Sunday, September 30, 2012

"America" by Alicia Ostriker


Do you remember our earnestness our sincerity
In first grade when we learned to sing America

The Beautiful along with The Star Spangled Banner
And say the Pledge of Allegiance to America

We put our hands over our first-grade hearts
We felt proud to be part of America

I said One Nation Invisible until corrected
Maybe I was right about America

School days school days dear old Golden Rule days
When we learned how to behave in America

what to wear how to smoke how to despise our parents
Who didn't understand America

Only later discovering this land is two lands
One triumphant bully one hopeful America

Sometimes I still put my hand tenderly on my heart
Somehow or the other still carried away by Amercia

-Alicia Ostriker  The Atlantic

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Tacoma crime report in 100 words....

Tacoma News Tribune crime reporter Adam Lynn won the nationwide contest to write a crime beat piece in fewer than 100 words. Last night I gave it a try.

I was shocked to find out the father of my children is also the father of six other children.

My mamma always told me to get on a train and then a bus and perhaps even a ferry to get out of Tacoma. We were at the park when he sprayed us with bullets at the reportedly safe new park in east Tacoma.

His final words? "I hate all of you and the office of child support enforcement!"

I am the only survivor. My name is offspring six. I ain't ever been nowheres but Tacoma. -AW

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cesar Chavez.

Civil rights activst Cesar Chavez.
 An inspiring hero. -AW

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My father's song lyrics without the tune are still pretty funny!

A rich girl she wears that fancy perfume,
A poor girl she does the same.
My girl she wears no perfume at all,
But you can smell her just the same.

A rich girl she lives in a fancy hotel,
A poor girl she does the same.
My girl she lives in the county jail,
But it's a brick house just the same.

A rich girl she drives a fancy new car,
A poor girl she does the same.
My girl she drives no car at all,
But she gets there just the same.

(I am certain I have the verses out of order) -AW

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Things That do Make Sense

Are you kidding?

Nothing makes sense. Nothing at all. I can't believe anyone even starting reading this "blog."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nothing Really Makes Sense

1. The news

2. A cat

3. Children

4. Adults

5. Doctors

6. Public officials

7. ESPECIALLY lawyers

8. Artists

9. Writers

10. Tumbleweeds

Saturday, April 21, 2012

If you sign about 500 legal waivers, you too can shoot an arrow.

Image: Jennifer Lawrence in 'The Hunger Games' (© Murray Close/Lions Gate)
At Wasson High School in Colorado, we had archery class.
One attorney for every 250 citizens in The United States of America.

What a useful group they are. Unemployed, under employed, over employed and just basically out of line. With the exception of those defending the innocent, like the ones who have made minor mistakes and our overworked prosecutors, the rest of them can just get a real job.

I like about four attorneys in the entire nation. However, I have not met them all. Then again, I must see at least ten a day.

I like our elected prosecutor here in Tacoma, Mark Lindquist. He is one of the good attorneys. Then again, he has other useful skills such as writing things other than legal briefs making him a fish out of water. I think he is fish that does not belong in Tacoma. However, it's mighty nice of him to bring the IQ rate up here in this town. -AW

Friday, April 20, 2012

Camus was Swanky and Sort of Dangerous

Swanky but perhaps a danger?
Dear five regular readers or so, today I write about Camus.

He's the type of man you'd find appealing because of his good looks, the sexy cigarette and again, his good looks. I pose this question though. Could Camus cook? Even if he could cook, did he ever actually cook?

As the writer in The New Yorker article I read about Camus, so many human beings are walking contradictions. Camus was snobbish and swanky in the way men sleep with many women at the same time are. I am certain none of these women knew this nor of the other women he was sleeping with. But wait, it gets worse.

Camus had no common sense. He readily made fun of the daily grind most people have to endure to merely survive. Most of my blogs tie back to me, thus proving I am also just obnoxious. Whatever.

I spent too much time with some professors once. Oh sure, the dancing in the gay bar was fun (in Montana), and the dissecting of the show "Seinfeld" was entertaining, but the one I was dating did not know where the oil cap was in his car engine. The oil light lit up indicating the car needed oil. The oil cap is clearly marked "oil." If read backwards it would be "lio." I was envisioning my future. A future filled with entertainment but probably no food.

