Monday, October 25, 2010

a greater emphasis

excerpts from Kimberly Alzuphar
Published February 1, 2009 in The Columbia Spectator

“Clear water is not always clean water!” I shout through a loudspeaker in the crowded open market of Léogâne, Haiti. “Dlo cle pa vle di dlo prop!” I have returned to my home, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, with Columbia UNICEF’s project designed to address diseases found in the contaminated water of Haiti. As the 2008 CIA report states, 80 percent of the population lives under the poverty line. In addition to a staggering 70 percent unemployment rate and a 50 percent rate of illiteracy on the island, almost every water source has become polluted with human waste due to the lack of a sewage sanitation system. The Pan-American Health Organization reports that more than half of all deaths in Haiti are due to water-borne diseases. As a member of Columbia University’s UNICEF, I initially memorized these statistics in order to familiarize myself with Haiti’s economic, social, and political crisis. However, the Hearts 2 Our Children in Haiti campaign taught me to place a greater emphasis on every individual instead of on statistical reports that inaccurately depict the plight of the poor Haitian population.

standard/wikipedia type definition of cholera:
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It has a short incubation period, from less than one day to five days, and produces an enterotoxin that causes a copious, painless, watery diarrhoea that can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death if treatment is not promptly given. Vomiting also occurs in most patients.

today, october 25, 2010
death toll reaches 253 and cholera-related sickness estimates are reaching 4,000.
today october 25, 2010
tpg in her yoga pants, a thermal tee, and REI wool socks lounges comfortably in her ethan allen recliner, sipping fair trade coffee, mixed with organic half-n-half and reading her messages on facebook. her 850 sq foot "modular" is simplistic yet she is "current" and "hip" withher new stainless steel appliances...and her porcelin crock with a 3 gallon glass bottle filled with "reverse osmosis" drinking water she that re-fills every week for a mere .25 cents per gallon.
she is equipped with the privilege to ponder...
on january 12, 2010 haiti (already the poorest nation in the western hemisphere (gross national wage $535.00 annually) was hit with a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that evoked an out-pouring of global compassion and dollars...
using her remote control which aids her in turning on her flat screen (purchased interest-free at best buy because of her good credit score) she surfs the channels looking for the same explosive media coverage she saw back in january with regard to today's devastation of the cholera outbreak in haiti...
chandra levy trial, upcoming election, sarah palin, murder at napa state hospital, the giants return home welcome by fans, bart expansion, rain could hinder thursday's world series game, gas prices up .5 cents in 2 weeks,...hmmm. where is the coverage of this heinous outbreak she wonders? then re-warms her coffee in the microwave and checks to make sure the dog and cats have enough "fresh" drinking water...where is the coverage? why aren't we given a number to text our a $5.00 donation? she flips through the channels and acknowldges her own advantages granted to her simply because of her genetic blueprint. where is the national and global outrage?
where is my own?
asking herself these questions, she is mindful of the fact that the usa has spent a trillion (is it more now? i have lost count.) on 2 wars yet cannot meet with its allies to discuss low-cost water systems for impoverished nations such as bangladesh and haiti, to name two?
Adam Silverman writes to recommend the Mobile Max Pure, a machine that uses solar power to purify water and also produces surplus electricity that can be used for other purposes. He writes:
The systems are portable, can turn out up to 30K gallons of drinking water a day, are solar powered, and best of all generate more electricity than they use doing the filtration, so they can also be used for power generation. They can literally be dropped anywhere and come with pictorial instructions that are easy to follow. These should be standard issue for all humanitarian assistance efforts.

when will a greater emphasis be placed on every individual instead of statistical reports? more so, when will the power of love conquer the love for power?


Saturday, October 23, 2010

dear lord,

"dear lord,
thank you so very much, lord,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

cause for pause

if one is content then one's cup is half full right? random thoughts such as this enter and exit my consciousness fairly regularly and sometimes i must admit to you, i find it quite tiresome.
i rounded the corner at a snail's 8 mph, passing brenda's "unit" which is out of compliance in about a hundred ways and to my left i see mr martin and his "buddy from down south." mr. martin always flags me down. sometimes i try and look busy, like i'll change the cd or pretend to be on my cell as i drive by him but today i slow, hit my auto-window button and greet the two fine gentlemen that have nothing better to do than stand right smack in the middle of the street and gossip.
"hi guys!"
the conversation sails through the polite introductions and faster than a speeding bullet, we are into the subject of the upcoming election.
well, shit, by the looks of my vw and the plethora of bumper stickers in various select spots, it's quite obvious to "the down south buddy" where i stand on current events!
Mr Martin (perhaps already with a couple of glasses of box-wine under his belt) " can't get much worse than old jerry and newsom...'course we already got o'bama..ha ha ha!"
Down South Buddy (in red-neck, backwoods drawl), "they're all god damn lawyers, clinton, obama, mrs obama... the country's run by god damn lawyers! that's why i'm movin to nevada. that's also why i joined the tea party. we gotta do sumthin about it!"
TPG "well, george "w" wasn't a lawyer that's for sure! and last time i checked, nevada was still a part of the united states of your president won't change there!"
HA!HA!HA! we all laugh what feels to be an uncomfortable laugh...i change the subject because that's what i'm good at...
tpg "did you guys have lunch? where'd you go?"

