Watch Out for the F’ers

The Internet makes all other sources of  information irrelevant. Newspapers are too slow and expensive. Libraries are archaic, also too expensive and slow. Bookstores are dying. Anyway they all provide way more information than we really need. We just need a piece here, a quote there, nothing like the  sustained pieces of writing found in these places.

The only information we need is Fast and Free. Everyone is a writer. Everyone is a commodity and is forced to view commodities across the screen. News spreads faster than fire. News and information riddled with mistakes because it is Fast and Free and that is all that matters. Gross errors become truth or at least cast a shadow over the reality. We crave the attention of search engines.

I am leery of the calls to shut down the old-fashioned ways we find our information. Do this and humanity is fully controlled by governments, corporations, and well-organized  groups.

The information they want you to have is all that you can get. Each Internet search is custom geared to you and what others want you to know. Those with the most money and power get out their message and obscure other messages.

I know people are being groomed to no longer be capable of reading sustained essays or pieces of literature. Who has the time? I guess Candy Crush does win out. All we want are bits and bytes of info, well reviewed by others to highlight what we think we want to know or what others want us to know.

Think about the danger an out-of-control reading person may pose to those that support the F’ers. Anonymous reading is a threat. If you buy a newspaper, no one tracks your eyes online. If you enter a library or bookstore and read a book that is not attached to online scrutiny, your brain is free. You may stumble outside the appropriate point-of-view geared for your consumption by others.

Of course still peruse the Internet. See what’s out there, some of it is very useful. But realize that it is highly manipulated. Think about what you are giving up when you give up control to your sources of news and information. Yes, I know it’s hard to examine vastly different points of view from your own. But it stretches your gray cells and keeps you free. Or is freedom also an archaic concept?

The library may become the last place to go wild.

Plugged In

You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.


A devise/system that demands every person must record and distribute worldwide his/her greatest fear.

Ah, we now have everyone’s fears in our database, excellent.

Alternate version:

An infinity spent in a waiting room with no books to read and no chance of interesting conversation. Or books exist within the room to read, but loud, annoying television/video programming keeps streaming into the room. The screen has neither volume control nor off button.

Murky Certitudes

Abortion is no different than clipping fingernails. At least that was what my mother and I believed in the early 1970s.

At the time, the debate raged on as to whether to legalize abortion or not. Pro-choice and pro-life were not, as of yet, the labels for opposing movements on this issue.

In 1969, NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) organized. I think NARAL sponsored the pro-abortion booth that I volunteered at the State Fairgrounds one year. Among the prized livestock and blue-ribbon winning homemade jams, I passed out this radical literature to the fair-going public. The anti-abortion people had their own booth and ventured near us with their bloody photos of aborted fetuses. We just shrugged and kept on distributing our NARAL pamphlets.

Years later I thought about my carefree stance on abortion. I should have known not to align myself with my mother’s point of view. At times my mother would tell her friends and relatives that she had a right to kill me since she gave birth to me. I was eleven at the time and I protested this proclamation. She told me to shut up since she can say what she wants to say.

If a fetus/baby can be aborted at 8 months, is it murder when the mother kills the baby shortly after its birth? Maybe you can push the issue and kill the kid well after a decade of her life. I had to live with a whole lot of crazy so my brain works in weird ways.

But if a woman’s life is in danger during pregnancy, even a late-term one, the American medical community can and will save the mother’s life before the baby. A reversal of this position would be unwelcomed. If a radical pro-life agenda is capable of eliminating all abortions, I’d be working in a booth at the fairgrounds again.

The very liberal and very conservative in this country are disingenuous. They can’t talk to each other and only want to divide and humiliate each other. You can be against abortion, but don’t chase women back into dangerous back-alley abortions. You can be for abortion, but don’t be so flippant about the gut-wrenching feelings others have on the issue.

Today the medical community keeps formerly unviable fetuses alive. But desperate women will seek out abortions legal or not for a number of personal reasons. Compassion must encircle this difficult topic. A safe abortion is far more than a clipped nail, but sadly it is necessary and I hope as rare as possible.

Only Words

Seven Wonders
Khalil Gibran once said that people will never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words. What would your seven words be?


I am quiet, tell me a story.

Admit Impediments

Connie and I were the last two kids to live in our houses. We were the same age and only saw each other through the fence between our postage-stamp size backyards. She never came over to my yard to play and I never went over to her.

We passed a few small things back and forth between the fence, maybe some leaves or flowers or very small toys. We could never hold each other’s dolls. And of course human contact is not easy through chain link.

Was this fence the beginnings of the self-inflicted barriers I placed on my personal relationships throughout my life? Maybe it is why I crave isolation.

