Monday, April 24, 2006

Spaceship Earth

That's my friend Nathan.

Like everyone, I suppose, I do my life the best I can. Probably most of the time there's the sneaking suspicion that "my best ain't good enough." One of the truly wonderful things about the Internet is being exposed, heck, engaging in conversations, with really smart and accomplished people. It gets a little tiresome comparing myself and coming up always short. I'll probably still put myself in comparison anyway, but what's the good in that? I do take pleasure in discovering wonderfully gifted people and in supposing that I have gifts to offer too.

Kevin and Pingting so far are the only ones who've stepped up to donate five bucks for a Party Hat for Potash. The word isn't spreading as far and as fast as I'd hoped. I've made a little trifold brochure about Party Hats for Potash. Even if you're not ready to get a hat for yourself, if you're willing to pass around a brochure for the hats, please email me and I'll send you some trifold brochures so others can find out about them.

Via Susan Mernit's Blog her "Quote of the Day" a while back was from David Winer and link to one of Dave Winer's great posts The Internet as "idea processor"
The value of writing publicly on the Internet is that you can solve problems quickly, by using a network of people who pool what they know to create something larger. When the Internet works this is why it works.
Nathan works really hard to find ways to improve life in his community. He writes me with lots of ideas and issues to think about. Sometimes I feel so inadequate, well because I am, facing all the ideas.

My friend Micheal in Kampala is ill. It's a couple of things: a) malaria, and b) complications of an intestinal blockage. He needs medical care and that takes money.

I want to encourage people like me to develop contacts with real people in the developing world. It's important to have a big-picture view of the challenges we all face in the world today. The problem with such a big-picture view is that problems are so huge and we're all so little, we imagine there's nothing we can do. Robert Rodale had a good insight in his plan for famine prevention that people should "Save Three Lives". We'll care so much more to solve the problems facing us when we know what real people are facing. Together we can find real solutions.

Of course when I suggest to friends that they, for example, develop a correspondence with a student in a far away land, some varient of "I've got enough problems!" is a typical response. Micheal's illness weighs on me, so I know what they mean. When Nathan's brother John was diagnosed with a brain tumor I felt so helpless too. Just because saving the world seems to huge doesn't mean that saving three lives is easy. Oh and I sound like a grandee with this business of saving three lives. The fact of the matter is living is a struggle for all of us everywhere. It's a good thing not to feel too comfortable forgetting how connected all of us are to one another; the life we save maybe our own.

Creating networks to solve problems is a very exciting possiblity that the Internet opens up. I think I've just given myself a pep-talk to put some work into the projects Nathan has sent me to work on recently.

Please email me if you're willing to pass around a few brochures for Party Hats for Potash. The hats are silly, of course they're party hats, but I feel sure people will enjoy wearing one. We're on this spaceship Earth together, so we might as well find ways to have fun together while we're around for the ride.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Night Commuter Girls

Night Commuter Girls
Originally uploaded by Life in Africa.

Earth Day, Hooray!

I haven't made a blog post in a while. I feel rather safe in not positng figuring that nobody will notice anyway. So I was pleased to open my email and see one from Potash noting my lack of posts and asking, "Are you okay?" It's nice to know my absence has been noted.

It really is better for me to get into a rythmn of regular posting, at least that way I have more focused ideas for posts. A long time with no posts has me grappling with 101 and one things I've thought to write about; even in the best of circumstances as some have noticed editing isn't my forte.

The winners of the 2006 Kaybees, The Kenyan Blog Awards have been announced. Congratulations to all the winners.

I need to update my blogroll include the winners and nominees. It scares me a little even to open the Blogger Dashboard to post and I really pause when it come to tinkering with the template. So it's a good idea to click on the Kaybee's link above to discover some really great blogs. Don't neglect the links to the nominees either.