I also spent an entire afternoon cleaning the rotten food and mold out of his kitchen. I am not with him. Thank the Lord above or I am certain I would still be in his kitchen disposing of rotting food. -AW

Friday, April 13, 2012

What Boeing Says Versus What They Actually Mean

The slick flier in today’s Seattle Times published by The Boeing Company just gave me so much to think about while eating some Thai food. God bless you Boeing for all of your honesty.

“This month’s complimentary addition of Frontiers explores an important decision at Boeing Commercial airplanes” (Outsourcing!)

“The Dream Begins in China.” (We better cooperate with them because they are winning economically!)

“We are focusing on cyber attacks” (China is hacking into Boeing computers so we are being outsmarted by them by their own high tech workers and their economy.)

“We are in partnership with China” (We have no choice as they are literally beating the crap out of us!)

“We supply necessities to those deployed in Afghanistan.” (We love to keep the military industrial complex going for our profit while just making more and more and more money bombing innocent civilians. Then we partner with military contractors to help whoever is left after we have bombed them. Sorry about your museums, folks.)

“We are a global business.” (Outsourcing!)

“We have multiple sites!” (Outsourcing and don’t count on your job lasting because we are going overseas for our profit!)

“We are concerned about workplace injuries.” (However, we will deny your claim and force you into a state of utter misery and then find you employable but never hire you back.)

“Improvements continue as Boeing looks at what’s next for the jet.” (When we are done bombing the entire planet, we plan to start bombing all over the galaxy!)

“A special section for readers of The Seattle Times produced and paid for by The Boeing Company.” (We don’t provide this for anyone in the south Puget Sound region because they are poor and we don’t care. Please do keep investing in upside down mortgages and hellish sprawling housing developments while we think of ways to outsource your job and leave investors completely broke. We love our CEO paychecks!)

Good luck to all of you! Sorry about that retirement plan. Goodbye! -AW

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A playground on a horrifying crime scene site? What?

Playgrounds are not supposed to be haunted.
Brilliant idea of the day. Let's turn the Susan Cox Powell and the murder of her children into a  horrorific place for a playground. This is how it will turn out.

"Daddy, what does that sign mean?"

"Well, son. It means you are alive and some other kids lived in hell on earth."

"What does that mean, daddy?"

"Basically it means I am suing the county for doing this along with the rest of the constituents for being such assholes."

"Daddy, are you a lawyer?"

"No son. But I play one on TV. Besides that, my lawyer took it on contingency meaning she will get one third of the settlement plus costs. So did every civil attorney in the county."


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Forget "Tacoma Confidential," Paul LaRosa is the hero

Leaving Story Avenue: My Journey From the Projects to the Front Page
Good job Paul LaRosa!
Tacoma's oftentimes very cruel gadfly broke a harrowing story in Tacoma, Washington while responsible reporters held off on the information for the sake of her safety. Then he continued to abuse the victim's privacy by posting even more information about her after her murder such as allegations she had a personality disorder and actually was abusing him.
John Hathaway was not paid for his work. Paul LaRosa has been paid and in fact, wrote his way out of the Bronx housing projects.

The irony in this small town of Tacoma continues.

 I will not waste my time discussing Mr. Hathaway. I applaud Paul LaRosa who demonstrates writing can not only change your life, it can literally get you out of a housing project.

For all those giving hope to others, keep on keeping on. -AW

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why haven't I started taking a Bus?

Saturns have flexible bumpers so if you hit a kid, the kid will likely survive.
My Saturn could be the subject of a film on The Lifetime Channel For Women.

Women, and some men, grab your puffs and read at your own risk.

She was my first new car ever. I never thought I would ever even condsider buying a new car because the minute you do, if you look behind you as you drive off the dealer's lot, dollars bills are literally flying off the car. It's true! It's called "OMG! My car is instantly losing value!" I had always driven Hondas. I had string of Hondas. My first Honda was given to me by my parents. It was also their first new car which they replaced with a Chrysler. My Honda's name was "Betsy." Betsy and I were driving down Pacfic Avenue South one day and a man failed to yield while turning left. I had idea cars could bounce so much when they collide.

