Monday, August 29, 2005

Sean Penn in Iran and Gwen in Big Sur

Having been dis-invited by the Republicans in the desert, who found my Reports 'inflamatory', spelled with one 'm' but I did not correct them, I decided to go to moist country(Big Sur) to re-connect with my Inner Hippie. That part of the adventure was launched at the 60th birthday celebration for the writer/teacher/spiritual maven Jack Kornfield, whom some of you have encountered in these posting over the years as my 'Jewru,' Don's name for him, and quite accurate as well as witty, which Don usually was. There were three hundred people at Spirit Rock, the meditation retreat Jack helped to found, this time its redwooded simplicity bedecked with colorful banners to enliven the occasion, where Joan Baez in an orange turban sang (and danced quite well in her downtime) along with many happy young people who had all the moves and were friends of Jack's daughter Caroline, celebrating her 21st birthday. All personally signififcant to me because Caroline was newly born when Don was newly dying, and everything I was going through as Don was leaving, Jack was experiencing with Caroline's coming in,, so for some sadly uplifted moments then I saw where the two processes were close, and quite alike,so made me believe that life and death were, indeed, part of the the same. That faith of course has been shaken mightily from time to time but right then it helped keep me sane, at least as sane as I was.
Also present was Daniel Ellsberg, the hero who brought us the Pentagon Papers, at risk to his own safety and sanity which the NIxon crowd tried to dis-establish by breaking into his psychiatrist's office in hopes of finding something they could blackmail him with. We have some common ground there. First Amendment-wise,so there was much exchanging of information about our freedoms, and he gave me websites to check about what is going down now, and also some chilling if accurate information about reporters signing up as CIA confidential keepers which adds more shadows to the whole Judith Miller thing-- that woman as heroine having faded further and further into the shadows where lurks Robert Novak. Anyway it was both spiritual and political and would have been a whole lot less hazy if we could have been drunk but all that was served was flavored Crystal Geyser. Joan Baez was leaving the next day for Crawford, Texas,where we all hope Cindy Sheehan's stand is as valid as it seemed, in spite of disturbing quotes attributed to her saying her son had been murdered fighting for Israel. Some self-proclaimed Lefties at the party, probably from Berkeley, said they had friends who agreed with that, so I didn't listen to them since they had gray teeth.
Now I began my journey down route 1, towards Pacific Grove, and an old friend from college who doesn';t do contraversy, so it all stayed quite pleasant. Pacific Grove is on the Monterey Peninsula, my kind of tip, as on the corner stood three anti-war protestors, one of them in his hundreds most likely, with a hat that said 'Veterans for Peace,' holding a sign that read 'Same old shit-- different asshole.' I had a very pleasant dinner with an upperclassman(woman) who had been fragilely beautous in her youth, but had sounded quite aged when I spoke to her on the phone, and had a hard time directing me to her house so I was afraid she had Altzheimer's. Her thinking has, admittedly, grown slow as far as understanding what streets went where, but her spirit was still lovely as were her eyes, and as she told me how her husband, a painter, had stolen her from her first husband, another painter who was going blind, and how they (she and the next husband) had had a menage a quatre with a model and her husband, I could see how good stories lurked even when you got past the beautous point of acting them out in the present as played by Kate Winslet. Then I spent the night in a thin-walled Victorian house where I had to keep Mimi from barking as she had already been busted in one place that didn't accept dogs, and by morning she was quite riled with me, till we walked down to the glorious cove that is at the end of that street, by the Aquarium, and she ran in the sand like the madwoman she probably is at some level, circle circle circle, and it was all quite spunky and joyous. Then a big truck came and emptied out the porta-potties that side that part of the beach, and the full horror of it struck me: there are actually men whose job it is to empty those things. We must none of us complain again ever about what it is we have to do in this struggle to maintain.
On my way there I had swooped down to Half Moon Bay where I used to go on sad Sunday mornings after Don died when I still hoped to find another love. There was a brunch place once where they played jazz and I used to have Eggs Benedict with Happy, my Yorkie, and hope in my pocket, but it's gone now,(the place, Happy is, too, and most of the time hope is) or if(the place) is still there I couldn't find it. So on to Big Sur, where I had several times been happy(not the dog, the feeling), the best of them with Jamie, where we'd sat by the river of the River Inn and let the water cool the rocks and our eyes. I stayed there this time till they found out I had Mimi with me and they'd been overbooked anyway, and were cheats in the bargain, trying to charge me thrice, as Tommy Thompson would have writ, being a bit lofty. But the best part of that stay was my first day with The New York Times and the San Francisco chronicle on the same table at breakfast. We will 'FINISH THE TASK' said the headline in the Times, quoting George Bush's new rewrite of 'Stay the Course.' "Gay Couples to keep Parental Rights,' said the Chronicle. Ah, yes, we are two coasts indeed.
Meanwhile, Sean Penn has written a five day series on being in Iran for the Chronicle, and to my surprise, it's pretty good. I figure I should do the same on being in Big Sur, but of course I can't connect here easily so the information will have to come in piecemeal. I would like to say peacemeal, but what are we going to do? The Chronicle has a cartoonist/humorist , Don Asmussen, with a strip called BAD Reporter, "the Lies Behind the Truth, and the TRUTH behind those LIES that are behind that TRUTH." The first square-- whatever they call these things in cartoons, I wish I could get Jules Feiffer on the phone to give me the word--, says 'BUSH'S 'WAR ON BRUSH' HAS MADE TEXAS A DESTINATION FOR WORLD'S ANGRY SHRUBBERY. Below it, 'For every bit of Brush Bush Clears, Twice as Much Replaces it' says Frightened Local. Then: V.P> Dick Cheney warns: 'Leaving now would make the brush think America is weak.'
Really funny. The last cut: Is Bush's vacation winnable? going on to say where all presidents have been vacationing(Truman, etc.) when wars ended.
I am glad I am here. The desert is no place for a Quaker/Buddhist/Jew, as God tried to show us-- at least a third of us-- the first time.
Ellsberg's suggested website: Particularly Chris Deliso's interview with Sibel Edmonds. He also said to check the current Vanity Fair piece on Sibel Edmonds by David Rose. All shame to us who read no further than how Jennifer Aniston is feeling and coping.
Being in a motel in Big Sur with nothing but my own thoughts, some pomes I'm writing and the silence of Jack as an option, I Elmer Gantryed and turned to the Bible, and wondered how it is that our Prez, as conversant and committed to the Good Book as he claims to be, doesn't take heed to some of the Proverbs, like 'Pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall.', and 'The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water:therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.' And then they wrote 'He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.' Whoops.
Let us pray. Or let us be irreverent, which the Good Lord must have intended or He would have made us all Texans.

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