Monday, September 26, 2005

The Prize On the Other Side

Between emotions so raw that clothing them with words is like wearing a wool sweater over a sunburn and fatigue so deep that grasping a thought is like trying to fish one of those translucent beads out of tapioca pudding with fingers clad in rubber gloves, attempting to compose a post would be counterproductive as another one sinking to the level of the previous one would not profit either me, my few readers or my blog.

Instead, I offer here a poem which I wrote about ten years ago. The controlling metaphor is fitting I think--passages from one life-stage to another, always reaching for and then being grasped by the prize on the other side. Daddy is now embraced by and embracing the Ultimate prize on the Other side:

The Prize On the Other Side
by Joy Renee

The bars, the rail that divide
Here from there.
The prize on the other side.

To climb, to reach, to grasp,
Willing it mine.
To have until eternity lapse.

The fumble, the tumble into loss.
A long falling
Towards pain, separation, life’s cost.

The arms, the rescue, tears dried.
Belonging to Love--
The prize on the other side.


Read more...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A Passing Reference

My Dad passed on at 4:40 Saturday morning. The sudden silence that suffused the space which had been assaulted for three days with the rasp of his labored breath, the gasps and groans and the choking coughs was both relief and grief. Relief inasmuch as the silence means the cessation of his suffering. And yet, this morning, now twenty-four hours later, that silence oppresses me. My heart wants nothing more than to fill it with the wails of a child no more than three, calling for her Daddy in the dark wee hours of the morning.

Forgive me if I sound maudlin. I’ve had less than twenty hours sleep in the last six days. And I miss my Daddy.

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Friday, September 23, 2005

There Are No Words…

Never have words seemed more inadequate than they do this week. The sudden reversal in my Dad’s health surprised us all in spite of the head-knowledge that it was to be expected sooner rather than later. It was Dad’s habit of defying expectations throughout his illness that led us to expect an indefinite extension of the cycle of crisis and rally. Just last Saturday, while I was on the phone with my sister catching up on the latest developments, Dad was up walking around slow and careful with his walker.
He was still speaking too. He said to Mom how he wished he could go outside to see the pumpkin. He was referring to the Pumpkin my sister’s boy has been nurturing all summer. Mom said that she wished he could see it too. But she did not offer to take him out to see it. She was sure that the excursion into the back yard, which entailed descending some stairs would just be too much for him. Seeing that Mom was not going to help grant this simple wish and knowing he no longer had the verbal competency to debate with her, he just left the room. Watching him progress down the hall towards their bedroom, Mom thought he must be heading back in to lay down as he had already be up for some time. But he came back just moments later with his straw hat on his head and wordlessly headed for the back door.
Mom followed after to assist him on the stairs. And so did my sister since a nearly blind woman with a history of sciatica should not be the primary support of a frail man steering a walker down some stairs. My sister and I had to say quick good-byes and I didn’t learn until the next day that Dad had made it safely down to the garden, where he spent the next hour or more beaming blissfully as he watched the pumpkin grow. Even this wordoholic is forced to acknowledge thatometimes words are unnecessary.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Redirecting My Attention

Well I have been woken from the Katrina dream (nightmare?) by a competing trauma of a more personal nature. I just learned that my Dad is losing his battle with cancer. He is exhibiting signs of liver failure. I am going to be joining my family in Longview, Washington for the duration. The Hospice nurse has said he may have only days before loosing the ability to maintain alertness for communicating. But every patient is unique and he could rally again. He has surprised us all several times in the last twenty months.

So I don't know how long I am going to be separated from this computer with my 12 MB of personal files (stories, poems, essays, novels, correspondence, book reviews--the bulk of it in progress) and 100+ MB of research materials and E-books downloaded off the internet and my stuffed to the gills IE favorites. Nor do I know what kind, if any of computer and/or internet access I am going to be able to finagle. I do know that I can't expect to monopolize the phone lines in the daytime and my tactic of spending the night online as I do here will not wash either as there would be no point in going there if I'm just going to make a recluse of myself in a different household. I need to be available for those moments Dad is still able to interact.

