Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sitting Still

"Don't just do something, sit there."

--"Buddha Rising," National Geographic
(December 2005)

How encouraging to think that Buddhism is on the rise. Instead of war, peace. Instead of materialism, spirit. Instead of fear, meditation. Healing, on this day of Aids awareness.

The Buddha of Hawaii
(photo by Jameson)

For myself, agreeing with Siddhartha that the way is individual, that my own thought and mind offer the right path to enlightenment, I have sought my own middle way-- between the extremes of hedonism and stoicism. Call it Epicurean Buddhism, meditation in the garden of delights.


Buddha taught detachment from desire as the cure for suffering in the world. For me, detachment involves engagement. Become engaged in the pure delights of Nature. Pay attention to the meandering of a monarch butterfly. Watch as the stars of Orion come into view in the winter night sky. Sit and listen, eyes closed, to the sound of a waterfall. Meditate on moments of love from others.

More active engagement, politics, protest, civil disobedience may be part of the way to enlightenment, as well. The Bodhisattvas postpone personal enlightenment until they help others obtain the path (Dao). There are many Buddhist Masters among us, subtle shepherds offering us guidance. Compassion.

For now, I'll just follow Pan. Listen to music, wander to the waterfall, swim in the ocean of being. Take along some loving friends. Next stop, Kalani, Hawaii.






"It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing."

--Gertrude Stein

(click)


Horoscope for December 1:

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): With a new moon in the skies it is time to reconsider the little things in life that make you happy.


Blessings...

Jameson


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hadrian's Eye

A remarkable tribute to the Pantheon in Sunday's New York Times transported me to Rome and reminded me, as I watched the stabbing of Julius Caesar on HBO's finale of Rome, how much I admire the true creator of the Pantheon, the Emperor Hadrian. Once again, as I did with Darryl last summer, I stood in the center of that sacred space, gazing at the shaft of sunlight entering the eye of the dome and piercing the interior to light the stone walls of the temple. An interior touched by the sun's shaft, interior and exterior, man-made space atune to nature, sacred to all the gods, a temple to Pantheism, this holy proportion is the sole remaining complete temple of ancient Rome. Yet it was fashioned by a man who was as Greek in mind as he was Roman, a man of the Hellenistic spirit, bearded Hadrian, lover of Antinous.

Dome of the Pantheon
photo by Jameson






Antinous
from
Athens, National Archeological Museum







Imagine, Hadrian in the Pantheon, his arms around Antinous, blessed by the gods of antiquity. Above the lovers, the oculus of the Pantheon rains sunlight down upon their laurel-crowned heads. Will such a gathering again occur in that sacred space? How preferable theirs to the gatherings in the nearby Vatican, gatherings of loveless judges ready to condemn what they can neither feel nor comprehend, just as they condemned the spinning worlds of Galileo in their dizzy hubris.
If religion is to have any meaning at all, it must find it once again in the reason of Apollo and the passion of Dionysius. Faith is the love of another, and religious ecstasy is mutual orgasm.


Amen.

--Jameson







Friday, November 18, 2005

Torture

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" --Pascal


5000
years ago artists depicted the torture of naked prisoners in Uruk, now called Iraq. The clay seal pictured here is one example of prisoners of war being beaten with sticks. The torture continues, today.


“On this cylinder seal impression from Uruk (c. 3200 BC) the ruler armed with a spear stands before naked and bound prisoners.”(12, p. 194)

Bronze Age, Mesopotamia
(http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/religion/arcproj/war/Essaythree.html)
(Note: this link no longer works, but it was the source of the photo and quote above.)

Saddam, Bush, and now the Shia have incorporated torture. The Tigris and Euphrates run red with the blood of millennia of violence. Is it likely to cease?Are we bringing democracy( or more to the point, capitalism) to Iraq; or are we setting the stage for the rise of a new Saladin -- the liberator born in Tikrit-- to free the East from the oppression of the West? Though the Shia continue to torture the Sunnis in revenge for the rule of Saddam, 80% of Iraqis are united in wanting to overthrow the rule of the West, in wanting the U.S. military to depart. Like the Roman Catholic crusaders, the U. S. forces are the enemy of the Moslem world, uniting it as surely as the crusaders united it a thousand years ago. Our meddling in another culture courts disaster for our own.






Friday, November 04, 2005

Cry For US, Argentina

San Martin, Simon Bolivar, and all who fought for the liberation of South America from colonialism are with the protestors in the streets of Mar del Plata.



Liberator José Francisco de San Martín
(Photo by Jameson)


(See: Thousands protest Bush in Argentina )


Peaceful or violent, these South Americans oppose Bush's free trade proposal with the U.S. While this is an economic plan unpopular with many, what has actually fueled the fire of protest is Bush's image as an imperialist who unjustly invaded Iraq, not to liberate anyone, but to seize the oil reserves there and to assert the power of the U.S. Our torturing of prisoners, many completely innocent, our utter disregard for the environment, our arrogant treatment of other nations, all have made us more unpopular than ever. The catastrophe of Katrina, and the ever widening circle of corruption in the White House, add more evidence of Bush's failure, of Bush's lack of intelligence and his mindless and destructive policies.

Every day I realize more how horrible the Florida electoral mess has left our country. Had Gore taken the office to which the American people elected him, the disaster of 911 would have been prevented, as intelligence reports make clear. The economic woes and mushrooming deficit would not exist. We would lead the world in environmental progress and conservation. Like Canada and Spain, our country would be progressive, prosperous, and beloved by the rest of the world.

Cry for us, then, Argentina. We need your tears. We need them to clear our vision to change from the evil, selfish, unilateral path we are now following to a path of enlightenment that will earn us respect. Help us replace greed and arrogance with the Tango. Dance us out of this dark time, this discord and ignorance. Then, in three years, Happy Days will be here again.

See the spin-off letter from this published in the AJC, 11-12-'05:

Letter.

--Jameson

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Spirits Are Willing


Our Ghosts

As the glaciers melt, and the arms of World War II pilots rise out of the ice as if on Judgment Day, spirits are eager for this Halloween. The ghost of Nixon stalks the cold rooms of the White House. We can hear the clinking of ice in his whiskies. He wakes the current inhabitant at strange hours.
So many ghosts this year are new to it. The Tsunami, the hurricanes, the earthquake in Pakistan have undone so many. The war has undone so many. The ghosts of millions of birds take flight. They swarm about us crying flu like a hitchcock film.
My ghosts are many too. From Russian Hill in San Francisco, From the marshes of Moon River in Savannah, From the recesses of "Death's Dateless Night," they beckon me.