Keguro always makes me think and in congratulating the Kaybee winners expresses a sentiment posed as a question:
[W]hat relationship does African and, more specifically, Kenyan blogging have with Euro-American blogging?
Keguro links to this post at blac (k) academic where nubian asks soul searching questions about why she blogs. I recommend reading the comments. One reason for reading the comments is to be reminded that this medium of blogs isn't one-way communication. blac (k) academic gets ten times the traffic as I do and lots of comments too.

People the world over have so much to say. A while back during a contintious conversation in a forum which Keguro participated. I wrote Keguro an email in re the debate and he kindly responded, telling me "I come from a contentious culture" and that disagreement isn't disrespect rather in fact the opposite.

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that when I first started out I used a photo of myself wearing an Afro wig in my profile. Imagining that it's easy to see I come to Keguro's question about relationships in the blogosphere ass-backwards--a backwards ass?

The relationship of African blogging with Euro-American blogging in many instances may not be well-developed,and sometimes contentious. Nevertheless blogging is a many-to-many medium, so the the relationship isn't a static affair. My hope is that Americans in particular, because it seems to me we are particularly insular, engage in the conversations with people around the world.

Today is Earth Day. I located a nice photograph of our lovely blue planet Earth for the occasion. In the process I opened Flickr and saw the photo from Life in Africa's photostream. As my eyes glanced over the photo, the three girls in the righthand corner of the picture captured my attention. And when I gazed at the third girl my eyes welled with tears. They have smiles on their faces but tears come to my face.

I do feel very sorry about the circumstances that create such hardship for these children and so many more. When I worked as a waiter there was a Brazilian studying for a test on American history for qualification for US citizenship. He was recalling facts about the American Civil War. He voiced cracked discussing it saying, "Oh the humanity!" Look at those children in the photograph, their faces are the faces of children everywhere. Who cannot feel more alive in the presence of children? We are reminded of the people they are and can become, and so we're reminded who people we really are as well. Oh, the humanity!

Last week PBS Nova showed a film Dimming the Sun:
New evidence that air pollution has masked the full impact of global warming suggests the world may soon face a heightened climate crisis.
It's a sobering film which I recommend watching for when it's shown again. The Web pages are worth a look as well. In particular the Producer's Story. Filmmaker David Sington remarks how these Nova films are frequently joint ventures between a U.S. and U.K. broadcasters, so it's common that two slightly different films are made for the respective audiences. But in this case the British public is far more convinced about the reality of global climate change than is the American public, so accounting for the American skepticism presented a challenge. Sington makes this observation about American views:
It is my observation that on the whole people tend to believe what is convenient to them. Faced with a choice between an awkward fact and a comforting fiction, most people will take the fiction any day. And global warming is certainly inconvenient. Just when we have finally freed ourselves from the tedium of tilling the earth and gotten nice and comfortable with a big TV, central heating, cheap flights to exotic destinations, and an armor-plated all-terrain vehicle for nipping down to the mall, along come some bloody scientists to tell us that we can't go on as we are and as we like doing.
What blunderheads! Opps, that includes me, and I know it. Global warming is not a national issue rather a global issue. Thinking in terms of narrow national interest in this regard is confounds meaningful action.

Faced with a reality of such consquence as global climate change, imagining winners and loosers is folly. Humanity is on the same spaceship Earth. What we do affects all the rest of us. The quality of relationships between people all over has never before been as important as now.

Recently out-grrl did a diary at The Daily Kos about visiting Haiti. She wrote:
I still believe - I have always believed that if everyone would do one small thing, we could make a huge impact in the world. Seeing people in that situation made me realize that perhaps we need to do a bit more than a little. A lot of neglect made that place and it is going to take a lot of work to make it even human.
She's right about the magnitude of the challenge, and her perscription seems right: we all need to do. It seems people are most motivated when we have real connections with others. Blogs give voice to people all over and people all over can hear and create dialogs.