We hit so hard it totalled both of our cars. He got the citation, I got an ambulance ride, and I was fine. Betsy was not. She was toast. Along came Honda deux. Aptly named, she was Betsy two. My apologies to the next vehicle, I am so old I cannot remember what happened to her. I do remember Sylvia, the silver hatchback Honda. Sylvia was named after the poet Sylvia Plath which is quite dramatic actually. Plath herself was dramatic and her poetry is dramatic. More startling to me is only one person ever made the connection between her name and the poet. Sylvia suffered the most damage of any car I have ever owned. On September 19, 1991, a drunk driver named Patrick Walsh failed to slow down during a traffic accident which was ahead of us on Highway 101 near the Black Lake exit in Olympia, Washington.

I did slow down and looked in my rearview mirror. I did not see my life flash before my eyes, I saw his 1949 Ford pick-up truck fish tailing and headed right towards me. In short, I knew I was about to get hit and hit hard. One's natural flight or fight system kicks in at a time such as this. I looked to the left, but there was nowhere to go but into other cars. I looked to the right, and well, I had the option of driving off an enbankment. So I just started sreaming. I was screaming and stiff and screaming. Mr. Walsh hit the right rear of my bumper first, which sent me sliding into the left lane. A yellow semi-truck was moving slowly past mehit me and crushed the left side of my vehicle. It happened within seconds.

Afterwards, I tried to get out of the car. A nurse appeared out of nowhere. My driver's side window was open. She said, "Don't get out!" I was frantically trying to get out of the car. "Don't move. You have been hit so hard you need to sit still." I really wanted out of that car. I unfastened my seatbelt and released the emergency break. I could not get out of the driver's side of the car because it was so smashed. People appeared out of nowhere. They were removing chopped wood from the back, roof and hood of my car. One piece of wood had shattered my windshield but oddly, not my head. My tape recording of "The Black Crowes" was still playing. It was their infamous song titled "Jealous." In fact, my car was still running. I released the emergency brake and crawled over to the other side against the advice of the nurse. I was not hysterical, but oddly very calm. I was desperately thirsty. I wandered around the massive pile up asking for water. I got lost in a crowd of people who had piled up all over the highway because of Mr. Walsh.

Another Evergreen State College student walked up to me and threw her arms around me. "Your car hit my car! We are alive! We are all alive!" People were hugging each other in a dasiy chain of love and survival. We really were all alive. I was in genuine shock. I was still desperately seeking water. Amazingly, the EMTs said no due to potential internal organ damage, but I refused to go the ER and no one insisted I go. So I went to a seminar at Evergreen. I walked in and must have looked ghastly. The tow truck driver dropped me off at the campus.

My classmates asked me why I was so pale. "Oh I just got hit by a drunk driver." Some of them said, "What? Why are you here? We are taking you to the hospital!" One quite odd classmate said, "One day you will understand why the energy you put out drew that car to you." I was too out of it to reply. Another classmate said, "Alison is an angel and that is why she survived." I had the biggest crush on him. Never mind that, three classmates took me to the ER. The x-ray technician asked me what I do in my spare time. I replied, "Normally I move my head but I can't seem to do that right now." Meanwhile a friend had seen my car completely crushed and on the side of the freeway. She called my parents. I did not call my parents. For hours they had been desperately trying to find out if I was okay. People didn't have cell phones in 1991. I didn't even think to call them.

My mum is prone to flinging her arms in the air while panicking. We share this trait. However, I was still in so much shock I was still calm. I walked into their then apartment and mum said, "OMG! Lisa called us and it has been hours. We called all the hospitals and could not find you. OMG! Are you okay." I said, "I guess so." The next morning I notice a bruise going down my chest from the seatbelt. I could not move my head. It hurt so much I thought I was going to die. I did not quit graduate school. I kept going. Between physical therapy sessions, I carpooled with three classmates. They were so kind. I definitely had post-trauma. They let me put my head in their laps and cry. I was terrified of freeways. In fact, to this day, I scream in terror on freeways. It's true that at one juncture I decided Mr. Walsh was not going to ruin my life. I forced myself onto the freeway.