It is a time to wear masks.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Blowing in the Wind




October.

Time to get out the blowers and whip those leaves away. Right? Oh yea, you never put the blowers away, did you? The weekly whip up just goes on as ususal. Only for a few weeks you actually blow leaves, rather than dirt, dust, animal feces, bacteria, pollen, and what is known now in Air- challenged Atlanta as particulate pollution.

Yes, It's October and soap box time for Jameson. But don't take my word for it; read the well- documented

Facts about Blowers

This documented study for Sacramento (far less polluted than Atlanta) points out how Blowers

1) damage our hearing with their noise.

2) add significantly to air pollution-- each blower polluting more than 17 cars and then some.

3) Damage gardens with tornado force wind that blows away topsoil, seeds, and kills plants.

4) are slower in clearing leaves than grandma with a rake (this was a study!)


The list goes on.


My favorite article on dirt blasters is this one:

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Leaf-Blower Terrorism
By JOHN MILLER

They attack in the early morning or during dinner. A man, often wearing ear protectors, descends upon the neighborhood. Strapped to his back is the latest weapon in the arsenal of technological terror. The device triggers an ear-shattering whine that slices through the soft underbelly of neighborhood domesticity.

The intruder reves up the pitch, generating a 75-plus decibel sound storm. Senior citizens tremble in fear, pets urinate beneath the bed and grown men curse. No one is safe from leaf-blower terrorism.

Hyperbole, you say? Webster's defines terrorism as "the use of force to demoralize and to intimidate." According to the Environmental Protection Agency, today's leaf blower is loud enough to cause hearing loss, high blood pressure and numerous other afflictions in those repeatedly exposed to its savage voice. Palo Alto, whose well written noise ordinance prohibits leaf blowers, is faced with the terrifying prospect of actually having to enforce the law!

The leaf blower's alleged productivity must be scrutinized in relation to the real costs involved, of which the most exacting is a noise so terrible as to negate any possible benefits of the machine.

Leaf blowers exist because they create an illusion of usefulness. The leaf blower is a metaphor for power. To suffer a leaf blower attack is to submit to raw power, to face the frightening arrogance of the possible, to fall prey to technical irrationality.



Leaf blowers exist because their existence is technically possible and ours is a society unable to resist the temptations of Dr. Frankenstein and the boys back in the lab.

Why does the Palo Alto City Council tremble at the prospect of demilitarizing the army of marauding gardeners whose weapons make noise terrorism the city's number one problem? Why do we even listen to attorneys brazenly demanding "rights" for leaf-blower operators, promulgating a charade of "reasonable compromise" and advocating "accommodation of competing interests" in an attempt to portray the leaf blower as bona fide and legitimate?

Our reluctance to acknowledge that leaf blowers are a barbarous grotesquerie has little to do with the sanctity of private enterprise but reflects our compulsive obsession with giving the other fellow his due. Examples of this misguided magnanimity are only too plentiful. Take ghetto blasters. Simply another way of listening to radio. It's just too bad for those wimps who can't abide amplified sound on the sidewalks. Dirt bikes? A legitimate form of recreation, though destroying the environment only marginally less than recreational bulldozing. With such precedents, should we be surprised that the leaf blower has been accorded the respect, the deference and the legitimacy it does not deserve?

Must we acknowledge every viewpoint as if all were equally valid, no matter how destructive? Must we really take the absurd seriously? Genghis Khan? Why merely an agrarian reformer. The leaf blower? Yet another convenience. And so it goes...

Such a diminished capacity to tell the good guys from the bad is a result of our apparent inability to recognize our real self-interest.

Will our common values be those that evoke our historic respect for the rights and privacy of others or must we legitimize every creation of our fertile imagination that parades in the trappings of progress and technology, regardless of the consequences?

Some may call my concern trivial and unimportant, yet according legitimacy to the leaf blower is a measurement, yes, - of evil. The leaf blower's legacy of callousness and spiritual impoverishment contributes to those more obvious evils that only too late do we realize have antecedents among the seemingly innocent and harmless fashions of the moment. Shouldn't we know better by now?

John Miller is a public relations consultant in Palo Alto.


Interesting coincidence of names-- but he's not a relation, as far as I know.

--Jameson

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Attacking Pittsbugh

As I took this photo of Rex menacing gay Philip Johnson's glass cathedral and plaza in downtown Pittsbugh, a security guard ran up to me and told me NOT to photograph, especially the building tops (guess he never heard of the web). Since 911, he began, we are aware of terrorists.

"You're not serious?"
I asked.

The guard bristled, 'deed they were. He moved his hand to his gun.

I smiled and moved on, as he watched me head back cross the Allegheny to the safety of the Andy Warhol Factory. Tourists. Terrorists. Those words are pretty similar, you have to admit.

Here we are in the land that used to be free. Each day the Texan appoints more evangelicals from Texas to take away those freedoms we've been taking for granted.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the Halls of Justice, indictments are arriving at last. No more delay for Delay. Time to frisk Frist. Scooter is scooting, and Rove will have to rove on over to the Grand Jury for some serious questioning. Bush is looking bushed himself. 2006. 2008. Hope?
As Tammy rains on Atlanta, as John Roberts assails Oregon for letting people die in peace, as I lose my train of thought to Fleetwood Mac and plans for trips to Kalani and Stockholm, the atomic clock ticks on.

Peace.

Jameson

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Amazing Disgrace Part II

Having read


How Presidents and citizens react to disaster.
by DAVID REMNICK

I have to say I am humbled and find my previous Blog to be callow, callous, and mean-spirited. The New Yorker account and it's stories of those who suffered Katrina, and for that matter, Hurricane Betsy, offer a lesson we should never forget.

--Jameson

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Amazing Disgrace

As we hear the amazing stories of survival from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we ought to consider just why God has saved those poor souls whose homes were destroyed. Our heart strings play a familiar sad song as Joan Doe stands before the rubble, the debris, and the tattered remains of her home. A fallen tree smashed her bedroom ceiling. Brown water pools around her and mold grows up what remains of a wall.

"I am lucky. God saved me. Thank God I'm still alive."