Nicholas Kristof won the Pulitzer for Commentary this year. Seeing him interviewed it's been interesting to hear his views on advocacy, even claiming he's not a very opinionated person. But Darfur is something where opinions matter to him; surely people would care if they knew. He tells a story:
The image that has remained with me from that trip is the scene of refugees camped along the border, seeking shelter under trees. Under the first tree I approached were two orphans whose parents had been killed—a cute little girl about four years old sitting with her baby brother in her arms. Under the second tree were two brothers. Both had been shot, but the one with less severe injuries carried his sibling on his back for 49 days in search of safety. Under the third tree was a widow whose husband and parents had been shot and her parents’ bodies thrown into the village well to poison it. Under the fourth tree was a woman whose husband and children were killed in front of her, she and her sister were raped, and her sister killed; this woman survived but was mutilated. These were just the first four of many trees, and underneath all of them were more refugees with horrific stories.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune also won a Pulitzer. I saw one photographer with the paper interviewed on TV--sorry I don't have the link or his name--who told about venturing out on a boat with his camera. He saw a man walking shirtless on a bridge above him and pointed the camera to take the shot. The man threw is hands up as if to ask: "You're going to take my picture and do nothing to help me?" The reporter resolved that he would not report if he couldn't help people too.

From this post at Yebo Gogo I learned that Fontaine is a reporter. His post wrestles with the propriety of reporters helping those caught up in the events they are reporting. It's not such an easy issue. Part of the reticence Kristof felt about writing opinion pieces are exactly the ethical issues reporters negotiate that Fontaine's post raises. What makes matters so complex is there are issues which demand a response; for example under each tree as Kristof tells us.

Filmmaker Sington observes that caught between an "awkward fact and a comforting fiction" we'll choose the fiction any day. In this inter-connected world the accumulation of facts can make us seek out fictions to hold our worldviews together. What are the journalistic ethics of purveying such comfortable fictions, for example George Will on global warming? The world obviously needs reporters who give us the facts. The reporter moved to action by facts seems less a danger than journalists moved to create fictions in the face of facts.

We depend on our Earth as a child depends on her mother. To care about one another seems the only way to care for the Earth. The photograph of those Ugandan girls, night commuters, seemed a good picture to celebrate Earth Day. Let us act for the children today and for tomorrow's children too. We are, as the Abrahamic traditions teach, made of earth oursleves.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ordinary People

We've got a little cat we're very fond of. One blustery November evening I hadn't secured the cellar door and I found her, still a kitten mewing in the furnace room the next morning. Farm fields surround our house and stray cats occasionally try to make a home here; mostly I've taken them to the animal shelter. This time I did not because our sage cat, Sam, was getting quite decrepit. We nammed her Alex on the suggestion of my littlest niece whose best friend is Alexa but everyone calls Alex.

Tonight on the PBS Newshour Paul Rusesabagina was interviewed. The picture is Rusesabagina flanked by members of Pitt's African Student Organization. It and was taken by Peter Otika Okema when Mr. Rusensabagina spoke at Soldiers and Sailors this past autumn. He was the real-life hotel manager portrayed by Don Cheadle in the movie Hotel Rwanda. I didn't got to hear him speak when he was in town and I'm sorry now because I enjoyed him in this interview so much.

Paul Rusesabagina has written a new book, An Ordinary Man. Faced with catastrophe he stayed the same hotel manager throughout.

I've worked briefly as a waiter and know some good waiters. Recently there was an essay in the paper by Mike Rose who has written a book called: The Mind At Work: Valuing the Intelligence of The American Worker. In the essay Rose talked about sitting in the back booth watching his mother work as a waiter in a dinner when he was a kid, and how he discovered how much intelligence the work requires.

Rusesabangina's actions saved thousands from slaughter. He talked about sitting in the evening with soldiers with flecks of blood on their uniforms, but the talk was ordinary. He was asked how he persuaded them not to kill the people at the hotel. And he answered "everyone has a soft spot."

