I wonder if that applies to the internationals?!

There are still lots of crumpets and kir left, so do help yourselves.

Almost bedtime

[The EZLN and other zapatista translations are in the Library. And do scroll down for all the posts and scintillating comments from today's Tea Party].

My goodness, I'm exhausted.

Such fun, the entire day, and thank everyone so very, very much for dropping by. And for being so charming. Although I knew you would be. I'm rather sure the ones who might not have been so have already been bored witless by the Parlour and gone elsewhere to play.

I wanted to let you know that there will continue to be live broadcasts of the Plenary proceedings through tomorrow, and Sunday if it goes on that long. And, if I were a wagering person and had any spare cash, I would venture that it shall indeed last that long. Once again, go to Revista Rebeldía or directly to the functional little room they've set aside for the broadcasts.

The work starts at 9:30 AM, Central Daylight Time, and it should be rather lively. I'll be looking for transcriptions and such, so I imagine I'll be immersed in that. But I shall, of course and always, be checking in here.

Until then, cheers and besos.

Friday, September 16, 2005

La Sexta live

Well, what can I say?! A lot, we're sure.

Such an incredible delight - and to lead off with Ramona. That was incredible.

Susana, Esther, Zebedeo, David, Pinguino [who wasn't very cooperative], Tacho and Moises.

And, yes, a 6 month working tour. From January through June of next year. And then another from September '06 to March '07.

The Other Campaign has now been officially turned over, from the EZ to all those organizations, groups and persons who have joined in.

KeHuelga is still transmitting, so I'm going to keep listening and checking back.

A programming note

We have been advised that one may indeed attempt to watch this evening's goings-on in La Garrucha, live and direct.

Real player is required which may be acquired here, if your computer is not already fitted out with it.

And then, as we are told, the proceedings may be watched and listened to in this room at Revista Rebeldía.

Our invitation had noted that the Plenary was to open at 20:00 [-0600 GMT, assuming they haven't yet gone off Daylight Savings Time at GMT, something I might know if my darling P would ever answer his bloody mobile]. Lest I have confused you, that's 8:00 PM Central Time, and you do the maths.

Carte

Menu
Tea Sandwiches
Asparagus & Orange Butter
Curried Chicken
Cucumber & Onion
Cakes & Tarts
Madeira Cake
Banbury Tarts
Strawberry Tartlets
Scones & Crumpets
With Devonshire Cream, Raspberry Jam
and Lemon Curd

Nooks and crannies


The proper way to prepare for a Tea Party, while awaiting one's guests. Curled up in a quiet nook, taking a bit of refreshment.

Do keep scrolling down through the day, as there shall be a number of posts.

On this, the Day of Our Tea Party, the day the Joint Statement shall be presented, the peoples of Mexico shall be celebrating their Day of Independence, and so very much else.

The Menu is next.

Protocol, patriarchy and paragraphs

[Yes, all the EZLN and other zapatista translations are in our Library]


Such a busy tomorrow, not to mention the weekend itself.

In case you haven’t read yesterday’s note from Marcos, the imaginative ones are going to try to orchestrate some type of live streaming or real-time presentation of the Plenary through the various alt medias we so know and love.

I, however, shall be as old-school as ever, simply waiting to receive whatever words find their way to me, as is their wont, up my caffeine level and do what I do.

But now the Hour of Our Tea Party is also almost at hand, and everything is in a bit of a flurry.

Beverages first.

Aside from the obligatory Earl Grey, oolong and fresh lemonade [made from simple syrup, of course), I always insist on Kir Royale [champagne and crème de cassis]. It’s not only delicious, frisky and fun-filled, it’s also the most divine shade of powder pink.

Which reminds me that I should once again remind everyone of one of my most cherished places: Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails. Their motto is “Dismantling the patriarchy one drink at a time.” Just the place for tracking down obscure or classic concoctions and for finding delight with marvelously smart, transgressive ladies.