Should we? Thank God? What about the thousand plus who died? Why didn't God save them? What about the ones who were seriously injured or who lost family and loved ones? Are they lucky?

The hurricanes blow us right into the Problem of Evil, solved by the likes of Billy Graham and son who tell us that we shouldn't judge those who are killed or hurt, but just be glad for the good things that the rest of us receive. You know, God works in mysterious ways. We cannot understand the mystery. Just be good and you will get to heaven. Maybe.

For a definitive grasp of the philosophical Problem of Evil, click. What concerns me now is the immorality of thanking God for saving me when so many others are suffering or dead. It is the ultimate selfishness in the moment of crisis. It is no better than the athlete-- who has just won a competition-- thanking God. Why, we wonder, did he make losers of all the others?

Of course, if one really does believe in heaven and the blessed afterlife, one should logically thank God, the Christian-Judeo God that is, if ones loved ones do die. "Thank God. My wife died and now she's happy in Heaven. I wish He'd chosen me as well to go to that blessed Home in the sky." How cruel of God to leave all these good Christians in the swamp-- still prey to the Devil and the alligators.

Amen.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Out of the Frying Pan

As the world's glaciers and ice caps melt, as the seas rise and grow hotter, those who deny the reality of global warming look ever more foolish, more deceitful, and more immoral. The hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico are evidence of the gulf between the Bible-toting politicians and life. Even ostriches will lift their heads from the sand if you torch their asses.

Melting glacier Moreno in Patagonia
photo by Jameson


At long last many Americans are admitting that the Emperor has no clothes. Bush is in the Hot seat. And journalists are revealing to us all the corruption of Halliburton and other companies close to the president and vice-president's wallet. The horrific profits of the oil companies, ripping off those fleeing the hurricanes, are more fuel for the heat gathering around Bush.

In Nevada this week we watched the 20th Burning Man fire celebration. Never has the Burning Man seemed more an emblem of our world. And our foolish leader, thinking himself the oracle of the Burning Bush, offers no wisdom. He knows nothing of science. He is the living refutation of evolution.

Yesterday it was 100 degrees in Houston-- the hottest day before the autumnal equinox ever in that city. And 5 million people jumped in their cars and tried to leave. Only the roads jammed and the stations emptied of gas. And what do our leaders promise. More money. Lots more money. For Halliburton, Shaw, and Bechtel that is.

The flames of Hell -- they may not be myth anymore.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Geyser Music: Sigur Ros Flows

Last Tuesday Dar and I attended the transcendental performance at Atlanta Symphony Hall of Sigur Ros. It was not our first encounter of the band. We had seen and heard them before and Dar saw them first in Iceland. The review below "Like Sucking God's Cock" pretty much gets it. I think hearing them is like being transported to Iceland and the dramatic nature there-- far away from the cacophany of Bush's Ahmurikaa. Away from the pollution and the noise and the bravado. No war. No hurricane. But a sadness from afar at what is happening to the World. You can hear virtually the same perfomance at http://www.npr.org/programs/asc



Icelandic Geysir; the Original Geyser
photo by Dar




Listen:


NPR has a nice overview: Sigur Ros

My Favorite Video

Their latest video (click)


Here's my favorite review:

Sigur Ros : Takk

NME rating: 8/10

Like sucking God's cock. Or something

They play fewer gigs than Jesus throws "coming home" parties, their last record had no song titles and Jónsi Birgisson could walk around with "I'm the singer in Sigur Rós" stencilled on his forehead and still you'd have no idea who he was or what he did for coin. Not only that, but his band make music that sounds like elves rutting in ice castles or dragons bathing in geysers. Meanwhile, they win the award for "band least likely to break into a giggle mid-xylophone solo" with unrivalled ease. Oi! Work experience flunky! File them away in the "anonymous, glacial, misery gut muso" drawer. And shred that Oceansize review while you're at it.

Except saying such a thing is like hearing biology teachers giving sex education lessons – there is magic woven within the facts. Tagging them so neglects the love, grace and breathless passion that this, the Icelandic quartet's fourth album, has bolted to the girders of its monumental beauty. Choice cut 'Svo Hljótt' sounds like the bit in Lord Of The Rings when Gandalf dies reinterpreted by operatic mythical winged beasts, while the broody 'Glósóli' contains more nervous system-shaving shivers than a blowjob from an "up fer it" Archangel. If you imagine the noise God makes just before he eats a slice of cheese on toast, then comparably, that's how satisfyingly yearning the 65 minutes of 'Takk...' sounds. Ordinary people. Extraordinary songs.

James Jam

http://www.nme.com/reviews/sigur-ros/7761


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Here come the Vultures




As the slime dries on the streets of New Orleans, another kind of slime is appearing. Funded by billions of dollars from Bush and the Congress, Halliburton and other big spenders are snatching up contracts to rebuild the Gulf Coast. To top off the windfall, Bush has proclaimed that these companies need not worry about paying workers a decent or competitive wage. Law suspended.

Enter Dick Cheney, Halliburton personified. Touring the area laid low by Katrina, that wry smile widened on the VP's face as he saw dollar signs everywhere he looked. What better thing to see after looking over a three million dollar vacation home as Katrina blew ashore. This was well worth flying back from Wyoming. Opportunity in the land of the free-- and unrestrained.

Exit the evacuees, aka, refugees. There in the big, generous state of Texas the poor-- and now homeless-- still await promised, undelivered relief. When will they be able to return to the city they love? Only after Halliburton gives them the green light.

Two weeks after FEMA failed to rescue the people of New Orleans, bodies still float in the sludge in the streets of the city. Vultures circle overhead. No, not birds, helicopters carrying Halliburton execs and political pals. What a banquet awaits them. They give a new and horrid twist to the words of Auntie Mame. Even Anne Rice did not imagine such vampires.

--Jameson

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Bush

Will America be able to dig itself out of the
damages wreaked by Hurricane Bush, the most
destructive unnatural disaster to ever hit this
nation?

Let's retrace the path of this storm:

First, Bush ignores the memo that says Bin Laden
determined to attack the USA. Ooops, he did what he
said he'd do.
Second, Bush ignores information from Army Corps of
Civil Engineers saying that Lake Ponchatrain levees
need immediate repairs to protect the city. Worse,
he slashes $26 million from their budget. Ooops,
they knew what they were talking about.
Fact: Meteorogists have been saying for years that
tropical storms are getting worse because of global
warming. Bush's first act as President was to pull
the US out of the Kyoto hearings and to fight
tooth-and-nail any actions to reduce our impact on
the environment. He and his cronies won't even admit
global warming exists -- bad for bidness. Ooops, the
weather men got it right.