I will be journaling, hopefully intensely, as writing is my life-line in ordinary times and the very air I breathe in times of emotional chaos as this will be. And I expect that I will be suffused with memories and bittersweet nostalgia and I've decided it will be healthier to go with it--to write it instead of fight it. So my posts here (and I do intend to post several times a week) will be mostly cobbled together from material developed in my journal.

But I am also going to do my best to continue to update the previous post with links related to the environmental impact of Katrina. I will also be following the repercussions of the current Rita hurricane. My prayers are with the people of the Gulf Coast states--the survivors of Katrina, the relief workers and government officials at every level. Of the latter, even those with whom I am angry I do not wish ill. I wish only that all can pull together for the commonweal.

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Post Katrina Environmental Impact

I've been so busy chasing links and reading stories and digesting information regarding the probable long-term environmental impact of Katrina and the reconstruction efforts that I haven't been able to compose my own post regarding any of it for several days. I still don't feel ready. My head is so swamped with facts and theory--rumors and guesses; actual announced policy from the administration (along with speculation about the true meaning behind the Orwellian words); proposed legislation from Congress; alerts from those with credentials in the field--I just don't feel competent to sort it out into anything of unique and substantive value, which is one of my benchmarks for posting.

I feel there are enough blogs out there doing a remarkable job of calling attention to current events and news and commentary with quotes and links (often to articles in the MSM which are quickly archived behind pay-per-view walls, leaving the blogosphere riddled with linkrot) that I would not be adding anything of value to the discussion by doing more of the same. But my struggle to find relevant and substantial information over the last week has shown me that this meme is not spreading through either the MSM, the EzInes (at least the free ones which are the only ones I can afford) or the blogosphere with the alacrity of many of the other Katrina related memes, though I believe it is the most important following only after providing for the immediate life-sustaining needs of the survivors.


I worry that if we don't create a tipping point of demand for responsible, transparent, accountable attention to this issue, it will soon be commandeered by the corporations, the construction contractors, the sea-food and agricultural industries and the tourist industry. And before long even Oprah would suffer distasteful repercussions if she were to frown in public at the thought of being served shrimp gumbo laced with PCBs, lead, mercury, heavy metals, petroleum, arsenic….

There are already laws in place in many states forbidding the libeling of produce on which that state's livelihood depends, laws which have been used to hush whistle blowers and lone activists with crushing financial punishment via fines, loss of jobs, blacklisting and bankrupting legal fees. Watch for such laws to be created and/or strengthened throughout the Gulf states, if not throughout the US, in the near future. The only way to preempt this attempt to preempt open discussion about this is to make such a hullabaloo now that a demand for dependable information and responsible, science-based, clean-up operations will become as unstoppable as Katrina herself.

I have yet to find anyone doing anything resembling a clearing house of information and links regarding the ramifications of the toxic content of the water saturating every surface of New Orleans and being pumped into Lake Pontchartrain from where it will wend its way to the gulf through the estuaries and be spread into the local (thus global) food chain and all the local sources of potable water. I don't have any illusions that I can provide one with my current resources, nor do I want this blog, Joystory, to be commandeered for the purpose as my intent for it is still reflected by the subtitle even though I continue to have trouble overriding my obsession with this issue in order to maintain a balance in post subjects (or in my daily life routines for that matter). But I do want to contribute to the meme stream some of what I have dug up and to put out a call for more relevant links. I am going to periodically update this post with my continuing research results and thus will put a permanent link to it in the sidebar within the next few days.


In Reviving New Orleans, a Challenge of Many Tiers I put this one first not because it is most useful but because it is one of the rare examples of a MSM source addressing the issue (and it will be easier to locate here than elsewhere in the list for removal when its link rots next week).

This is also likely to linkrot which is why I include the relevant quote here. I'm going to keep my eye on Carol Browner in hopes she continues to be vocal: Carol Browner (former EPA head under Clinton) theorized that the city proper may well become the nation's largest de facto toxic waste site: The water, so thick and toxic... is now receding while you watch in places... and I fear the sludge and dust left behind won't necessarily present itself to people as the danger we know it is.