But back to serendipity, my Saturn. She has been hit five times when I have not even been in the car. Five times. I must be cursed. No, it is insane to think I am cursed. I was not even in the car when she got hit. I am not insane. Okay, I am insane. Yesterday was the first time in ten years she broke down. Ten years! None of this makes sense. Life does not make sense. If one tries to make sense out of life, well, good luck with that. I mean it. I am still alive. For now. And nothing makes sense. -AW

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr. on Speaking for Social Justice

Martin Luther King Jr. said spiritual solutions were not enough for a Christian. He said social action was necessary as well. It is a shame this nation is filled with people who are too afraid or self-centered to speak out against that which is wrong and needs to be changed. Right now in these times, we need brave people, not cowards hiding in fear.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Harrowing Semester at The University of Nebraska School of Journalism

Please kill me if I ever live in Nebraska again.
If you live in the midwestern part of The United States and this offends you, well I must be doing something right.

In the spring of 1986 I left a pristine campus here in Tacoma, Washington and enrolled as a student at the school of journalism. Where you ask? The University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

I was chasing a boy. I was chasing a boy not worth chasing, and furthermore, women, never ever chase boys. Make them chase you or just get your friggin' act together.

The journalism professor was a nightmare. He chain smoked because this was still legal in classrooms in 1986 and also because he was a freaky nightmare. To scare us, he gave all of us a "F" on the same assignment. I took that "F" and drew lines around it to make it into an "A." He yelled at all of us. He told us if we made the decision to be journalists, we'd all become alcoholics or die. "Think this over carefully," the freaky man said.

One afternoon the sirens indicating a very bad funnel cloud might suck us into the vortex of midwestern hell sounded. Mr. Freak did excuse us at last after quite a delay. I walked across the campus noting that no one was there. It's astounding I did not fling my arms in the air. This was a sure sign I could have been an incredible reporter. To this day I am often brazen in asking cops questions such as, "Is there some particular reason you are arresting a homeless person for no reason?" So far I have not been shot dead, but the day is not over just yet.

Nebraska was disturbing to me. The dorm floor on Sunday resembled the rapture. No one was there and everyone was at church. I befriended every student who was from another country I could find. I am not sure, I might have known at least a dozen people. Mostly I was making frantic phone calls back to The University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA and figuring out a way to get back to the west coast. I am not suggesting UPS is a diverse campus. In fact, it is quite caucasion. The booklets this university sends out to this day are hilarious. Photographers pick the twenty or so minority students and talk about how diverse the school is. I returned to the school because I enjoyed the feeling of my feet sinking into the mud, the rain, the water and the much higher academic standards.

Aside from actually having to produce documents in the journalism class in Lincoln, I did not open a single textbook. Tests were fill in the circles and I passed them all. I passed astronomy without cracking the textbook. Meanwhile back at the University of Puget Sound I had the continued pleasure of being mail stalked by a non-tenured professor. Of course I was too naive to think his carefully drawn sketches of Shakespeare characters amounted to stalking. Oh, they sure did. I graduated in 1988. In 1998, I ran into him at Safeway and told him I had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He said, "Well, sex after fifty is pretty good, Alison." I just stared at him instead of beating him with my cane. Then, as any unemployed reporter would do, I started asking questions. Did other English majors get stalked by him as well? Oh they sure did.

I am not slandering him by using his name because he is dead. He died right in a downtown Tacoma office of heart failure several weeks after I told him I took all those sketches right to the Dean at UPS. Now, these are not related events. He had a heart problem and had been struggling with his health for a long time. His name was, no I am not going to reveal this. I call him "the man who never finished his doctoral thesis" and raged about not getting tenure. Later I found out he hated women so much he would steal things from their purses. I am not sure how any of this relates to the beginning of my blog, I am just suggesting that life is continually strange. It was oddly disappointing I was not his only stalking target. It turns out I am just an ordinary person. Please pass the Kleenex! I am woe now! -AW

Monday, March 12, 2012

Get Your Cold On!

If you like this stuff, well, okay. It's not my problem.
Well, after attending a church service yesterday, I now have a cold going on in my, well, entire body.

If one does not have much interaction with the public, one does not get colds. I also forgot the cardinal rule of going out: do not place your hands near your nose.

I was dancing, peeps. I was dancing to drums and lively upbeat folks who dance in spite of all the bad news they are ignoring. I think this is fine. The news lately...well....I am just not going there.