Next, Bush squanders a sizable national surplus by
giving tax breaks to super-rich buddies and by
starting a war-of-choice in Iraq. That'll show Daddy
whose balls are bigger.
Fact: following Hurricane Katrina there are now
untold billions of dollars in damages in New Orleans
and other Gulf cities; in NO, much of that damage is
caused not by the storm but by flooding from
ruptures in the aforementioned levees. Too bad
there isn't still a surplus to pay for
this. You can't prevent a hurricane, but
that's why we *save money* -- "for a rainy day." Too
bad we don't have a President with any sense of
fiscal (or, apparently, moral) responsibility; this
should come as no surprise, since every personal
business venture he has been involved in has ended
in bankruptcy -- the US economy is just another in
the long list.

Thousands of Americans gave their lives in an
attack on New York City that could have been
prevented were our President able to read and
inclined to do his job. Oh, well, he was on
vacation.
Thousands of Americans are giving their lives in a
war of choice based on lies and decit as Bush goes on
a lot of nice bike rides in the country.
Thousands of Americans now give their lives and all
their possessions in the aftermath of flooding that
could have been prevented were our President able to
read and inclined to do his job. Their
suffering could have been eased somewhat, and lives
saved, had our National Guard not been largely
deployed in the Middle East. Instead, the
President saws logs in Crawford and avoids talking
to Cindy Sheehan.


Where will our country be in 2008?
Billions and billions and billions of dollars in
debt, hated by a big percentage of the world and
distrusted by even more, perhaps still mired in a
war or involved in others, and trying to deal with a
crumbling infrastructure at home that we can't
afford to fix because of wars and tax breaks. Oh,
well, at least the oil guys and Haliburton execs
will be richer than ever.

dar

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

College Murder

Jackie O'Nastie protests the killing.
Speaking of Thanatos, The Woodruff Arts Center Board today voted to kill the Atlanta College of Art. We know who was Lady Macbeth in this murder, the half- million- a- year- plus president of SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design).

"Out, Out Damn ART!"

SCAD will consume ACA -- and most of us are unclear of the consequences for faculty, students, and alumni. There is no question that artistic freedom will suffer. Read the petition to stop the takeover-- last count 850 signatures-- with vital comments, by people who know:

Petition

A protest march is taking place as I write. How I wish a good journalist would uncover the dark side of this takeover, and the long, infamous history of SCAD and its cancerous growth. There is a somewhat detailed account of the takeover in the AJC at

Art school uproar



Here is my too tame letter published in the AJC, 8/24/05 :

The demise of the Atlanta College of Art is a great loss for Atlanta. That is not to say that the decision to turn the school over to the Savannah College of Art and Design has no merit. Atlanta is a business city and this is good business for the Woodruff Art Center. SCAD's vision, ambition, and material success are famous. ACA's reputation, on the other hand, is as a small, intimate educational institution known for high standards and rigorous study. ACA has always lacked the sort of broad vision of public success, eschewing graduate programs and high visibility in the community. This was its downfall.
In a perfect world there would be room for both an ACA and a SCAD. Serious artistic study could survive along with popular, attention-getting shows and entertainment. Unfortunately, in this case, quantity will quash quality.

The paper noted that I have taught at both institutions. Past tense.

--Jameson

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Eros and Thanatos

Yesterday, the nation's newspapers were filled with obituaries for Six Feet Under. My favorite was in the Boston Globe:
A poignant, satisfying end for 'Six Feet Under'

Since there is no reason for me to rehash the story of love and death in Six Feet, I'd like to make some other observations, instead. I thought the next to last episode in which an Iraq war veteran, maimed almost exactly as Senator Max Cleland was maimed in the Vietnam War, was especially poignant. The soldier decides to commit suicide and the family of the soldier perpetuates the lies for which he lost his life. Claire's attack on the SUV-driving family is brilliant. Nonetheless, her Christian, Republican boyfriend comes to Claire's rescue when she needs it. Ball's insight into character and passion is as good as Shakespeare's. So too is his political acumen. His interplay of love and death, Eros and Thanatos, is equally brilliant: Jung and Freud haunt his dream sequences.

There is now, perhaps in part because of Iraq, a fascination with death. The Sept./Oct. issue of the Utne Reader features a cover story on death. Alan Ball is just one interview in a series of articles. I predict we shall see much written on the subject of dying in the year ahead.

The last scene of Six Feet Under is of Claire, youngest of the Fishers, driving from California to New York, as the future fast forwards before our eyes. The vast open road of the West is of course a metaphor for life itself. It could just as well be the view from the prow of a ship. It is the path, the Tao, the Way. And death is as much a part of the Way as love, sex, and adventure are. Claire lives to be 102, which is fitting, somehow. The artist lives longest and last.

Happy Trails.
Jameson

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Lucinda brings us home-- or, still under the spell of the Mediterranean.




Rome--
  photo by Jack

After weeks in Europe, like ripe olives upland from the Mediterranean, we have fallen, pits and all, back to Atlanta.

Yet, tonight, Lucinda Williams
has brought us back to Earth from our sea voyage with such a performance that we are ready for anything.
When she sang "Lake Charles," all that magic from Louisiana came flowing over us like the water of the Delta over the levee. We were swept away. And when she sang "My Joy," Lord, we were all so filled with her joy that the quarter moon came right out of the clouds and shone. Lucinda Williams and her three-man band simply transcended, and we were all transported from the Botanical Garden and transformed, like the frogs whom she saw in the pond before the stage, into princes of the kingdom of music.

OK, I had too much wine. OK, I've just returned from weeks of Dionysian rule. Weeks of Revelry at Sea plus all those inland jaunts along the Mediterranean. Weeks of San Giminano Towers over Italy. Weeks of swimming, usually naked, in the sea of Ibiza or the beaches of Mykonos. Weeks of the splendors of civilization: Byzantium's Hagia Sophia, Rome's Pantheon, The Parthenon and Arch of Hadrian in Athens, or gazing at that noble, divine bust of Antinous.