Susie at Suburban Guerrilla alerts us to an AP report that Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the Republican chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is preparing legislation that would allow the EPA to relax or suspend its rules in the interests of expediting reconstruction.


Susie again: The Heritage Foundation, a radical-right think-tank which provides many of the talking-points for the 'conservative' pundits and professional 'experts' consulted by the media and contributes to the writing of legislation and regulations, has issued its recommendations for Katrina recovery and New Orleans reconstruction. Among them: Repeal the estate tax and copiously fund faith-based organizations. Drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, suspend environmental regulations including the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, suspend prevailing wage labor laws. (Including worker safety regulations which would allow them to subject workers now and in the future to toxic levels heretofore considered unacceptable? While curtailing their access to healthcare? And forcing them to work for substandard wages? Don't they have a name for this? Hint: it rhymes with 'rave' but it ain't no party! JR)


(Be not confused: this is a battle between the moral values of billionaires for bottomless greed versus the moral values of the commonweal. The prophets for profit are currently out-shouting the prophets for public and personal well-being. We need to find our voice and soon, before they find a way to buy or steal that too.JR)


BAGnewsNotes has some more stunning photos of the rainbow sheen spread over NO but questions the media's will to keep the toxicity of NO story alive. Not sexy enough, too difficult to research. Not photogenic enough. And someone in the comments on this post leaves behind these links, which while not directly related to Katrina have information with implications for the mind boggling complexity of the problem we are facing:
We have met the enemy...
Huge Cleanup Ahead for Kodak
Photographic Processing Hazards
Hazardous Waste From Computers
Video Display Units — Health Hazards
Cathode Ray Tubes = Hazardous Waste
U.S. Electricity Generation — Fuel Sources


(As you read those sources, consider the implications of the electronic components found in a typical household or office and multiply it by one or two hundred-thousand. Add to that the probable contents of department stores and warehouses in this major shipping nexus--all of this soaking in this water for several weeks. JR)


Solid Waste & Recycling, an online magazine, alerts us to the infamous Agricultural Landfill Site in downtown NO. Said to be on a par with Love Canal for levels of toxins, it is a toxic waste contaminated area several blocks wide, now under three feet of water, making probable the spread of the contaminates it contains.
Appended to this article are links to interactive maps of before and after the flood with directions for locating the ALS.


There is also a link to an Environmental Justice Case Study which offers a detailed history of the pollution problems at the ASL and of residents complaints and health problems.


Also provided is a link to the government site that offers details about the government's Public Health Assessment regarding the ALS. (I predict this one won't stay available for long and I hope someone with tech savvy and file storage resources can stash a linkable copy of it before it disappears down the memory hole. JR)


GIS mapping of sites likely to be sources of toxins released into water by Katrina

Amy Goodman interviews Harold Zeliger re NO Toxic Soup
I do expect Democracy Now to keep their watchful eye on this issue
Toxic Soup: The Deadly Floodwaters of New Orleans
Environmental Pollution Along the Mississippi: From the Headwater to the Delta


Kudos to T r u t h o u t which is shaping up to be a resource on this issue with several articles already and forums for discussion available.
The entire community is now a toxic waste dump
After Katrina: the toxic time bomb


From the Guardian Unlimited:
Katrina oil spills may be among worst on record
According to the Coast Guard, 6.5 million gallons of crude oil had been spilt in at least seven major incidents. This does not include the leaks from 200,000 submerged vehicles and hundreds of submerged gas stations.
Prescott links global warming to Katrina
Oil spills and lost islands add to the hurricane's toll

Cover-Up: Toxic Waters 'Will Make New Orleans Unsafe for a Decade'
Hugh Kaufman at the EPA is blowing the whistle on the administration's attempts at a cover-up already. They are suppressing the release of the test results on the water samples and deliberately preventing the collection and testing of a statistically significant number of samples.