The menu shall be posted tomorrow, and I promise you not one single simpering fusion item will be found. Some things really are sacred, and tea parties are very near the top of that list.

Now, as for the Rules:

1. Anyone making an appearance with excessively elevated cannabis blood levels shall be required to cool his heels in the Hall until capable of at least minimal conversation [and I actually used to enforce this one in Savannah].

2. Animated conversation and flirtation are mandatory, but loud, hysterical rants and boorish triflers will be severely discouraged.

Other than that, feel free.

I really am easy.

As for Topics:

Hugo’s speech at the UN this evening was apparently interrupted 3 times by applause, a feat not accomplished by any of the other 100 or so speakers.

As for the paragraph in question, sigh, it was the one which spoke to the “special needs,” oops, “place” of that litany of oppressed: women, indigenas, boys and girls, young persons and ladies and gentlemen of variously alternative sexual and affective preferences.

Now, perhaps I overreacted, but it was absolutely visceral. In my version, the original, the above categories were not only in boldface, but also underlined, and, as I said, they leapt off the page.

And, again viscerally, like doing a Rorschach, two words almost literally appeared before my eyes. Lumpenprole and basura. Los most de abajo lumped together like that, as Karl noted so ingenuously, just one faceless bottomclass.

But they were just words, after all, and my lashes have been known to flutter at the oddest moments.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The pleasure of your company

Just stopping by for a moment to let you know there's a new translation. Two in fact. The first is a nice, rather relaxed, invitation to this weekend's plenary meeting. It goes into a fair amount of detail about process and topic, and I think you'll find it quite illuminating, often amusing and helpful to boot.

It is in our Library, of course, along with the rest of the EZLN and other zapatista translations. And, by the way, do let me know if you have any problem with that link. It appears that last night's was tampered with, though I have since corrected it.

And I was going to flutter my eyelashes in delicate astonishment at one of the paragraphs in today's invitation, but I've decided to wait and see if any of our readers can guess which one it might be.

Much more tomorrow, as I'm trusting there might be the briefest of respite prior to the events of this weekend.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Pomp and circumstance

[Don’t forget our Library where you shall always find all the EZLN and zapatista translations. The new one – which you really shouldn’t miss – is enjoying pride of place.]


My head is spinning with the unending confluence of events on the 16th.

Now, in addition to our very own Tea Party, we have the following:

The event for, and, yes, apparently with, Hugo Chávez at Riverside;

The closing session of the UN birthday party hosting all those Very Camera-Ready Heads of State;

The Grito [and, by the way, the Mexican Election Overlords delivered a moderately scary pronouncement last night, and AMLO issued his own today stating, more or less, what the hell, I won’t go to LA: easy, isn’t he?];

And now, Spark’s birthday AND visit to the Picnic Police Headquarters!! I really hope this doesn’t mean he’s going to have to miss his birthday cake, sigh. I would so hate to have a perfectly divine genoise with mocha butter cream and ganache go to waste.

And, lastly, the Joint Proclamation between the EZLN and Those Who Have Signed On To the Sexta is to usher forth from the Selva on the 16th.

As luck will have it, the words I posted in the Library today [Marcos on Words and Ways] present a fairly concise overview of the EZLN’s perspective on the Other Campaign to come.

As for the Big Boys at the UN, I see that the new US Puppet Ambassador will be getting his gold star for having gone beyond even the wildest expectations of the Most Evil Overlords Anywhere who pull his strings. The Human Rights Commission has been gutted, and, oh, as for all that money promised at the last G8…not.

The good news is that I hear from someone I know who runs a public radio station that she is seeing with her own eyes people literally swarming back into New Orleans, even ahead of the Mayor’s statement that some areas might be habitable by next Monday. In case you missed it, a few idiots let the kittens out of their wives’ Prada handbags and publicly stated that New Orleans would be rebuilt…but without poor people, damn it!! And I do believe that was the head of the local planning commission or somesuch.