Darryl Sips Retsina on our balcony below the Parthenon.

Yes, and dancing on the deck of the Millennium with lasers, and the music of the last few decades--- and last, this new uncharted century. Mardi Gras, Toga, Disco parties as our vessel divided the seas. And Istanbul greeted us with gardens, mosques, lamb, and the Bosporus. We were sailors of The Odyssey, and of the Sirens , filling the night at sea with our song.

Here are Photographs, mere images of an experience so aesthetic that all I can say is:
Life is a Banquet and we have feasted.

With Love,
Jack Jameson



Sunday, July 17, 2005

Sailing To Byzantium


On the 22d of July we soar to Spain. After six nights in Sitges, south of Barcelona, we set sail for Ibiza, Italy, Istanbul, and the Isles of Hellas: Thera and Mykonos. As in the Yeats' poem quoted below, we shall sail to Byzantium and to the Monuments of Unaging Intellect.
For all the depth of culture, of history, of thoughts of mortality as we gaze upon the greatest art and architecture of these civilizations, there will be for us the added revelation of a renewed Europe. Spain especially will hold for us joy and a celebration of higher awareness. For almost three weeks we shall be free of the repressing hand of the U.S. -- of its obsession with control of the world, from oil to religion, to the detriment of all.
It would be exciting to think that Spain today, like Seville and Granada in the 14th Century, exalts all peoples and artistic visions. Then Jew, Moor, and Christian worked together to create the Alhambra and the Alcazar of Seville. I think that today Federico Garcia Lorca and Luis Bunuel would flourish. In any event, Lorca, D.H. Lawrence, and Yeats shall accompany us on our journey.



http://www.uky.edu/Classes/A-H/322/yeatssailing.htm


SAILING TO BYZANTIUM
W.B. Yeats 

I.
That is no country for old men. The young

In one another's arms, birds in the trees--

Those dying generations -- at their song,

The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,

Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long

Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.

Caught in that sensual music all neglect

Monuments of unageing intellect.

II.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,

A tattered coat upon a stick, unless

Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing

For every tatter in its mortal dress,

Nor is there singing school but studying

Monuments of its own magnificence;

And therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium.

III.
O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

IV.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

- The Tower (1927)





Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Recalling Jamie Cullum and the Algonquin


While looking over details of our European Cruise and listening to Adult Alternative on music cable, Jamie Cullum's "All At Sea" (click for the you tube video) took me back to New York City in October 2003. What a great trip that was. Here's what I wrote on our return:

Jamie Cullum
from Wikipedia


October : New York City:
We had a dazzling three days in the Big Apple, including three amazing plays: Wicked, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Take Me Out. All were sold out and all got standing ovations that were heart felt. Ned Beatty as Big Daddy was stunning. The sets and story and singing in Wicked were over the top and over the rainbow, including those flying monkeys soaring over the audience. Soaring is the word.
Jamie Cullum at the Algonquin's Oak Room was a jazz and piano treat, his voice easily handling classic jazz songs. The New York Times accolades were correct. But best of all was our partying together at Jimmy's Corner after the performance. Jamie turned out to be a charming party boy, and his impressive knowledge of everyone from Mable Mercer to Johnny Mercer was respectable for a 24-year-old. He is eager to go to the Big Easy soon.
On Monday, we saw the awe-inspiring El Greco show at the Metropolitan. Room after room of the Master's best 70 paintings transcended description. We walked through a lovely autumn Central Park filled with New Yorkers sunning themselves after the bustle of the Columbus Day parade. Yes, we took in the Village and some good food too. So much to do, so little time. The Algonquin and our room with the bay window over 44th St. were comfy and the best service we've gotten in NYC. Our first class flight (yea, we got upgraded to 1st class again, like on our flight up) got us back to Druid Hills by midnight.
Here's a link to the webpage:

http://www.geocities.com/dargossett/2003.html


I also sent a note to Cullum:

Hi Jamie,
I'm assuming you're the webmaster. If not, guess you'll get this forwarded to you. It was a delight hearing you play piano and sing at the Algonquin Oak Room Friday night. But what made the night especially enjoyable was partying with you at Jimmy's. Of course I was impressed by your music and your fab band. But that you could put your knowledge of music into words was an added pleasure. When you mentioned Mable Mercer, whose enunciation and song I have thrilled in so long (since the 70's) I about fell off my stool. And Johnny Mercer too, whose home on Moon River in Savannah was where I once lived. The songs you sang were so gorgeous, deeper than I expected from someone only 24.
Finally, I love your journal. I've kept my own since I was 18. You are so spontaneous and "unspoiled." Guess it'll be hard to stay that way as fame takes hold. All I can say is how much fun I had Friday night and I wish you all the success in the world. Sorry the elevator skit didn't work out-- would have been fun to be on video with you. Thought it neat that you were always hanging out in the lobby of the Algonquin. Wasn't that a great place to stay? Let us know if you ever come to Atlanta-- or better yet, New Orleans. Man, You would lap it up there. Keep up the good music and the good personality.
Yours,
Jack

And here's what HE wrote in his Journal: for 11/10/2003: (day 1st, month 2d)


11/10/2003 - Simple and uncluttered


This city is dangerous. I haven't been to bed before 4am for 10 straight days. This is the reason why they call it the city that never sleeps. I crave sleep, and I probably need it, but every hour on the matress seems so pointless when there is so much to do here. Why is it that when your abroad you do all those things you really should do at home but never do. Example 'a' - I'm in the New York Public Library now! Ok, so there is free internet here, but this place is incredible. All I can think about is that scene from Ghostbusters though, I keep thinking I'm going to spot Slimer any minute.

Last nights gig was a stormer. Someone proposed to their girlfriend during a specially requested version of "My one and only love" which I haven't played since I recorded it on my first record "Heard it all before". She accepted. Do you think she would have declined if I had been singing "The thrill is gone"? It's so much fun to mess with people's destiny......

We found this great bar round the corner from the hotel called "Jimmy's Corner" which is covered with Boxing memorabilia and had John Coltrane and Marvin Gaye on the jukebox. We went down there with a whole bunch of people we met from the gig. That is what is so great about playing the Oak Room. It is just like being in someone's living room and you can't escape from your audience even if you want to. So the only option is to take 'em all to the pub.