I suspect my mother and grandmother had their reasons for maintaining this barrier. They were distrustful and critical of other people. Better to keep a distance. Our two houses were destined for demolition so why bother to cultivate friendships? They would never go out of their way to find Connie’s new house and take me there for a visit. And they certainly wouldn’t want extra kids over at their house.

I still think about Connie at times and wonder what path she took in life. Does she remember the incarceration?

Nobody Home

Our House
What are the earliest memories of the place you lived in as a child? Describe your house. What did it look like? How did it smell? What did it sound like? Was it quiet like a library, or full of the noise of life? Tell us all about it, in as much detail as you can recall.

An old, two-story, two-family home in the city. The upstairs was an exact footprint of the downstairs: three bedrooms, one bathroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen.

A very small patch of a yard both front and back. No driveway, only an alley to the garage. The pathway between the house and the neighbor’s was so narrow that you could stretch your arms out and touch the sides of each house.

A girl my age lived in that house so close to us. I played with her through the fence. I don’t remember ever playing with her in the yard. I don’t know why.

The neighbor lady on the other side of us kept boarders. I remember watching her iron clothes one night through a bedroom window that looked into her dining room. About six or seven of her boarders sat around and watched her iron clothes that probably belonged to them. Sometime during my peeping experience, one of the boarders spied me spying on them through the window. They laughed and I ran off.

The key to the house was the hollow, barrel type that may have last been popular a hundred years ago. I still have it since it is an interesting looking thing. If I were crafty I would display it in a nice memory box. No such luck, I have no artsy motivation.

Before I was born, coal used to get dumped through a basement window to power the furnace. The company that probably delivered the coal was People’s Ice & Coal Company. I know that because I still have an awl with their company name imprinted on it, possibly a marketing tool (literally) for their customers. The ice they sold for those ice boxes used to keep food fresh before the electric cord took over. Their motto: Save Food, Flavor, Money With Ice.

The kitchen had neither counters nor cabinets. A pantry right off the kitchen made up for the lack of storage space. An old gas stove sat about a foot away from the wall because it was connected to a large pipe that sat between it and the wall. I remember because I used to hide back there sometimes.

The china cabinet in the seldom used dining room had a ring-style door pull that I repeatedly tried to unscrew from the inside of the door. They said I would become an engineer because of this curiosity in how stuff works. They were so wrong.

Victrola from the attic

Victrola from the attic

When we were moving, the attic was empty except for a wind-up Victrola. They let me ride my tricycle in the attic that day they packed up. From the attic level, the stairway had no railings, it was only a rectangle hole in the floor. I rode toward the hole and down the stairs. I survived as you can see. The Victrola did not, it never made it to the new house.

The day we moved, I stayed in the empty house with my grandmother. I had the house key which was attached to a ribbon. I was terrified of the unoccupied upstairs flat and yet I kept running up and down to the second level, throwing the key out the open window. I must have done this dozens of times before my mother came back to bring me to the new house.

Now the bottom floor was deserted too. I don’t think we locked the door. Soon the wreaking ball came and leveled the house.

Is God Natural?

Doubters Alert
What commonly accepted truth (or “truth”) do you think is wrong, or at least seriously doubt? Why?


A walk among nature proves the existence of God. How can you look at the beauty of a tree and doubt the existence of God? Believers espouse that the natural world screams out the fact that only a Creator could lay out a plan so perfect and beautiful. Peek out a window to witness the truth.

I’m a city girl that has no great love of untamed nature. But I do love the little bit of nature in my backyard. If anyone reads my blog, they know that I love the birds and cultivate them with birdseed, nectar, and a clean birdbath. I would rather gaze at the few annuals I plant in my yard than get daily deliveries of fresh flowers from a florist. I don’t care for insects in my house, but I do enjoy viewing their buzzy, crawly activities outside.

Nature has beauty. It does not prove the existence of God.

For this lack of belief, I blame modern times. As a medieval human, I’m sure no doubts would exist in my brain. In particular, I blame two modern strains of thought: existentialism and science fiction.

The play by Sartre, No Exit, squelches any ideas of a cut-and-dried heaven and hell. Perception is changeable, not subject to finite rules.

Earth is our sanctuary. In science fiction, one can find vastly different worlds that suit other life forms or machine forms perfectly well, but are a torment to our eyes. Likewise, our earth can be one huge horror movie to some Others in this universe.

Biting into the apple of modern times puts an end to certainty. I can’t un-see or un-think this point of view. What I love, proves nothing. In turn this tinges everything with sadness. I would prefer a kinder point of view.