So, poor people being much smarter than planning commissioners, they are reclaiming their city in the best way possible. By taking it.






.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Billet-doux

Just the swiftest of notes to let you know that I shan't be posting this evening, since I am diligently at work on a translation for us, and what can I say? Well, I shall say that it is charming, incisive and thoughtful, and you will not be disapppointed.

I shall have it done on the morrow, since it requires thoughtfulness, care and precision.

And, since I'm here, a word about our Tea Party.

I shall continue to toss out the odd provocative topic this week, discreetly, of course, for our pleasure. As well as more details on menu and flirting protocol. Speaking of which, where has Spark gone off to?! His absence has been hard to bear.

So, tomorrow, lovely words to come and further preparations for own Event.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Once upon a time

[Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you can find the EZLN and other zapatista translations in our Library.]


I’ve been toying with toying with words this evening. Exploring a few of them. Toying with and exploring - more or less the same thing, under the proper circumstances.

I’m afraid my mind was drifting just a bit there, and heaven knows why.

I mentioned once before the absence of the term Civil Society of late and how sorely I missed it. I hated it at first, it seemed so stiff and structured and hollow. But then, as incivility continued to overtake my known universe, a fondness ensued. Civil not, of course, as posited against the political or whatever, but as against the rude, boorish and brutish.

[I know there are some who choose to misunderstand my affection for civility, calling it something else, but words, like people, can also be used as straw men.]

Now we read different descriptors: a variety of nouns with similar qualifying prepositional phrases. There are social organizations, individuals, artistic groups, and so very forth, all of a particular location on a specific sliding scale of a determinate political spectrum.

Other words that seem to be increasingly scarce are neoliberals and globalization. Both of them horrid, of course, terribly nonspecific, without resonance and lacking in any historical, cultural or literary connotation.

Instead we see more of “anti-capitalist” and such. Tons of resonance and connotation there. Perhaps I shall have another peek at some of the founding words.

I’m sure there are an abundance of possibilities, from tactical positioning to the imperatives of next steps, to absolutely no meaning whatsoever.

Perhaps I simply think too much about words and would do better to find other things to toy with and explore.

But the one thing I cannot ignore tonight is Belfast.

There are certain, often predictable, consequences when history moves through some kinds of organizations, and through their oppositional counterparts. Of course the Orange Order bastards orchestrated and/or incited the bloody riots of the last few days. Of course nothing is ever enough when the clumps of aging hardmen and their witless progeny have no clue as to their own history or even as to what the hell is going on around them today.

The IRA is decommissioning, and who would have thought it? History would have thought it and so would have the stories told to their children that told of that history. The same stories, I know, that I heard as a child, the ones that murmured the troubles, the heroes and, yes, the moral of the story.

The civil underpinning, as it were.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tea and empathy

[My usual evening reminder: the EZLN and other zapatista translations are still tucked into our Library.]


I should reveal that last night’s gentle chiding – as to what I shall and shall not countenance – prompted a flurry of interesting email. Just for the record: all apologies are accepted, and the poem shall be cherished.

Such an interesting lot, our readers.

In appreciation, I’ve finally managed to fix penguinrockets link. Valiantly sourcing the currency of latest events, as well as a delightful read [the wedding pictures, and captions, are treasure – the “c” substances riff had me giggling aloud, truly] and a most marvelously kindred spirit.

This weekend is the last of the Preparation Meetings in the Mexican Southeast for the Other Campaign. My god, they must all be exhausted. And, as a reminder, the Plenary session is to take place on September 16 and 17 with the Joint Statement [the EZLN and civil society plighting troth] being issued, as far as I’m aware, on the 16th.

My god, they are all going to be utterly exhausted.

Such a confluence of events on the 16th. Coincidence, or...something else, she mused breathlessly?

Since I’m in no mood for fact-checking this evening, I shall count on the perspicacity of my readers to correct if I’m wrong on any of these.