It's weird being apart from eveything that is happening in the UK with regards to the album launch. All the newspaper articles and the TV stuff I'm missing. It seems like it is all about someone else. I get back from New York the night before the album is out. My days here are so different, very simple and uncluttered. I'm going to watch the England/Turkey game today in a Turkish Bar. Hopefully I'll come out alive.

with love from NYC

jc
x


Friday, July 01, 2005

Independence Day

As the 4th of July approaches, two more nations now give America a goal to consider. Spain and Canada are both granting marriage equality to their citizens. As our president talks about restricting such rights in a Constitutional Amendment, and as he considers his first choice for a Supreme Court judge to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, a swing vote in favor of gay rights, these two countries join a growing list of nations around the world who respect the freedom and equality of all their citizens. As we celebrate Independence Day here in the United States, we should think of the independence being celebrated in Europe, in Canada, and even in New Zealand-- in reality. It is time for us to practice what we preach. All Americans, straight and gay, deserve freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Mysterious Skin

Gregg Araki has given us a provocative look at the characters created in the novel Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim --who is not in Kansas any more. There is a remarkable review in Salon of this film at:
http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/review/2005/06/17/mysterious_skin/print.html

As Gay Pride celebrations take place world-wide, as Canada recognizes same-sex marriage equality, and as religious zealots attack gays as immoral and the end of civilization, this film offers a penetration into the complexity of personality, a delving into the heart and soul of individuals, that defies the stereotyping and the hype we find in the modern press, and in the preaching so often pouring forth from anti-gay and pro-gay sides. The four characters: Neil, Brian, Wendy and Eric, from whom we learn the story of a coach's child abuse and its after effects, reveal both our radical difference from one another and our common humanity. The way the characters reach a revelation of themselves and their own worth and values is fascinating.
That Neil knows he is gay from the age of eight, BEFORE the contact with the coach, is telling. The film is not about the horrors of child abuse, it is about how individuals deal with what happens to them in different ways, and how they grow, ultimately, despite the abuse. If there is anything from this film relevant to the ongoing debates over gay rights, it's that being gay is a part of ones personality, not something caused by some traumatic, negative, or random event, however damaging. What is especially wonderful about both the novel and the film is how the imagination is so critical to ones being. The fantasies of Neil about sex and the fantasies of Brian about alien abduction are central to who each is. It is in the presentation of these creative worlds of the characters that the novel and the film achieve so much.
I have to add that I find it strange how prominent a place pedophiles have taken in our consciousness. From pedophile priests to the Michael Jackson case to a paranoid fear of child abuse in schools, by relatives, by coaches and scout masters, the heightened awareness indicates to me a cultural disconnect. Our culture's growing fear and condemnation of sex, generally, of the denial of sexuality in children, of the fanatical religious suppression of sex altogether, all seem a part of the same problem. We must return to the attitude of the 70s, the view summed up by D. H. Lawrence's claim that ""Sex is the root of which intuition is the foliage, and beauty the flower."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Savannah Solstice



(scroll down for poetry and photographs)

On Friday, we made the drive to Savannah, leaving Atlanta at 2:45 PM, and just beating the traffic out of town. We arrived in time to walk to Chuck's Bar on the River, Blaine's, and Pinkie's, all packed on this Father's Day weekend. Then we attended an all night party on 48th St. just beating the sunrise to get to bed by 5. (Thanks for the party, Tye.)
On Saturday, John and I joined Dad and Maggie at the mall. In the afternoon, Dar and I checked into our suite and drove to Tybee. We gathered on the deck of the house just down from the Sugar Shack.
On Father's day, as rain and wind whipped the beach, we met Dad on the covered deck of AJ's on the Back River of Tybee. We sated our hunger with seafood. Go for the shrimp.
Single malt scotch soothed away the day's storms as we sat once again at the beach house.
As the rain stopped, we went to Fanny's on the boardwalk. Fun crowd, including a few extras from the "Midnight" movie.
Dar flew home Monday at sunrise and I went to Tybee to play tennis (watching Wimbledon in the morning didn't help my game). Sunburn .
John brought Mom to our return dinner at AJ's. and the next day (Tues.) many of us met at Mrs. Wilkes where Mom was holding forth to the startled old couple from Indiana.
Mrs. Wilkes: Southern cooking and the Late Mrs Wilkes' granddaughter Marcia with whom I used to cut up in English class in highschool. Love the fried chicken and okra and tomatoes.
To conclude: Solstice in Savannah: Savannah parks, gay bars (Chucks and Blaines), moss draped oaks and cool shade. Bricks and memories. Kathy's art gallery. Johnny Mercer's grand nephew Robby stabbed in Daffin Park. John visits him-- he just survived bleeding to death.
Thoughts of death haunt this town. Cemetaries and Father's Day. Rocking with Lee on the broad deck of the beach house. Then drinking with Chris at Blaines, hearing his lament.
I found solace in the walks on the beach with the full moon rising. Night after night. Last night walking the whole length of Tybee with Karen, Steve, and Carl to the pier. remembering New Orleans' Marcie West saying "The wind and the rain erase it all, Jack."


We ended my last evening on the ocean with a recitation from D.H. Lawrence:

MOONRISE

And who has seen the moon, who has not seen
Her rise from out the chamber of the deep,
Flushed and grand and naked, as from the chamber
Of finished bridegroom, seen her rise and throw
Confession of delight upon the wave,
Littering the waves with her own superscription
Of bliss, till all her lambent beauty shakes towards us
Spread out and known at last, and we are sure
That beauty is a thing beyond the grave,
That perfect, bright experience never falls
To nothingness, and time will dim the moon
Sooner than our full consummation here
In this odd life will tarnish or pass away.

(D.H. Lawrence, 'Moonrise')


Photos:
http://www.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=24402818/t_=5822461

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Rufus in the Garden

A halcyon summer night greeted Rufus Wainwright at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. A loving crowd filling the expanse of lawn before the Greenhouse stage cheered him. He could do no wrong. His self-mocking, often melancholy, lyrics penetrated the night air. His songs pierced our hearts.
His wit also pierced. He dedicated his song "Pretty Things" to Michael Jackson. He sang to the frogs in the pond that spread at the foot of the stage. He mistook the loud pulse of crickets for the frogs singing back. When trying to think of an image to embody Atlanta, he came up not with a monument, but with a fire. Southern Boy Rufus ain't.
And the night, like the singer, was upstate New York, or Canada. It cooled as a bright half moon lit the lawn of listeners, as the moon slid closer to Jupiter, the lone "star" visible in the hazy Atlanta sky. The audience leaned back or spread their legs into the wet grass, and settled in for a full night of song. (Some Atlantans got out their ubiquitous cell phones to take blurry pics as a cop, loud on his walky talky, made sure no one smoked).