Hello Kleenex! Hello and soon goodbye to cold! Kudos to vitamin C and water and herbal tea! See ya! -AW

Nationally Known Published Tacoma Poet Addressing Reality

This poem speaks for itself.

Writing, I think, is the strongest way to combat racism. -AW

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Attention to all of all faiths, including new age beliefs

Sleet stings when it's flying sideways!

It seems to me and others that the entire world is going up in flames or snow or today, in Washington State it is sleet.

All religions appear to be on the same page. It's weird or not weird. I am a Christian (oftentimes not a very good one though) and therefore think it is weird. I have no idea if this is the end times and think I should be so lucky to be living in the end times. (emphasis meaning I could not be so lucky as to be living in the end times---because the world has gone crazy before and it was not the end times).

One thing is for certain, these are weird times. Mortgages are upside down, people are getting evicted, hate groups are growing, and the middle east is exploding into war. Yet today I met many who have faith. What they said is similar to anything I have heard from any faith or even New Age group. Stay grounded, watch the news or don't, but if you do watch it in a detached not angry way. Do not let fear rule you and carry on. It is going to be okay.

However, something is going on out there and I certainly cannot explain it. -AW

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My day yesterday was like an episode of "30 Rock"

Tina Fey, the most hysterical comedian we have.


My entire day yesterday was like an episode of your extremely clever show "30 Rock." However, because I am delusional enough to think I might be capable of being as funny as you, I am going to start a Kindle book.

I don't know how to publish on Kindle, but my friend Ron does. If multiple people have been telling me I am hilarious since grade school, it might be true.

I also have a scar on my face. My English mum left me in the sun for maybe five minutes in Colorado when I was but a mere infant. Like many who visit Colorado, learning that the sun is very close to the earth there, lots of people end up in the emergency room. I would suggest reading travel guides online, Kindle or whatever was previoulsy published prior to this increasing age of digital stuff stumping luddites globally.

Some people do not appreciate my sense of humor. One or two people quite too near to me relatively speaking, find me obnoxious. They are lawyers. Being a lawyer is a shame, don't you think? There are enough lawyers in one building in Seattle than all of Japan. I do think this is why Japan is beating the crap out of us economically. We, as a nation, are too dumb to realize lawyers do not generate revenue, they suck it out of us in so many ways.

When I go for a walk I almost have to sign a waiver. It's absurd, Tina. By the way, I like using your name and picture on my blog because it gets a lot of hits. My blog is not important, you are. Lawyers aren't important either, but they sure think they are. Many teachers now have better incomes than lawyers. You'd think they'd get a clue, but they are often not that bright to be honest. -AW

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Birth Control, Choice And The Rights Of Women

You keep trying to deny our hard fought rights as women, and this is what we will do to you, sincerely, us.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

This is an Aura, and You Warped it: part deux

This is a man. This is not my aura.


Physicists have proven there is an energy field around everything from rocks to plants to people.

Now, you and you and you and you, back out of my aura.

Okay, I am mostly just joshin'. I was told many years ago I am responsible for my own aura.

Me no likely being a grown up sometimes. -AW

Monday, February 20, 2012

How I Almost Burned The Dorm Down

Halogen lights cause fires!
What on earth is it about young women and men who break their hearts? If a woman is a mere nineteen, why does she think this is the end of the world? I did. This is not the point of this blog.

It was my first year at the pristine University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. I lived on the third floor of Anderson-Langdon Hall with three roomies. I think I lived with three, it might have been four. There was a lot of room swapping going on so my memory evades me. Get this, though! There were men on the floor too!

With men on the same dorm room floor as the women, it was a challenge. Men play music very loudly. They walk down hallways with towels wrapped around their waists. They watch football games in packs and yell in their loud manly voices. Thank God the bathrooms were separate. Still, it shocked me to see posted in the women's bathroom a sign that read, "If you throw up, clean it up." What? I wanted my mom and I wanted her now! She was several states away. I generously saved my throwing up for her when I returned home after taking some brutal finals.

My mum did not clean up after me, however. I was too old at that point. She told me to clean up after myself. This is still not the point of my blog.

I now return you to the top of the story. A boy broke up with me. My roomie Ruthie grabbed my sobbing sorry ass and hauled me down the hallway to talk. However, I had been studying in my lower bunk while sobbing with a halogen light placed next to the wooden bunkbed. I am guessing those have been replaced with metal by now thanks to a smart admistrator, lawyer, trial lawyer or someone. You know what is coming.