you can't really argue with members of the tea party because you know what?? they have no f*&@#@#king clue about facts and no desire to read any! documented evidence? who needs it?
but then do any of us really have the facts? this causes me pause. perhaps the facts are secretly hidden? where? uh...oh! maybe at the bohemian grove in monte rio, california! under some giant owl carved out of stone. lol.

if we're all just wandering the planet spewing and vomiting our opinions, experiencing a few interactions and connections, playing with our kids, walking the dog, making a damn good turkey- on- rye every once in awhile, then what is it all about and why do we even waste our breath on anything?
driving back from the coast to my "home sweet home" tucked away in the eucalyptus groves, i glanced at the "sand hill" where locals climb to the top of this steep dune and write sentiments with seaweed for the passing traffic below to read someone's seaweed sentiment read:

hmmm. again, cause for pause.
well, damn it! i already did.

my favorite sand dune seaweeds message was a couple years back. i was sardined into the back of my in-laws SUV, along with my partner and our two nieces. one was about 7 at the time and the youngest about 3. we were stuck in "bumper to bumper" traffic, which is a common occurrence here on our popular coast, when our 7 year old niece looks over at sand hill. we can see her lip-reading the seaweed script..."grandma?? what does EAT PUSSY mean?

cheers! tpg

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

juror #2556707

the thought of being on a jury doesn't excite me to put it mildly. so when i made the call to the automated system sunday night and found out that juror # 2556707 was to report to the county courthouse monday morning at 10:00, you can use your imagination and figure out which choice words came spewing from my lips...

after going through a "mini homeland security check" in which i was questioned as to why i had a plastic baggie of coin in my purse, (figure that one out!) i enter what appears to be the "check-in" room, and i do. check in. seated in one of the first seats in which all 200 are pretty much taken, is none other than "nosey rosey" my next door "snoop dog" of a neighbor who watches our comings and goings like she watches her soaps. she seems happy to be there in a sick way. there she is reading some out-dated People magazine and like the idiot that she is, she looks up from her smut and asks me this, "what are you doing here?" ("oh i don't know..heard there was a sale on panties in aisle 17 and i had a coupon!") WTF! "quess some of us girls have all the luck." i respond and take a seat in the far back, away from the pain in my trailer park side...
i get about 25 pages read in my book when a blonde forty-something woman walks to the front of the room and tells us if she calls our name to answer "here" then take a "juror badge" from the woman at the door and line up in front of courtroom # 5. we are to wait there for further instructions. then i hear my name. f@*%&k!

That was at about 10:40 am. by noon i knew i was in trouble as i had just entered this new world of repetitive and redundant questions that required clarifying and then clarification and then more questions that required more clarifying! so 18 are "chosen" and i remained in the wooden-pewed seats. mr boose is one of the 18. he seems to have not bathed in at least a week or combed his hair for that matter. he is easily agitated and continually raises his hand to let the court know he has ADD and would like to be excused. apparently his mother is sleeping on the bench in the hallway and his disabled grandfatheris next to her. his pleads fall on unsympathetic ears. Mr vasquez in the middle row, juror 8 works at soledad prison and believes the defendant is guilty based on the numerous tats (including 1 of the number 14, a gang symbol) tatooed on his face. this causes an erruption and a shift in the line of questioning by both the d.a. and the public defenders that takes us well into the lunch hour and then past 3:00pm. several potential jurors are excused after lunch for various reasons, like ms jaramillo who hates police officers and could never trust one. several more names are called from "my group" but mine is not. they are sworn in to fill the vacant seats. i wait. the lights are bright and irritating, the seat is as hard as tree bark and the silence, deafening.
by 4:30 an african-american man, looking very haggard and holding in his possesion a plastic bag with toiletries; soiled underwear and various other used personal items raises his hand. then the raise becomes a wave. then, because he is not acknowledged by "the court" his wave becomes a flapping which is accompanied by an outburst: "IT'S 4:30 NOW!!"
i can hear the gurgling in my stomach and suddenly i do a quiet self-evaluation:
'i, too, am ready to have an outburst...'
4:40pm 6 more potential jurors are thanked and dismissed and there are now 8 vacant seats. we are now advised that we must return on wednesday at 9:00am as a jury has yet to be selected.