Rufus Wainwright is from a musical family: Mother, father, and sister are singers too. His dad, Loudon III, is still performing and can be remembered for "Dead Skunk," and the song to his son,"Rufus is a Tit Man." Nice irony. Rufus, in turn, sang a song to his father.
Rufus' style reminded me of off-Broadway musicals or cabaret songs. No wonder there's a movie connection. He appeared in Aviator and one of my favorite performances is his rendition of "Origin of Love" from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
It was not always easy to decipher Wainwright's lyrics, often nasal, high-pitched, and blending into the night sounds-- crickets, an airplane. Yet, two songs did come through with clarity: Peach Trees (dedicated to the "capital of the Peach state") and "Art Teacher." Rufus sang the last from the point of view of an 11- year- old girl in love with her art teacher ( her favorite work of art was he).
Here are four links well worth a look (and a listen):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudon_Wainwright_III

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufus_Wainwright

and of course,

http://www.rufuswainwright.com/

and for RW's innovative lyrics:

http://www.azlyrics.com/w/wainwright.html

Monday, June 13, 2005

Not Guilty

This Op-Ed was published June 17 in USA Today:

http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20050617/letad17.art.htm

Jury finds no crime in Jackson's difference

The Michael Jackson trial was a circus because a celebrity was accused of child molestation. But what the trial really was about was something else: Jackson's being radically different (“Jackson free: Fans rejoice as jury acquits him on all counts,” News, Tuesday).
Will our society allow the strange behavior of a man who spends the night with boys who aren't family members? Will a jury acquit a man who has changed in appearance over the years to become a virtual freak? Is it believable that a grown man who appears so strange could have such an intimate relationship with boys without having sexual contact?
This jury, hardly of Jackson's peers, answered with a resounding “yes.” Over and over we heard “not guilty.” Being different, contrary to the bitter attacks of the prosecutor in this case, is not a crime.
This verdict is more than a victory for one lonely celebrity. It also is a victory for non-conformity. Bullies such as Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon, the prosecutor, deserve to be punished for abuse of their power. Mercenary mothers who lie for material gain, who prostitute their sick children for personal gain, should be punished.
Yet creative artists and performers who are wildly eccentric, who do not look like the rest of us, who live in a reality unfathomable to the majority, deserve praise, kindness and appreciation for their talent and their gift of genius. Vive la difference!

Jack Miller
Atlanta

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Loggerheads

With the approach of storm Arlene, the obvious thing to do was attend the Atlanta Film Festival. This afternoon's show was Loggerheads. Set in North Carolina over three different Mother's Days, the film explored searching for identity and birthright. Below, I shall provide a link to a synopsis of the film and cast, including the producer Gill Holland who appeared after the screening for a Q& A. I asked him about the story on which the film is based, and he elaborated some details such as how they softened the image of the preacher. We also asked about future "screenings." The film was picked up by the Sundance Channel and is scheduled for showing next summer. Showtime had made an offer as well; but the Sundance offer was better.

I don't want to be a spoiler and give away the film's intertwined mysteries which were presented in a compelling way. I liked the use of the loggerhead turtles both as a symbol and as an essential element of the story, giving insight into the main character and his values. The locales were also used well: a beach community near Wilmington, Asheville, and the foothills not far from Charlotte. All three cities are shown and a feel for their region is nicely portrayed.

The film certainly embodies the South and its personal conflicts. North Carolina's unreasonably strict adoption law is exposed. Religion is given a brief, interesting study, as well, with short, perhaps ironic, references to a few Biblical passages. Always apropos.

The film though is about character, identity, love, and human dignity. At the end, the audience all applauded -- not for the ending itself, but for the film's honesty. Here's the synopsis with http footnote:


Sundance Film Spotlight - Tim Kirkman's 'Loggerheads'


Tim Kirkman’s LOGGERHEADS is easily one of the front runners to win the award for best film in the Dramatic Competition at this years Sundance Film Festival. Inspired by a true story, and set in three different geographical regions of North Carolina, LOGGERHEADS follows the journey of Mark (KIP PARDUE), a soft-spoken drifter in his twenties who makes a pilgrimage to a small coastal town near Wilmington in order to save the endangered Loggerhead turtles that nest on the beach in the summer. Mark’s journey brings us into contact with three other characters, each at the crossroads of their lives: George (MICHAEL KELLY) a local motel owner who, until now, has avoided dealing with his emotions; Grace (BONNIE HUNT), a middle-aged woman recovering from a breakdown, has returned to her hometown in the mountains near Asheville to stay with her mother (MICHAEL LEARNED). Plagued by the desire to fill an emotional void, Grace embarks on a search for the child she secretly gave up for adoption when she was a teenager; and Elizabeth (TESS HARPER), who has lived a fishbowl existence as the wife of a minister (CHRIS SARANDON) for twenty-five years in a small town in the foothills of the state. When her safe, sheltered neighborhood starts to change around her, Elizabeth must decide whether to stand by her conservative husband’s beliefs or take a stand on her own. At the heart of this tale of disparate lives running intertwined is the discovery on the importance of connections Tim Kirkman directs based on his own screenplay (inspired by a true story). Bonnie Hunt, Kip Pardue, Tess Harper, Chris Sarandon and Michael Kelly star in Loggerheads with Michael Learned, Robin Weigert and Ann Owens-Pierce.

TIM KIRKMAN (Writer/Director) Cowboy Pictures released Tim Kirkman’s film debut, the documentary DEAR JESSE, theatrically in 1998. After its cable television debut on the highly acclaimed HBO/Cinemax “Reel Life” series, Mr. Kirkman was honored with an Emmy nomination for his writing. Previously, DEAR JESSE won the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (Best Documentary, Audience Award) and was named Best Documentary of the Year (Runner-Up) by the Boston Society of Film Critics. DEAR JESSE also received Independent Spirit, Gotham and GLAAD Award nominations. The film is currently on the Sundance Channel. His second film, THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME, a film adaptation of David Drake’s Obie-winning play, was released theatrically in 2000 by FilmNext to wide acclaim. Mr. Kirkman was born and raised in North Carolina. He received his bachelor’s degree from the School of Design at North Carolina State University and a Masters Degree from The New School for Social Research in New York City. He moved to New York City in 1990.