Our cat Alex is awfully good at finding soft spots. I'm sure there are many who don't like cats, but the Friday blog tradition of cat blogging and all those cute pictures of kittens on the Internet make a good case for the premise of people's soft spot. I'm not claiming the cat is particularly intelligent, not really knowing what goes on in a cat's brain. But I do think for a person to find that soft spot take quite a lot of intelligence very much like Mike Rose suggests in his book. Managing a hotel is a complicated enterprise; and managing a luxury hotel that added talent for appealing to people's soft spot. Calling his book about the Rwandan genocide An Ordinary Man humanizes the tragedy rather than making himself the hero.

With a book to sell what Paul Rusesabagina wanted most to talk about was Darfur and ending the genocide there. His calm presentation, factual and pragmatic was extraordinarly convincing. He calls on us to be decent and ordinary.

Sifu Tweety at The Poor Man Institute for Freedom and Democracy and a Pony writes regarding Sy Hersh's recent The New Yorker article, Hersh was wrong! taking the position that the idea of dropping nuclear bombs on Iran merely serves to frame the debate: Don't nuke Iran! instead of No war on Iran! Billimon at The Wiskey Bar penned a piece Mutually Assured Dementia. He writes:
Maybe it's just me, but I've been at least a little bit surprised by the relatively muted reaction to the news that the Cheney Administration and its Pentagon underlings are racing to put the finishing touches on plans for attacking Iran – plans which may include the first wartime use of nuclear weapons since Nagasaki.
Read the piece if you haven't already. What's striking is how ordinary we seem to take this talk of preemtive war nowadays. It's rather like the conversations Paul Rusesabagina was talking about with soldiers in the hotel bar in the midst of the slaughter.

I like Harper's but they're slow to put their content up on the Web. April's editon is good with an article by Curtis White, The Spirit of Disobedience: An invitation to resitance. White quotes Simone Weil:
Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as a necessity, or even a duty.
Evil, such as contemplating preemption using nuclear bombs seems ordinary. Such much so that Sifu Tweety, who is appalled by the idea thinks it blunts our perception of the folly in dropping bombs on Iran at all. There is also a feeling of resignation, which I sadly admit to succumbing, that there isn't much to do in stopping this bunch.

White's piece discusses Thoreau's Civil Disobedience. White responds to our reluctance to take to the streets and remarks that part of it is "we remember the little Lenins and their big ideas." So what are we to do? White replies to the question:
Thoreau's suggestion should still be ours: a return to the fundamentals of being human.
White has been quite critical of interviews like the PBS one of Rusesabagina in his book The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don't Think for Themselves and elsewhere. But he might well appreciate that Rusesabagina when he speaks of being ordinary means something very much like the fundamentals of being a human being. That we have become inured to the sufferring of others under the false pretense of "self-interest." Curtis White has more to say about that here. Paul Rusesabagina is perceptive to see that our soft spot is the entryway to or ordinary humanity.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Party Hat Photo Group

Originally uploaded by Kaunda.

Microcosmanaut and flickr

Kevin at Microcosmonaut was the first to send a check for the Party Hats for Potash effort. He was also kind enough to send me a CD with cool pictures of him and his hat. I made a group at flickr wich can be found at http://flickr/groups/potash/ here. You can add your photos directly or email them to me.

I'm so disorganized, but I think organization is a good thing. In today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette below the fold on the front page was, Black Americans quiet on Darfur crisis: Organizers puzzle over getting more involvement. I'm happy to see the Post-Gazette cover African affairs, but this piece stirs up mixed emotions. The angle of the difficulty of involving black Americans in the issue is quite tricky. The really disturbing thing is the general apathy about the situation in Darfur. Nevertheless, race always seems a factor in American life.

When I've talked to friends about Africa it's been pretty common for them to tell me to contact African American organizations. Many black Americans are interested in African affairs, but it's not a given and certainly these are not issues that black people should care about. My experience since meeting Nathan and finding an interest in Africa has deepened my understanding of the multitude strange and complex ways that race is a filter here in the USA.