(Let me remind those still clueless: Science and technology need facts with which to work. Facts are the foundation of knowledge and understanding and of the concomitant innovation which provides solutions to problems in the form of technology. This is the true fuel of the economy, without it the billionaires gold is so much gas, dissipating into the global finance network, trading itself for itself, buying itself with itself--one giant Ponzi scheme. In order to adequately address the toxins in NO the scientists and innovators need facts. JR)

He did the same with the cover-up of the highly toxic condition of the air in downtown Manhattan after the WTC towers fell. He was not heeded and today a large percentage of the rescue, recovery and clean-up workers are suffering various degrees of compromised lung function among other health issues, including a statistically higher than normal death rate.
Help me amply his message so that his warning cannot be marginalized by the administration or the MSM again.


Here are two more which have caught the meme from Kaufman:
Culver City News w/ a forum for commenting
Paul Krugman quotes Kaufman in the context of alerting us that the state of most if not all of the government agencies mirror that of FEMA

Read more...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Step Up, Medford (and every city in America)

Step up, Medford
According to the Sunday Mail Tribune, refugees from Hurricane
Katrina are arriving in Portland now. With so many thousands of hurricane refugees, totally displaced persons, what if every town and city community in America each provided a house, a job, and the basic necessities of life to just one family. One family who has lost everything, maybe even family members, and have nothing. Can Medford step up? Let’s do it! — D. Yates, Medford


This letter to the editor ran in the Medford Mail Tribune Medford, Oregon on Sunday September 10. This is an idea that should fly. I am proud to live in the same valley as this writer. This is my humble effort to get their excellent idea into the national meme stream.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Shroud of Shame

Several hundred people attempting to walk out of flooded New Orleans across an intact bridge over the Mississippi were turned back at gun-point by the sheriff of the suburb on the other side of the river and later the encampment that some of them set up on a nearby overpass was purposefully destroyed by helicopter blade wind and their food and water confiscated as they were disbanded and forced to retreat and then prevented from once again congregating in groups of more than a handful or two.

This has got to be one of the most shameful outrages of the entire week of shameful outrages perpetrated by those in authority with moral compasses so off kilter that they see property, political jockeying and personal convenience as having priority even in a time of crisis when lives are in peril.

Besides the obvious evil of forcing imperiled fellow citizens back into a life-threatening situation when relative safety was just a few blocks away, there is also the jaw-dropping fact that they had a helicopter and used it this way instead of for rescue and relief efforts. The shroud of shame belongs to all those implicated in the actions of this sheriff and over the community for which he worked if they do not repudiate this callus abuse of power and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.

Read the article linked to the title of this post. The incident on the bridge is just one in a series of incidents experienced by the authors, two EMT conventioneers trapped in NO before the storm. Their efforts to get to safety were thwarted on several occasions by the actions of those in authority. The shroud of shame belongs to each and every one of us if we continue to tolerate in positions of power and leadership such inept and morally bankrupt people.

Read more...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Drown It In the Bathtub

"My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years," he says, "to get it
down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."
~~Grover Norquist



So will the toxic tub which is now New Orleans (and soon to be much of the Gulf of Mexico coastline) be the bathtub which Norquist can finally drown the people's government in. Or will it be the tub in which we the people can finally drown the Norquist/Corporate agenda and take back our government of, by and for we the people.

In other words, will we the people buy the Norquist/Corporate/Consevative frame that the colossal failure of government to ameliorate this is the irrefutable proof that government shouldn't be in the business of ameliorating human suffering in the first place? Or will we the people finally see the corrupt heart of cold hard greed at the center of their value system and take back our government as an arm of our community?

Will we the people fall for their frame that those who get swamped by their rising tide are willfully boatless and thus it is the 'mercy' of the invisible hand of the market that they drown by reason of their irresponsibility for not climbing onto a boat by hook or by crook? Or will we the people finally see the truth that we are responsible for each other as well as our selves for we are all in the same boat?

Will we let the Norquist/Corporate/Conservate coalition commandeer the Katrina recovery and apply their market-system morality to feed their greed? Or will we finally hold the invisible hand of the market accountable for all of the creative accounting and immoral cost externalizing which created for its very foundation both the boatless and the toxic waters they drowned in last week and which the rest of the Mississippi delta and Mexican Gulf Coastlines will be bathing in for the foreseeable future?