An event at Riverside Church, I believe, for/with Hugo Chavez. Did they finally allow him entrance for the UN trip?!

And isn’t that the National Day of Prayer declared by George the Lesser for his latest tens of thousands of civilian victims?

However, I do know for a real fact that it’s the Day of The Grito, of course, but what I’m following with bated breath is whether or not AMLO will indeed show up in LA for said Grito and tête-à-tête with Villaraigosa as planned. First, of course, the Mexican Election Overlords must clear it, and then the North of the Border PRD Overlords.

But not a word on that subject. I have no interest in incurring the wrath of the truly organized and protected [and you may guess as to which of the Overlords I fear most], especially given the number of hit lists embracing my name of late.

Therefore, given the above [yes, I’m trying to do Utterance], and the remarkable cosmic confluence of events, I am declaring the 16 of September of the current year to also be the Day of Our Tea Party. Here, in the Parlour.

I shall provide libations both daring and demure, a traditional array of foodstuffs [from watercress sandwiches to seedcake and my most divine Shrewsbury tarts] and a menu of coincidentally tart topics.

All the above-referenced, in fact.

So do come and play. Ladies are encouraged to wear their most flirtatious floral chiffon frocks. Gentlemen, sigh, are encouraged to show up.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Letters of the heart

[The EZLN and other zapatista translations are still resting comfortably in our Library.]


Ah, Friday evening. The night calls out for innocent pleasures.

But first a housekeeping chore.

I have grown bored with shape-shifting, persona-free boys. Nor do I give a whit what their agenda might be. Counterinsurgency, nostalgia, mania, reprisal, anomie, provocation, whatever.

Silly little things, not to understand that voz will out, especially for someone whose life is amanuensis.

So, for any who might wish my attention, for any reason whatsoever, they might try reading some of my posts. Flowers, poetry, brilliance, engagement, kindness, wit and love letters are much more my style than the cyber-equivalent of creepy old men in trench coats wielding specious threats.

There, shuddering delicately.

All the more reason then to indulge in a thought or two on the convergence of love letters and agitprop.

My only experience in writing the latter myself was when I was doing my Chiapas Daily Summaries a number of years back. I have never had more fun with words, and that, I believe, is the primary postulate. Whether penning notes to one’s beloved or engaging the masses, you must be engaged yourself. Delighted, in fact.

If not, if it is work, the results are the tedious stuff that fills my mailbox everyday, an endless, always deleted, series of boring, boiler plate Action Alerts and Dire Warnings. In some cases, when real information is being disseminated and times are perilous, this is necessary. But that is rarely the case, and, even in that event, rarely effective if one’s audience has not already been – yes, courted.

The equivalent in matters of the heart would be to send a note threatening self-immolation if gratification were not immediately forthcoming. And this after nothing other than, say, nodding to the girl of your dreams at the office every morning. Then another threatening note on the morrow.

The other issue of absolute import is focus. The endless “I” is simply not suitable. Agitprop is not the place for gonzo journalism, unless, of course, you’re still writing for High Times or trying to flog a book or looking to replace Geraldo.

Nor is narcissism of much use in wooing. Your lady, you might recall, is much more interested in your learning her, not in hearing of your exploits, accomplishments and obsessions. You wish to amuse, delight and engage her, just as you are amused, delighted and engaged by her.

This is why we remember little paper boats with such fondness and wish for more of the same. And why Herrick and Marvell will always make me swoon and most compulsively self-referential modern literature makes me wish to toss crockery.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Transcendental dreaming

[The EZLN and other zapatista translations are, as ever, waiting in the Library for your reading pleasure. I posted a new one this afternoon, and, rather than attempt a summary, I shall let the words speak for themselves.]


There are moments when I wonder if things – and people – really are born with a platonic path of sorts. A tabula already scribed, as it were. An ordinary life meandering, all unknowing, to a particular moment of glory or defeat.