I respect Peter Otika Okema. I met him when he served as the president of the African Student Organization at Pitt last year. The piece quotes Peter about black American's and Darfur:
Mr. Okema said he would not call it "neglect," but said Darfur involvement gets pushed to the side because black leaders are "preoccupied with trying to put these things right in this country."
I smiled a grim smile because I can imagine how hard it is for him as an African in the US to negotiate the maze of race in America. Peter calls wrongs as he sees them and isn't ready to support something simply because he's black. On the other hand as a black man in America he knows the plate gets pretty full.

I think that it has really confused matters regarding the Sudan that the conflict has been framed as Arab against African. That's not a frame that the media has drawn out of thin air, indeed that's how it's discussed in Africa. But the commonly held stereotypes here of both Arab and African muddles rather than clarifies matters. In addition people only vaguely following the conflict may remember the North--South conflict which was framed in terms of religion: broadly Muslim against Christian. So people may not know that the people of Darfur are overwhelmingly Muslim. Sudan Watch is a great blog and resource to find out more.

One of the many reasons that I respect Peter Otika Okema is because he's a good organizer. In my email I got from him the press release about the rally and just sat on it. Last spring he actually got me to attend a Darfur rally on Forbes Avenue. Contrary to the contention that black Americans don't care about Darfur, there were several black Americans there. Praises be for young people who do care and aren't afraid to say so.

Here's the information Peter sent about the Sunday, April 30: Bus Trip - Rally to Stop Genocide in Darfur
Sunday, April 30: Bus Trip - Rally to Stop Genocide in Darfur

Help send an unmistakable message. The Rally to Stop Genocide in Darfur on Sunday, April 30 will bring together political and religious leaders, human rights activists, entertainers, journalists and all who support a multinational force to protect the people of Darfur, targeted in a three year long campaign of violence and extermination.

The Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition (PDEC) will be joining concerned citizens from across the country in a March on Washington to tell our leaders that there can be no further delay in bringing protection and peace to the people of Western Sudan. Pittsburgh is proud of our diverse coalition, which has collected a per capita record number of postcards as part of "A Million Voices for Darfur." Our postcards will be delivered to President Bush prior to the Rally.

Coach buses will be leaving Pittsburgh at 7 am, Sunday, April 30 and will return to Pittsburgh that evening. The cost for this trip is $31 per person.

The $31 fee includes a $1 fee to help cover credit card and mail processing fees. You can also pay by a $31 personal check addressed to "Thomas Merton Center" with "Darfur Rally" on the memo line. Send to Darfur Rally, c/o TMC, 5125 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA. 15224.

Reserve your bus seats on-line at the Thomas Merton Center

For more information visit Pittsburgh Darfur Coalition

If you're anything like me part of the inhibition about protests is the fear of embarssment. The good thing is there will be so many people you won't have to do anything except be come along. What a lovely time of year to see Washington. The people on the bus will be diverse, comopolitan, and generally lovely. It's a great way to learn about this tragedy and to use your voice to sa "NO!" to genocide.

Thich Nhat Hahn reminds us:
If you can take one peaceful step, then peace is possible.
All American have a particular responsibility to find a way to take that first step toward peace.

One step will lead to another. The great rent in the American fabric is the race. Americans engaging in African issues can begin to recover our sense of humanity and union with the human family.

Here is Peter's Africa Project at the Merton Center. And Thich Nhat Hanh's Amazon page may also be of interest.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Potash Is Back!

Here I am wearing a Party Hat for Potash. The picture isn't very good so it's difficult to see how lovely the hat is. Remember every one is different. Kevin Clancy of Microcosmanaut was the first person to actually request a Party Hat for Potash. He seemed pleased with it and it mailed without damage. He reported that the hat exceeded his quality expectations.

The good news is that after a brief interruption of the Potash supply, he's back. I hope he'll find out about the Party Hats for Potash soon enough. I told him in an email, but he's been only able to manage 10 minutes online a couple of times week recently. I didn't ask his permission, but I suspect he'll play along; after party hats are fun.

