Friday, April 26, 2013


ON PUBLISHING: You write something, it makes the rounds, rejections are part of it. - I have mixed feelings about the process, but it's what there is. The danger is thinking that you have to write to be published rather than insist on being authentic - and I fall into that trap and then remind myself that in what I write I have to be true to the story as I see it and my sense of the craft, and if it never gets published, well so be it. I'll self-publish it.
I worked on it to be a good story.
Even what I’ve written that was accepted for publication ... I wonder who read it.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


More from assassinated Anna Politkovskaya’s dispatches from Chechnya in “Is Journalism Worth Dying For”  --
Focusing on Vladimir Putin and the Russian hierarchy regarding what she calls the “horror in Chechnya” and in border lands that Chechens faced:

From a diispatch dated Feb 16, 2003
“The co-called Renovation Board ... is chronically incapable of paying [laborers] for their work, but takes the ideological approach: ‘Build a settlement! Just do it! Putin has spoken!’
‘What work is that?’ I ask Supian Sambayev, who introduces himself as the site foreman. He and I walk over an area strewn with wooden structures and a defunct lattice of rusting pipes which is a battlefield for the image of the President as Architect for Peace in Chechnya.
‘For the houses,’ the foreman insists...
‘But what houses?’
Supian looks away ...”

From another dispatch, again focusing on Putin and the hierarchy -- dated July 5, 2005:

“First the profiles of the candidates for the War Prize, awarded for unleashing and fomenting the Chechen tragedy of 1994-2005. It has been founded by “Chechenskoye Obshchestvo,” unquestionably the best newspaper today published in Chechnya and Ingushetia, and the one most dynamically increasing its circulation ... The question, ‘Who bears the guilt for all this horror?’ is one the people ask themselves ...
But of course, who else could winners be if not Yeltsin and Dudavev? And who could be awarded the second prize, if not Yeltsin’s worthy successor, Putin; that No. 1 ideologist of blood-letting ...”

Friday, April 19, 2013


Regarding the Chechnya connection for the two men associated with the Boston marathon deadly explosions, the assassinated journalist Anna Politkovskaya wrote dispatches from Chechnya that illuminate the fierce breakaway and resistance situation vis-a-vis Russia and of atrocities by Russian federal troops -- in her posthumously assembled book ironically titled “Is Journalism Worth Dying For? Final Dispatches”
Politkovskaya wrote graphically of the atrocities executed during the so-called Second Chechen War begun in 1999, one of the exposés that are said to have led to her assassination in Moscow. She also wrote “Putin’s Russia.”
She observed in the text:

“I hate battle-pieces. In paintings, as in life, detail is what matters most. It is the detail which gives the measure of our humanity. How we react to the tragedy of one small person reflects our attitude towards a whole nationality, and increasing the numbers doesn’t change things much.”
Her details of the brutality of the incursion by Russian troops are graphic and unadulterated as I re-read them. They describe another episode in the long story of the terrible inhumanity of humans that continues to beget more inhumanity.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I love Baudrillard’s notion of “map.” Empire or theology crumbles, map remains. I imagine nostalgia, denial. 
Other side: Imagine a war map (precession of the simulacra), you end up with Iraq, Afghanistan.
Jean Braudrillard’s main notion here is “simulacra” -- Signs and symbols construct a perceived reality that ever changes or signifies only itself, cultural constructs become the reality, the reality itself disappears.
-First stage: The faithful copy -- it’s believed to show the real - “The Sacramental Order”
-Second stage: Hmm ... maybe not a faithful copy? Use it anyway. Hints the existence of obscured reality - “Order of Maleficence”
-Third stage: Masks the absence of reality, pretends to be faithful copy - “Order of Sorcery.”
-Fourth stage: Pure simulation/simulacra -- has no relationship to reality. Signs reflect other signs, they don’t have to reflect reality, the signs are accepted as reality - consumers lives, for example, are mainly artificial - “Order of Total Equivalency.”
Thanks to Wiki for refreshing this.
I think I’ve got it right.

Monday, April 15, 2013


A group called The Seekers meets each Sunday aware of biblical contradictions and myths yet seeking meaning for faith by exploring those contradictions. They (we) also challenge the agist stereotypes. Among are two retired Hamilton County TN officials, a former professor, three who have Ph.D.s, and other smart active retirees. All have inquisitive and dynamic sensibilities, are technologically capable and have strong social-justice conscientiousness.
The intriguing question for me involves what brings us together in the basement of a small Chattanooga United Methodist church. The persistence of one woman might offer an answer, and except for me, I’m not indicating who any of us are. Social-conscientiousness might be another. So might the Big Question, what is the divine, how is it manifest, why does the sense of it persist, and what does one do with that? Another is the question of what the church is supposed to be. And finally, why us, at this time, this place? That last question is the most intriguing to me.
(So I’m up at this early hour pondering the meaning of that, thus the purpose and intention.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I don’t try to give an identity to the spirit of life anymore. It seems beyond my senses and sensibility. Even though science seems to measure aspects of the universe’s creativity so acutely, it all falls still within the brain’s limits of perception and conceptualization. The religious wars are so insane. 
Yet something moves within. It remains a question, a mystery to explore and revere.

Thursday, April 04, 2013


I’ve been ranting about nutrition and health lately, right? [I've noticed]
And I’ve got a Ph.D. in philosophy in work that basically centers on social justice, true? [Indeed, Dr. Rehberg]
And there’s a relationship between nutrition and responsible public health ethics, wouldn’t you say? [I'd better say yes]
And also with the ethics of the medical community? [Should be, certainly]
And with disease. Including cancer.[Now you've made it a personal issue, too]
And I did teach of couple of medical ethics courses, plus have some background in health and wellness education. [It's on your transcripts, wherever they are]
So therefore I should explore the ethical dimensions in this area more thoroughly and maybe even write within this realm from a social justice point of view.  [That would be the Socratic way to put it. I noticed you've spent a lot of time lately looking into this.]
Hmmm ... [Hmmm ...]