And when that moment comes, that life knows it, the eyes reflect that knowing.

Dick Cheney, perhaps, during his photo op in the Gulf today, surveying the tens of billions worth of new infrastructure contracts for Halliburton subsidiaries dropped in his lap by the grace of governance. I doubt that he expected it, but there it was. You could see it in his eyes – he knew. Life was good.

Geraldo Rivera, in his 60s now, condemned to endless bicep-flexing sandblasted visits to off-the-front-burner Iraq. But now, suddenly resurrected, with his new 70s-permed hairpiece, choreographing a hands-on “rescue” in the New Orleans muck. Still setting hearts aflutter and stomachs heaving. His eyes were glazed with the tears he must have been inwardly shedding in certain gratitude. Life was good.

The gentleman we’ve all seen – the one who lost his wife on that roof, no matter how hard he clung to her hand. Lost, desperate, bereft beyond all ability to conjure. The moment had come, and he recognized it, his eyes were wide with that knowing.

Or not.

I would prefer to believe in another construct. One that posits an unknown, invisible and apposite companion. Also Platonic, of course, but infinitely more comforting:

If the red slayer thinks he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.
Far or forgot to me is near,
Shadow and sunlight are the same,
The vanished gods to me appear,
And one to me are shame and fame
.

They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings…

Emerson, “Brahma,” sans the last stanza.

Tables turning, divine comeuppance, the implicit other side of the coin.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Pining

[Yes, the EZLN and zapatista translations are still in the Library, and there shall be more tomorrow.]


I know I had promised detour and diversion this evening, but I was met with the former myself. A missive, the more formal closing statement from last weekend's meeting. I will have it out tomorrow.

And I'm feeling a tad Orwellian this eve - as in Orwell in Barcelona. Not the most comfortable of circumstances, Orwell and Barcelona taken separately notwithstanding.

Perhaps, given the above, a micro-homage of my own.

The birds and flowers and magazine stalls and oceans of humanity of La Ramblas [yes, I know, but it is how I call it].

The Plaza del Pi and Plaza Sant Josep Oriol - the epicentre of the universe. The passementerie shop; the ancient alchemist, a perfumer, who can read one's heart; Beardsley around the corner [where I learned to make my own Venetian masks], and everything else one could ever require.

La Boquería, of course, simply and truly paradise on earth.

Not perfect, no. There is, for example, a certain class of endlessly self-styled "intellectuals" whom one just knows wear their Armanis to bed. And the usual rapacious mercantilists whoring their trade at all levels.

But, unlike so much of the rest of the world, there is also another city, which still exists and most likely always will.

A city which reads, and thinks about what it reads, which embraces all eccentricity and sells hashish in its pharmacies. A city which manages to comfortably embrace anarchism and socialism, decadence and brilliance, competence and indulgence.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Through a glass, lightly

[Yes, the EZLN and other zapatista translations are perched in the Library.]


I had planned on translating the transcript of this last weekend’s closing statement, although there will be another statement to come, because I thought it might be useful to clarify a few housekeeping details. This is the closing statement for the 5th of the 6 preparation meetings for the “Other Campaign,” the one in support of the Sexta.

Other things, though, also needed to be done today, so I think a summary might suffice.

Revista Rebeldía is preparing and posting a report on all the different proposals being presented by the various participants, as well as the opening and closing statements and transcriptions. I haven’t been translating most of these, but if anyone would like to have a specific one done, just let me know. There is emphasis on the fact that these meetings concern how the campaign is to be conducted, not on how the goals are to be articulated or achieved. That will come later. Reiteration that the Other Campaign will not be rolled out in the same manner as previous marches and programs: no large mobilizations, grandstands, etcetera. They will be meeting with humble people, small groups. And listening, not giving speeches. And, again, that there will be a meeting on September 16 as well as the issuing of the joint proclamation.

Now, back to the other Other.