The weather has been nice and I've been gardening. My hands have little cuts and my fingernails are little nubs from handling rocks and pruning roses. How lovely the spring is. In the autumn I always feel a bit of melancholy and in the spring a bit of stupor which I call spring fever. I mentioned spring fever to a friend and he said, "Oh, like you're horny all the time." Not quite what I had in mind, but now that he mentions it...

I'm just lazy and there's lots on my plate. It always amazes me what bloggers come up with and my list of links from recent gleenings is quite long. There are certain blogs that are always important to me. Digby's posts at Hullabaloo for example. This morning Digby linked to this AFP report: US considers use of nuclear weapons against Iran. The plan is diabolic; I'm utterly opposed! I can't find the words to say how this story affected me today: my mind was scrambled and emotions raw. Here's Digby's piece. Nothing I've read elsewhere about this mitigates it in the least. I pray that many Americans and people of goodwill around the world will speak out loudly in opposition.

Keguro's posts at Gukira are always a wonder. Often I love the sounds of his words so I read the posts over and over. Today he wrote Yet Another Rape Poem which raises many nuanced points about this horrible violence. He concludes:
I want the rape poems to stop. I want the whispers to be unnecessary. I want young women to stop bearing secrets. I want gendered violence to be a thing of the past, a language and logic so removed from this time and place that we will need a rosetta stone.
Read the piece, in fact, grazing through the archive you'll find a rewarding activity. I want to say "Amen" and it is important to say, and especially for men to say, "I want gendered violence to be a thing of the past." Keguro reminds that we must do as well; consider this post On Silence and this one, Ogre Stories Retold for Today.

I like smart people. Being not so smart myself it's sometimes very intimidating encountering smart people. Compensating for my anxiety is that in my experience smart people are often very kind, a quality I rank above smartness any day. Ethan Zuckerman is both smart and kind. This post pleased me so much because of the optimism about Africa. It's notes for a presentation at the Sweet Mother Tour Conference Saturday. I'd be pleased with almost any organization named Sweet Mother, but that recognizes "that no society can develop without an understanding of its own worth" puts in firmly in the the "create something good" mode.

I love Timbucktu Chronicles and both posts for today were close to my heart: first on gardening and second about Practical Small Projects. The second was of particular interest because my friend Duane alerted me to it several months ago along with the adventures of his friend Kristin Johnson. Duane blogs occasionally at his MSN Spaces Motoko Room, but if you know Duane or love the music of Muddy Waters read this post at his Friendster blog. He called me up--collect as I remember--to tell me the story soon after it happened. It was great to hear him tell it again.

Smart bloggers, I could go on too long, but there's a pun in mind so just one more. Christian Long is smart, very kind, and extraordinarily energetic. He blogs professionally for DesignShare and that blog is worth visiting to discover how school design really matters to you. He also writes the wonderful think:lab because education matters.

This post today, Live From Monrovia in the Post-Charles Taylor Years, lifted my spirits after the shock of discovering the administrations planning a massive nuclear attack against Iran. An old friend of Christian's, Byron Johnson, among other creative pursuits is a professor of art at the University of Liberia. Johnson was involved in creating a mural on the side of an army barracks notorious for the torture committed there. Take a look at the pictures, art can be a way to remember and to ascend from insanity and chaos.

War memorials fascinate me. In a town nearby is a lovely park and memorial to the Spanish American War. In the North Side of Pittsburgh is one too with a portion of the exploded boiler of the Maine. Word association to the Spanish American War produces: "Bully!" How easily I forget the sadness of the small park in New Brighton. Who remembers the Philippine American War? The bloody awful adventure which dragged on for fifteen years and is the real reason for so many memorials to the Spanish American War; lest we forget.

How will we remember our invasion and occupation of Iraq in the future? Will there even be a future with madmen under my flag brandishing nuclear bombs against another country which has not attacted us; an illegal war of aggression under the doctrine of First Strike? I'm ashamed, angry and very afraid.