5:50pm i toss a few ice cubes in a tall glass and pour myself a light one with extra lime. for some reason, it feels like a much-deserved gift. ;)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My 2 Pink Flamingos

this morning i awakened to 2 blaring facts: one, my coffee's not strong enough and two, my new dog is a very picky eater... taking matters into my own hands and appeasing both her and i, i padded my number 4 filter with more "major dickinson's" and i piled her bowl with some chopped up pieces of organic chicken breast with minced garlic from saturday night's dinner. both of us were seemingly satisfied and ready to greet a sunday... looking out my kitchen window, wondering if life could in fact get any more colorful, i noticed my spearmint taking over the very sand where my 2 pink flamingos proudly stand... what is the correlation between trailer parks and pink flamingos? the origin? and why in the hell did i place 2 in my front yard? i began taking my thoughts to google, with every intent of finding an answer. (isn't it ludicrous how we trust google more than we trust our own family?) so this is entertaining...there is a game out called
"Trailer Park Wars" that puts you in charge of a mobile home community. (LOL NOW THAT IS IRONIC!) Your goal is to make your park more attractive than your competitors' parks by including amenities such as the Skeet Range, Hot Tub, and Tapped Beer Keg. You also want to attract desirable tenants to your park while at the same time dealing with the lowlifes and deadbeats that inevitably drift in. Scoring is performed in each round of play, with victory points tracked by miniature plastic flamingos that you accumulate and "arrange attractively around your trailer park". Game ends when the last victory flamingo is awarded. Perhaps this was my subconscious intent... to make my yard more attractive than the surrounding yards, if you can call them that! Then of course many of you might remember baltimore director John Waters's outrageous 1971 debut Pink Flamingos. it burst onto the filmmaking scene like the ample flesh of its drag-queen star through the seams of a lamé dress! of course, i felt unsatisfied with my google answers and in continuing my quest for understanding my own destiny, i stumbled upon the lyrics (chorus) of billy ray cyrus' song...

Burn down the trailer park
Shoot the pink flamingoes out in the yard
I can't live here since she broke my heart
I'm gonna burn down the trailer park

of course, being a recovering "adult child of a country western music alpha addict father" i have never even listen to a word of mr. cyrus' music! but i must admit a liking to his chorus, especially on a bad day here'at the park!'
in the late fifties, america was yearning for more vibrancy in their normal everyday lives. hence, the pink flamingo became very popular lawn decor. it was associated with lavishness, as a vacation to warm climates like florida were popular in the late fifties, and so the flamingo hit it big! As a matter of fact, they are still one of the most popular lawn ornaments to date!

sipping my cup of "wake-up", i am well aware of my delight, tickled pink actually to know i am still in with the lavish "in crowd!!!!" seize the day!

Friday, October 15, 2010

coincidence or synchronicity?

"the heart is a lonely hunter" has come to me via 2 people and a news report within one week's time.  a first time novel for a twenty-something in 1940...Ha! you thought i was well-read, but alas, i hadn't even heard of this title.
but a story was told over glasses of wine at a gathering in capitola last week;  our "bad girls book club" met at debbi's and i could tell our presence gave deb a sense of connection. so it went like this...we were placing our suggestions in our lovely victorian-looking suggestion box which holds our "book wishes" when amy tells the group that words infiltrated her head as she stepped into a goodwill store in montery a few weeks ago, "the heart is a lonely hunter." she stopped between the racks of used jeans and housewares and paused.  just paused because she had not a fucking clue what her own mind was talking about!! she shrugged it off because her mind does all kinds of weird shit these days, tricks, memory loss, tangents...  she headed for the used book section, her reason for being there in the first place.
there were mostly hardbacks and she felt them to be overpriced at 2 bucks each;  lots of nora roberts, 3 copies of dan brown's "angels & demons" and 1 copy of "the lovely bones."  same old, same old she thought as her eyes slowly panned the rows and rows of hardbacks and paperbacks. 
then she saw it.  there were the words on the spine of a tattered paperback.  such a shocker! she paid the 2 bucks without hesitation. wouldn't you have?
the next monday i found myself in public garden sipping mint/chamomile tea with an acquaintance that came to california from boston in the early '70's.  the conversation took many turns and we covered a plethora of subjects when finally
she said to me that she believed in sychronicity and not coincidence yet she had zero faith in jesus, buddha, or any other humanly-sanctioned higher power and she wanted to know if i was familiar with the main character, a deaf man, in the novel, "the heart is a lonely hunter?"  my mouth dropped and i said i had just recently heard of the book and knew nothing about the deaf man, the plot or wisdom for that matter!  and oh the fun continues... later this week i was reading various on-line articles and news reports when i came across a writer/poet/author from a small town in iowa that based her thesis on the main character of... you guessed it!!
no fucking way!  (when you live in a trailer park shit like this is fascinating!) and you're damn right! i ordered it (used) today from amazon! used because i'm on a budget and new is a chunk from my wallet, and used because i'm into renew reuse and all of that stuff. you know. you gotta walk the walk not just talk the talk but i can't help wondering:
was it?  is it?  coincidence or synchronicity? hell, how should i know! 
closing my first post..welcome to 2010 trailer girl! it's about time you got a blog...gotta go sweep the astro-turf.  thanks for reading!