500,000 displaced, from New Orleans alone. As I said, I’m in no mood for reiterating the obvious, at least not for the moment. Although we know that all stern words to myself mean nothing, and the occasional screed will usher forth.

The other evening I was suggesting that some of us, all of us who do certain things so well, might do certain things. Schools for Chiapas and their little bus, Mexico Solidarity Network and their tours and workshops, Chiapas Coalition 98 and their mailing list.

Indymedia might wish to create an alt cybervillage for all those displaced, victimized and isolated. Assuming, of course, that they can keep out the hordes of spamming provocateurs who have been so busy on some of their sites.

The one group that I am sure requires no suggestions is Pastors for Peace. This is, after all, precisely what they do.

There are other groups, not here, that might send words of comfort, knowing that I will traduce them.

And a promise for the morrow: a detour and a bit of respite.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Silver bells and cockleshells

[Yes, the EZLN and zapatista translations are tucked into the Library now. And I simply must find some time to start working on the Conservatory].


I’m still not feeling up for waxing scintillating on Events, instead I had the oddest, and most irrational, of thoughts.

A few bouquets.

For the Conservatory, eventually, but for now to various and sundry who truly deserve armfuls of peonies, larkspur, old-fashioned roses, lilacs, sweet peas, violets, mignonette, heliotrope, and many other perfect blooms.

The words I’ve been wanting to hear, but hadn’t, were finally spoken this evening. You might wish to read them, if you didn’t hear them. Keith Olberman. One of the last voices of sanity left on the airwaves hereabouts.

Speaking of grace and thanks, and I know they never receive enough of the latter, once again, a heartfelt, gracious curtsey to the Frente. The ladies and gentlemen there do universes of work, every day, almost always unsung. You see their website and their list, but there is so very much more, especially right now.

Enlace, always. They are exactly what they are and what they say they are. Their hours are endless, they make everything possible and I would build them an entire garden if I could. A moonlit one at that.

Our anonymous and not so anonymous commentators who lend me heart. But this evening, most special garlands, and petals at the feet, of the astonishingly intrepid and delightful penguinrocket, for plunging in where I can barely stand to tread.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Small consolations

Just a few words this evening, as the events and images from the Gulf are almost impossible to bear.

A reminder as to what has been transpiring in the Mexican Southeast. This weekend was the fifth of six scheduled meetings with Civil Society [I shall reclaim the term, even if no one else is of late - it just becomes increasingly apropros]. This time it was with individuals, not associated with any particular organization. I read that 300 persons presented themselves, including the relentlessly devoted Ofelia Medina.

The last meeting is next weekend, to be followed by a joint public announcement on September 16. There has also been some reference to a plenary meeting on that date, though I haven't seen any details. I find it extraordinary that they'll be able to pull that together after all the work and chaos of the previous 6 weeks, but we shall remain pendiente [one of those often untranslatable words].

And a very small thought, the tiniest of possible consolation. Might it be possible for those of us who do what we do, and so often so well, to do some of it for the hundreds of thousands of newly displaced persons in the Gulf?

Just as an example, Schools for Chiapas might work a tiny miracle with their Little Yellow Bus. For devastated children living in shelters in Houston and Dallas and Baton Rouge and hamlets in Mississippi who will soon be going off to class in a foreign land. Pencils, notebooks, crayons, exactly what you do so well.

MSN might schedule a mini tour to Biloxi and help with clean-up and/or conduct a workshop on the living consequences of a shameless toxic economic system.

Chiapas Coalition 98 might make use of their impressive mailing list to suggest financial and/or physical aid to Habitat for Humanity which is planning a massive, two-tiered effort.

There are a thousand other possibilities and thousands of skills and hearts, from Indymedias to the Frente, and I shall continue to list them for us.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Dura, amarga y pesa

[The EZLN and zapatista translations are still securely tucked into the Library. And just to demonstrate that I am not currently doing Bank Holidays, there is another new one this evening. For your pleasure. Always.]