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

New Orleans must stop pumping now!

I believe that I have just found the issue on which I have something to contribute to the discussion. Both because this aspect of the Katrina catastrophe has so far been under-reported and because I have read widely across the various science disciplines involved in comprehending the scope of this potential reverberation of Katrina's havoc. The word must go out now before it is too late. They simply must not pump that water back into the lake and river untreated. My heart breaks for the further delay that will mean for the rebuilding and the return of its residents. I am not advocating a permanent abandonment of New Orleans but I am pleading that the time be taken to do it right or else we will still be tallying the death toll of Katrina into the next century.

I saw this picture or one like it early last week and immediately understood the implications--that the water flooding New Orleans is laden with toxic chemicals from the dozen or so refineries and chemical plants surrounding the city. Add to that the decomposing food from homes, restaurants, stores and warehouses, the decomposing bodies of humans and animals and the human waste (Do I need to say it?? It rhymes with 'hit and miss? Get it?) and the chemical reactions associated with decomposition of organic components and you have a recipe for huge-scale ecological disaster. Scientists are warning that if they follow through with the plan to pump the water out of the city and back into Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi, there will be a massive contamination of the lake, river, delta and Gulf ecosystem that could have untold repercussions on the entire food chain of the Gulf region.

They also warn of dislocation of dangerous animals such as water moccasins and alligators from their normal habitat into areas where they can wreak havoc on humans and domestic animals. To be more blunt, pumping that water back into the lake and river will kill the lake and river, much of the delta and huge swathes of the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the river.

Destroying the delta will remove one of the major defenses against future hurricanes as its presence acts as a buffer which sucks some of the energy out of the storm before it reaches the towns and cities. With the delta buffer eroded or gone, the storm can even continue to gain energy from the overheated shallow waters--heated now both by sun and decomposing organic matter. With the grasses and other rooted plants dead, the ocean will reclaim the soil of the delta at an ever increasing rate.

Poisoned fish eaten by birds will kill the birds or cause birth defects or fragile shells on their eggs. The toxins will permeate the soil and the groundwater and get into the crops and the grass growing where children play and into the milk they drink and the food their nursing mothers eat. And where over the globe do elements of the Gulf food chain normally get shipped? How much mayhem will these toxins do before cause and effect is even acknowledged let alone laws and regulations invoked to prevent further contamination, if by then it is even possible short of abandonment of the entire infected ecosystem for human habitation and food cultivation?

How many years? How many decades? How many generations? How many dead babies, miscarriages, birth-defects, cancer-clusters, clusters of immune deficiencies and normally rare degenerative diseases; organ failures, rashes, chronic respiratory or digestive tract distress, intransigent infertility of human and animal, neurological disorders, learning disorders--all of which and more have been associated with exposure to petro-based products, their by-products and the plethora of chemicals commonly used throughout the processing, storing and shipping of petroleum products, which would have been stored in abundance in a region whose most prominent industry was the shipping, storage and processing of oil.

Will we ever even know which chemicals and in what quantities they were released into the environment? Or will the corporations involved claim proprietary rights to secrecy? We simply must have transparency of this entire issue for without the facts, the ingenuity of science and technology can not be applied to rectify it. Science and technology without facts will go the way of the delta without rooted plants.

Pass this into the meme stream pronto! No matter where you live on the globe, this needs to matter to you. For especially if corporations use the new 'free trade' laws to force other countries to accept shipment of contaminated food product, this would have a direct effect on you and yours for decades.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Sidetracked

Have been seriously sidetracked this past week with the news about the Katrina Catastrophe. I was reading obsessively online all night every night and occasionally watching or listening to CNN simultaneously. I could not blog about it as I could not sort out my thoughts and feelings. Besides so many were doing so magnificently well, I knew that I could add nothing substantial to the discussion. The only thing left in my head was an endless wail interspersed with incoherent rant fugues. Like I said, Nothing of value to add to the discussion.