The halogen light started to burn the post which caused the smoke alarm to go off and water to spray. Oh ya, I started a fire in the dorm over a boy whose name I don't even remember. I was now in more trouble than ever. One woman in particular read me the riot act. I mean, I figured she was going to literally toss me out the third floor window and onto the quad below.

"Things are ruined! Look what you have done! You could have killed us!" Absolutely no one died because of me that night. Now I had new problems. The glares, the reputation, the humiliation.

Months later some men were visiting our campus from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. I almost picked this college instead, but I thought Alison Whiteman at Whitman in Walla Walla sounded quite absurd. One introduced himself and said, "and you are....." I replied, "Alison." He said, "Alison who set the fire in the dorm room?" OMG! I was legend to the eastern part of the state! I was never ever going to get anyone to date me again! An arsonist! A freak!

I went to my usual spot on the top floor of the library, a small cubicle where I could study madly for exams at a small liberal arts college. The academic standards then were quite high. Even with a mere 3.2 GPA after my first semester, I was in the top ten percent of the incoming freshman class. I flunked halogen lightbulb common sense though. My light was not only not halogen, but not on. I sure loved learning everything I learned at The University of Puget Sound. I did not hate a single class. Well, okay, maybe philosophy. It was the only class where I literally fell asleep on my desk. The quite dull professor not only rambled on and on and on about things that bored me to tears, he dragged chalk across the board while rambling. I thought I was going to die of boredom. I got a "B" in his class as well. I am just a B. I am not an A. Wait, I am! I am Alison! -AW

Monday, February 13, 2012

Coca Cola, my addiction, and Hitting the Street Pole

She's quite slim for drinking this.
Coca Cola is addictive.

It is also true I once looked just like this model, but now you know I am lying. I have never looked like her, don't want to look like her, and quite frankly, I bet she doesn't even look like her whoever she probably isn't.

This is not the point of this blog. The following is not the point of this blog. Please do keep reading if you would like to do so.

I was addicted to Coca Cola. Without a sponsor, I am finally cleared of this addiction. The reasons for my addiction and those of millions or billions of us on this planet are quite clear.

A website spells the reasons for an addiction to Coca Cola.

During the first 10 minutes after drinking Coca Cola ten teaspoons of sugar hit your brain (100 percent of the daily recommended amount of sugar in your daily diet).

Twenty minutes after you drink a Coca Cola your blood sugar spikes causing an insulin outburst leading to the liver to turn that sugar into fat.

Within that same period of time, phosphoric acids bind calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine boosting your metabolism. It makes you want to pee. If you want to pee constantly, just drink this while you are permanently damaging your brain and other body parts. Coke will ultimately lead you to develop diabetes and after that you might have to have limbs removed and get on the kidney transplant list. It's a damn long list so good luck with that.

After 60 minutes you will have a sugar crash. Irritability and sluggishness set in. Now you have leached away all the water in your body because all that water was in the Coke. Since you just leeched the calcium out your body, your teeth and bones are now weakened.

However, if you have made it this far in my blog, note the event that got me to stop drinking Coke. I was driving on a hot day to get a Coke when I was not sure if I had enough change to purchase one. I looked down just long enough not to notice the "Y" in the road. I hit a post. I looked up, noted I was not injured but did not notice the post was slightly damaged. No one in all the SUVs around me even stopped to ask me if I was okay. I did not have my emergency cell phone with me and it likely would not have mattered.

That said, I drove to the nearest source of Coke and got one while a part of my car was dragging on the pavement. I drove home. I did hear in the parking lot someone utter, "Damn! Look at the chunk of her car dragging on the pavement! What the hell is wrong with her?"

I got home, called my auto insurance company and the agent and I were laughing for some reason. I got the car and pole repaired, my rate did not go up for some reason, and I stopped drinking Coke. This was pure luck. Other people are not so lucky when it comes to an addiction to anything. They just flat out die.