I know I should be writing about New Orleans, but since I’ve already let slip where I’m currently located, it might be obvious that I’m inundated with the images and words for 18 hours of my day. And the other six they find their way, some way, into my dreams.

And since I so despise the stating of the obvious, and everything about this horror is so eminently obvious, what does it leave?

That it’s the stuff of levée en masse, perhaps? Not just in New Orleans, not hardly in New Orleans, not with that level of horror and destruction. No, it’s the images and sudden outbursts of truth and outrage in the media that could shock the masses into paying attention, if even for a moment.

Just to see Anderson Cooper, for god’s sake, berating and pounding the idiot blonde simpering senator into the ground – yes, I know, just a momentary lapse of good sense. She was picked up the next hour by CNN’s own simpering blonde sycophant for a little kiss and make up/out session.

Whatever.

The mayor is brilliant, in every possible way, and that’s all.

The death toll will probably be several times higher than at the WTC, but the dead don’t speak and this nation’s deep underclass will never matter the tiniest whit to any single one of those persons whose business it is to rape or to those in the media whose business it is to bend over and take it with a rueful, or perky, grin.

I was correct, I should not have addressed the subject, not here.

Tomorrow back to the business at hand, perchance a little chat about the conjunction of love letters with well-crafted agitprop.

Friday, September 02, 2005

La vida loca

[Just wander over to the Library if you're seeking the EZLN and zapatista translations. I put a new one on the sideboard today]

I suppose there are any number of topics I could discuss this evening, given the chaos of thoughts, words, images swirling about.

I could whinge about technology, of course, though my silly computer only crashed once today. It was the cable that went out. The cable boy was a delight, but others muscled into the mix - in a way that only the left coast of the continental States seems to demand. Trying to conjure a fighting word, fantasizing it when none appeared, red face thrust into brown one.

Race provides such a perfect foil for that rage that demands outlet. Here, there, here.

In this part of the universe, persons of color, any color except sun burnished alabaster, do not exist. Ever. They are not bagging one's groceries, mowing lawns, washing dishes, minding babies. Until they become necessary.

A family dysfunction, an unplumbed ennui, a vacant life or stare and they become profoundly necessary. No boundaries are ever observed here, so the fury finds its mark. The cable boy was from another, more northern city, had moved here when he was 14 because his father, an engineer, had been offered a sumptuous promotion. The cable boy spoke not one word of Spanish, had never heard of Chiapas, but once upon a generation someone in his family tree might have hailed from the southern colony.

And so he became the unwitting Other for the sun burnished alabaster 42 year old twice imprisoned violent felon recovering alcoholic surfer dude who claims this building as his feifdom whenever he requires emotional release from his demons. Whatever, of course. I simply stepped between them, daring the psychotic one to smash my face in, which he so clearly would have enjoyed.

But there were witnesses, and this state has a three strikes and you're out policy. The dude was trumped.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Boys on call and other urban myths

No time for words this evening, as I'm too busy with a few others that came in late today. A new letter, which I may or might not have finished this evening, depending on how long it takes me to discover what in the bloody hell traer en carrilla means, how soon I pour myself a demure tot of Jameson and whether or not the goddesses of solidarity decide to float me a dedicated shoulder rubbing compa [preferably cute, of course] down from the heavens.

A girlfriend of mine [who also labours long hours and relentlessly in this and other fine work] decided long ago that we should each be assigned two footboys. One for the abovementioned chore and the other to be on 24 hour call to fix our damnable computers when they crash at the most inopportune moments. We have, however, decided that the deities in question are, in fact, male, and such role reversal would be quite unseemly, stunt their growth, be a terrible example to set for the children and, most likely, cause the heavens themselves to come crashing down on their almost perfect worlds.

I didn't say any of that.

I told you, no time for [my] words. But do look for the letter on the morrow. It's thoughtful and piquant.