I felt myself slipping into the same abyss as I did after the Tsunami. A look at my archives will reveal that I was posting sparsely between Xmas and Memorial Day. The truth is, that most of what is there was actually posted between late April and early June. I just set the timestamp to reflect the approximate date I had begun to compose the essay or had read the article I was quoting. At that time I had no audience so no one was the wiser but me. So this weekend when it became apparent that I was heading down that same road again, I knew I had to nip my emotional tailspin in the bud--and now!

The first step was a reinstatement of the moratorium on MSM TV news. It is the video pictures that go into my dreams with me. It is the yakking heads trying to tell me how to perceive what I am seeing that morph me into a gibbering fool. Once I had stopped watching the horror and listening to the spin. The next step was to get some serious sleep. Sleep depravation was a large part of the disintegration of psyche. This is a pattern for me. My sleep-ability is fragile at best. Add to that my proclivity to OBSESS on whatever has my attention in its grasp!

Which brings me to step three. It was time to try to sidetrack myself. I knew that the more days that I did not post to Joystory, the harder it would get. So I had to start making plans for a post. Something. Anything. Yet anything just would not do. Nothing seemed relevant. But that was my obsession talking. I have to trust that something will occur to me eventually--an insight, an encounter with a unique idea that needs seeding into the meme stream.

Meanwhile doing some webmistressing tasks would keep my hands on the tools and my mind in the game. So I turned to my sidebar which has been languishing for months. After I had messed it up somehow I lost confidence. But then a visitor surfed on and answered my plea for help. The mistress of Alice In Wonderland Or Not offered to take a look at my template. She sent me the fix and after a careful line-by-line comparison between her fix and the existing code, I saw where my mistake had been made and thereby understood the intent of the misplaced tags. There is one pitfall I won't stumble into again.

Anyway, the upshot is that I just added a lot of new links to my sidebar. And I added categories. And I alphabetized inside each category. Collecting the links took most of a session and adding them to the template took most of another. I am not finished yet. I still have more links in each category and a couple or three more categories to add.

One of those categories is links about the Katrina cleanup and relief efforts. Both resources for up to date info and for ways to help. Have been collecting these links throughout the surfing I did from day one. I posted a short list of them early on and intended to get the rest prepared for the sidebar, but then I got intimidated by how well and how prettily some of the other bloggers, not to mention the news sites, were doing similar things. But I know that reasoning doesn't wash. I am still working on that list and hope to have it in the sidebar sometime this week, barring unforeseen developments.

One thing became clear to me as my sanity stabilized the past few days. I must find a way to become part of the solution at some level. What that might be is not clear at this moment but my heart and mind are open and reaching out. I wish to find a way to offer what resources I have, but they do not seem to amount to much. They are not monetary or even physical--time, talent, skillset. That's all I can come up with right now and I don't see a way to apply any of it beyond keeping this blog alive and viable for any opportunity that might present itself.

Meanwhile, I am going to return again to the mandate I set myself to keep a balance among the number of sub themes listed in the subtitle of Joystory. One of those sub themes has been severely neglected from the beginning as it has also been neglected in my daily life and that is my continuing Spiritual Quest. The experience of this past week has taught me that one thing if nothing else--it is imperative that I maintain a balance in my life--to stay centered mentally, to attend to my physical health and to keep my skill set honed. Because those are the minimum requirements for me to be of use to self, family and community (local, national, global).

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

In One Neuron and Out the Other

Don't really have anything of substance to say this morning. But I couldn't let another session go without posting again. That is no way to generate loyal returnees. But niether is blather like this.. Last night's time was taken by the Blogcritics post.. Which was essentially a cross post from here. Can't find time for generating new content. (Well there is plenty generated in my head durring the sixteen hours I am deprived of the computer. But you know what happens to that...in one neuron and out the other.) Can't find time to sleep either. Two hours yesterday and am setting myself up for less than four again today. There were special races at the track Friday so I sat with my husband's grandma so everybody could go. Am committed to doing it again today. Wasn't interested in going myself. But it might actually have been preferable to spending four hours involuntarily watching Faux news. Grandma had surfed onto it and been captivated by the scenes of the refugees. Then she forgot that she had the remote and for hours she thought I was the one choosing to stay there while I thought she was. After that, I felt like I wanted to take a bath and I don't know how much of that was from watching all those people walking in that dirty water or listening to O'Really put words into the mouths of his field 'journalists' and 'experts'. Not to mention watching the photo ops for his lowness on his royal fly by lie and cry, hug and shrug mission. . I'm so bummed. Can you tell? Sorry this is not very professional. Am so distraught over Katrina's aftermath am having trouble thinking about anything else. And later this month my Dad is going into surgery and I will probably be leaving town and all of this behind to be with my family until he is out of the hospital again. Which any writer would understand amounts to jumping off a sinking boat without a life preserver.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Help Katrina Victims