Soon I will visit the memorial in New Brighton. George Santayana wrote: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." And George Bernard Shaw wrote: "We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." I don't know, is it too much to imagine a world without war? Perhaps, but surely we can know that war is a horror and therefore want an end to war.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spring Hats

The Post-Gazette doesn't seem to put their monthly society pages magazine Seen online. But April features "Men in Hats." The premise is kind of silly really, they put expensive women's hats on some of Pittsburgh's alpha males, including the mayor. Liking hats as I do my reaction to the photographs was to wonder how come men don't wear hats like these. Perhaps the price range of $298 to the $728 number on the mayor's head is one reason I don't see many women in these sorts of hats either. The Sunday fashion article on Easter Hats points out that most of one designer's hats are in the $200-range; no wonder--still.

I've been making hats. Somehow the visions in my head are harder to translate into reality. I need to buy a bunch of chicken feathers to decorate them more. Pompoms are a nice touch, although I've only gotten around to adding them to a few of the hats. PingTing says he wants a turban. I tried. He also suggested photographing the collection and made the good suggestion of hats for tots. How big is a kid's head? Really, I don't know and don't have a kid handy; so the information would be appreciated. I make my adult hats approximately 24 inches in diameter. I cut the blanks 25 inches to allow for an inch overlap. Kevin at microcosmonaut is actually going to send in $5 for a hat and I'm so pleased. I can't wait to see some photos of people wearing Party Hats for Potash.

PingTing's April 4th post is a series of photographs of an altar he made to remember his Aunt Mary Jane. Blogs serve many purposes, they can be about many things. Something I love very much whatever the topic is how often the human stories come through in blogs. Thoughts of consolation are with you PingTing and all of your family.

His April 3rd post is a series of photographs of a rainbow taken near his house. I haven't seen a rainbow yet this year, but sings of spring are all around. There are daffodils all around. When we first moved here there was an area that was a tangle of bramble and very difficult to clean up because old fencing and a heavy wire for a grape trellis were involved. So I was so amazed to see the area full of daffodils in the spring. Over the years I've dug those bulbs and spread them around, so there are daffodils all over. It was warm and then it rained hail. Such is spring.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the tragedy around. Tonight's PBS FRONTLINE was The Meth Epidemic. I feel so for people caught in a web of addiction. My heart ached when the film pointed out the effects on children living with addicted parents. I never wanted children of my own, all too much responsibility for me. But I love children and to know how many suffer sometimes makes me almost catatonic.

Here's a piece posted today at Human Rights Watch News, D.R. Congo: Election Poses Dangers for Street Children. Mukhtar Ainashe has been regularly posting at FOOD CRISIS IN SOMALIA. I can barely bring myself to open his blog, but this recent post, Ten Million Face Threat of Starvation in Somalia made me go there. It's not right to always look away. There was this item at the Uganda Conflict Action site today, At least 66,000 Youth Abducted in Northern Uganda. Oh and then of course I read blogs about politics in the good old USA. Sometimes it Make me wanna holler.

Spring and all things seem possible. I look at the work to be done around here and can remember how much optimism I used to feel about how much I'd get done. Now I know I'll get some things done;-) It's not original to me, nevertheless the idea that what we can do in the face of evil is to "Create Something Good" is much like the promise of spring. We can create something good.

Paper hats, yes the world need more paper party hats. We need more parties. We must try to make others happy. A big reason I love children is because it seems easy to make them happy. Oh, I know you parents out there will beg to differ. But children can be delighted and what's more exhilarating feeling is there to be there when they are. Somebody figured out that the world needs $728 Easter Bonnets. I can't argue because the mayor sure looks good in it. Still a paper party hat will bring you some joy just as well. It doesn't have to be a party hat I make. As I'm discovering more veryday there are many ways to make a paper hat. I hope you'll try your hand at it too. But should you be wanting a Party Hat for Potash, contact me, I've got lots.