GILL HOLLAND (Producer) Nominated for the Spirit Award for Producer of the Year 1998, Gill Holland produced Morgan J. Freeman's Sundance-winning 'Hurricane Streets', the FOX sitcom “Greg the Bunny”, “Spring Forward” (on many critics’ top ten lists for 2001), the Emmy-nominated “Dear Jesse,” and AFI-winning “Bobby G. Can’t Swim.” He is developing a movie about “The Wright Brothers”. He produced three volumes of cineBLAST!, the short film video compilations. He was associate producer on “Dot the I” and “Jump Tomorrow” and co-produced “Desert Blue” and Cannes selection “Inside/Out”. He is a half-Norwegian, half North Carolinian reformed lawyer and former adjunct professor at NYU Graduate Film School. He worked briefly at October Films (now Focus Features) and spent three years at the French Film Office which represents the Cannes Film Festival in the US. He sits on several film festival boards and was on the jury for shorts at Sundance in 1999 and selection committee for the Academy Awards, Student Division 2002 and 2003. He started the music label sonaBLAST! Records, whose releases by Mark Geary both hit top 40 in Ireland.

http://www.elitestv.com/pub/2004/Dec/EEN41d30c23abbe9.html

Friday, June 10, 2005

Platonic Cinema

Outside In

Cinema brings to mind Plato's Cave. There we are, glued to our seats, mistaking mere images for reality. I know, this is not an original idea. Movies have been made about it. What fascinates me, though, is that Plato may have been mistaken. The way to truth, to reality, to beauty and to goodness...well, it may not be to leave the theatre... cave, that is. The reality may be inside, not outside.
Take Harry Potter, for instance, or Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings. What do these films, and others like them, provide? Magic, fantasy, adventure, myth. Do they not contain truths we are seeking? The best films come right from the Psyche, the Collective Psyche. Plato must have known this was true of Homer's work, that of Sophocles, of Aeschylus.
It is true of the best cinema. Chinatown reveals the reality of evil and corruption better than any history of L.A. Women In Love presents us with an understanding of the depths of desire and the connection of desire with friendship and society in general. Film has the power to see beyond the everyday world of particulars to the eternal archetypes. Just as Hamlet in Shakespeare's day was an archetype more real than any single Renaissance man; the anti-heroes of today, Michael Corleone, or Mike Waters from My Own Private Idaho, transcend those of us who sit in the theatre darkness, enthralled.
It remains a question of irony just how much Plato belittled art. After all, were his dialogues not art? Would his fellow Greeks not have found humor in some of the comments we take so seriously from The Republic? Perhaps Plato had more knowledge and respect for "the Dark Side" there in that Cave than we realize. What is certain is how amazingly relevant Plato remains. In a democracy, he wrote, even actors become leaders. Actors are most suited to win over the majority. From the screens of the cave they step out to rule the willing onlookers. Whether literally...Reagan, Schwarzenegger... or in leaders pretending to be what they are not, Plato has proven to be all too right. The Cave has turned inside out.

-Jack

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Summertime

A lazy summer week continues. Yesterday, John and I took in some films: Monster-In-Law and Star Wars III. Good. Entertaining. Not great.
We talked of our upcoming trip to Savannah and Mt. Pisgah.
Dar and I saw the provocative film Song of Nomi Tuesday night after dinner at Apres Diem. Our South Beach Diet enters its second week.

Work on my novel The Zone of Totality continues. Dar says it needs a new title and I agree. Maybe I'll post a few excerpts here, soon.

As Yellow Submarine's Boob said, "so much to do; so little time."

-Jameson

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

AJC Letters

ajc.com > Opinion

Letters from our readers
Published on: 6/8/05

Dan Meehan, John Eaton Morris, Harris Green, Jack Miller, Richard Erickson, Tom Ellicott - For the Journal-ConstitutionWednesday, June 8, 2005
Medical marijuana: Responses to "Ruling: Feds trump states," Page One, June 7
Patients lose their hope
In the decision citing that federal law supersedes state law for the purposes of prosecuting the users of medical marijuana, the Supreme Court has struck a powerful blow for . . . who? what?
The potential defendants in these cases are terminal AIDS and cancer patients who use the drug to curb their nausea enough to be able to eat, gain weight and keep their energy up so that they might fight off for another day the diseases slowly killing them.
While the pharmaceutical companies that hold Washington under their thumbs are producing highly addictive narcotics and reaping tremendous profits, the court has destroyed the small hopes for survival of thousands of patients all over the country.
JOHN EATON MORRIS, Rome

Compassion from Congress unlikely
Who would have thought that the liberals on the Supreme Court would vote against medical marijuana while Sandra Day O'Connor, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice William Rehnquist voted for it?
Was this compassionate conservatism? Actually, they voted on the basis of states' rights, finding the federal government's intrusion into health decisions overreaching. Will the conservative Congress now show compassion and amend the law to allow seriously ill patients the only relief from suffering available to them? Don't count on it.
It is sad that the two appointees by the president who didn't inhale couldn't find the compassion to agree with O'Connor's well-reasoned arguments.
JACK MILLER, Atlanta


Ties prompt Bush to silence science
The Republican-controlled Congress is not about to allow scientists to establish whether compassionate use of marijuana is a good idea ("Set rules on medical marijuana," Editorial, June 7).
If scientists concluded that marijuana has legitimate medical applications, the Bush administration (and Sen. Bill Frist) would have to dismiss it as "junk science," since it would undermine their relationship with a major contributor --- the pharmaceuticals industry.
Can you imagine the anguish at Merck, SmithKline et al. if suffering cancer victims could grow their own palliatives?
HARRIS GREEN, Big Canoe

Friday, June 03, 2005

Beginning

Summer vacation finds me at home watching the French Open. Champion Raphael Nadal is awesome.

Ahead lie trips to Savannah and the Blue Ridge mountains where Darryl and I just spent Memorial Day weekend at the High Hampton Inn, near Cashiers. Tennis on the excellent clay courts and hikes in the forest.

For an overview of everything, see our website:

www.geocities.com/dargossett