FEMA list of Charitable Organizations
Operation Blessing
Red Cross
Salvation Army
Soldier's Angels


I harvested these links as I surfed the news about Katrina and her aftermath. I intended to get them into my sidebar before I quit this morning but I don't dare attempt it now while pressed for time and suffering eyestrain (the template HTML font on blogger is teeny) I don't want to mess up my sidebar again so soon after a kind visitor to my post Sidebar Woes, Alice from Alice In Wonderland Or Not went to all the trouble of fixing it for me. But watch for major additions to the sidebar soon.

I have a lot to add to it but I lost my confidence after messing it up awhile back. I have a lot more blogs to add to my blog roll but I want to alphebetize it first and am also thinking about splitting it up into thematic sections to make it more helpful.

Anyway. Do help the Katrina victims in any way you can.

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An Online Writer's Community

Was pleasantly surprised to find in my inbox an unsolicited invitation to join a women writer's web ring. When I used the proffered link, I found myself at a writer's community home page where the link for the web ring was found on the side bar. I soon learned that I had to join the community before I could join the webring. I was briefly disappointed, as I was sure that I had just been duped by spam to come to a site offering something for sale.

But just moments later I was reassured because registration for Today's-Woman.net is free and most of the resources of the community are also free to registered users. Registration must be to help ensure users are 18 and over so that discussion can be conducted on a mature level. And by that they don't mean X-rated either. They announce with a SafeSurf button there is adult material on the site but elsewhere they insist that pornography, profanity and incivility are not permitted. All forums are moderated to enforce site standards of conduct.

There are monthly contests for poetry and short stories. There are book reviews. And articles written by members to aid and advise them on a number of things, not the least of which relate to writing, editing and publishing. There are discussion threads, member blog hosting, member profiles w/pics, games forums where members compete for scores against other members. Commenting on other member's writings is not only encouraged it is considered a duty. I was unable to access most of these forums, as my membership must be confirmed first. I gleaned the info off the menus, the faq, the staff's page and the homepage. I am so thrilled to have found this site and hope it lives up to its bright promise.

It was founded by Rosemarie DesRochers a writer from Ontario, Canada,
author of, She is like the wind, a collection of poetry. Her husband Shawn is the webmaster. The original concept of a women's community has expanded to include men as well. Rose admits the name no longer reflects the reality.

On the face of it--literally the surface which is all I've seen so far--it appears to be a vital, growing, indispensable resource for writers who have had enough of the lonely artist's hermit life and wish to give as much as receive encouragement and communion with others who share their passion and dedication to their art. I can't wait to get involved.

I have only one problem. Rose DesRochers has beat me to the very dream I had for Joywrite when I first conceived it in 1998. But that is really more of a blessing than a problem since I do not have the resources to make it happen, not the least of which are the exceptional tech talents and web savvy of Shawn DesRochers, who also has his own techie business, Invision-Graphics.

One of the moderators is Jayel Gibson author of the fantasy series, Ancient Mirrors Chronicles.

Any writer attracted to this concept should surf on over and consider signing up.

Update: I cross posted this over at Blogcritics where I announced that I would be blogging here about my adventures at Today's-Woman.net. Well the first adventure is apparently a snag in the automatic registration. I didn't realize that I was supposed to get an almost immediate confirmation email which contains a link for activating my account. I haven't recieved it yet and according to their faq I now need to email their admin.

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70 Days of Sweat

Yes, master.

Epic Kindle Giveaway Jan 11-13 2012

I Melted the Internet

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