I finally lost some weight I had packed on to my small frame. The very bad part about that was I had given all of smaller clothes away in utter frustration over gaining those ten or so pounds during the five years I had been drinking Cokes.
Hi, my name is Alison and I have no control over my addiction to Coke. One day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time I don't drink Coke. Okay sponsor, I am going to come clean. About three times a year or more I have a Coke. I don't have them daily though. I know this will not earn me a chip, and I don't bloody care. Having a sobriety chip would be one more thing to store in my house. I am extremly clean and constantly haul things I have hauled into the house right out of the house. That's just another personal issue. Whatever.

My sincere apologies to the now repaired pole. AW

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Century Link is a Corporation and a Person

Century Link, taking us back a century
My call to New York City today was a near system failure.

Century Link was once Qwest as is noted on my modem. It was a simple call. I dialed and a recorded voice said, "There is no need to dial a one before this number."

I did the right thing because I always listen to recorded telephone voices. If I answer a call from a recorded voice after a ten second delay alerting me to a fabulous new credit card offer or an opportunity to refinance our house, I am on it! Thank you to all recorded voices!

I dialed the number again and a paralegal at a Tacoma law firm answered the call. I said I had no idea how I was routed to a local law firm while trying to reach New York City.

I quickly ended this call because paralegals are slammed with too much work. There is one attorney for approximately every 250 residents in this nation. We are suing and suing and suing! Leave the paralegals alone because the trial lawyers are golfing and networking with their fraternity brothers or fishing for more lawsuits. Lawyers are people too despite what the other 249 residents of this nation might think.

I decided to call an operator. Lest you think it was an outsourced operator, it was not an outsourced operator, but an American. She said, "I am a local operator. You need to dial zero zero for a national operator." I then asked her if there is a charge for dialing zero zero." She replied, "I don't know. You will have to ask the national operator." I said, "but then I might get charged." This back and forth discussion was a bit like a international ping pong match in China.

The local operator told me to speak to her supervisor. The supervisor said she didn't think ther was a charge for dialing zero zero, but I would have to ask the national operator. I asked her why she did not know this information. She said, "I am a supervisor in a local area." Then, to be sure I asked her what company she worked for. She stumbled on her words. She was unsure. I asked her how she could go to work daily and not know who she works for. Finally she said, "Century Link." This gave me the giggles. "Oh Century Link, a compay that has knocked me off the internet more times than I can count the number of cousins in my family, you are amusing! Have a nice day!"

My attempt to call a friend in New York City was finally a success. I spoke to my once local friend about books. It was a fabulous and interesting conversation. Well, victory for me! -AW

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Prison Industrial Complex

(This is an edited version of an article I wrote in Septemeber of 2011)

To deny prisons in The United States have become their own industry is to deny reality. Every day in this nation multiple television shows are aired depicting life behind bars. Prison has become the norm in our culture, and according to University of Puget Sound professor Stuart Smithers, it is one of our fastest growing industries. Smithers knows his facts. A graduate of Columbia University, he also volunteers at the women’s correctional facility in Purdy, Washington. He teaches a course at the facility called “The Good Life” because for the women imprisoned there, life truly is much better behind the walls that outside of them. However, this cannot be said of all prisons or all conditions for all prisoners. Smithers talked to about thirty people at The University of Puget Sound on Friday September 16, 2011 about the prison industry.

A discussion about prisons must begin with the infamous inmate uprising at the Attica Correctional facility near Buffalo, New York on September 13, 1971. After the uprising at Attica, the Joint Legislative Committee on Crime in New York issued an outcry against plea bargaining. Of the 32,000 inmates imprisoned in Attica, only 4,000 to 5,000 of the cases had been tried in a court of law. Plea bargaining was described in a final report as follows:

The final climactic act in the plea bargaining procedure is a charade which in itself has aspects of dishonesty which rival the original crimes in many instances. The accused is made to assert publicly his guilt on a specific crime, which in many cases he has not committed; in some cases he pleads guilty to a non-existing crime. He must further indicate that he is entering his plea freely…and that he is not doing so because of any promises made to him.

Plea bargaining is an extremely political move made by prosecutors. The accused pleads because it costs the state or county less money in exchange for the promise of a less severe punishment.

In 1971 the prisoners in Attica near Buffalo New York had had enough. The uprising left 39 people dead. Fifty-four percent of the inmates were African-American, one hundred percent of the guards were white. Two thousand rounds of ammunition got fired, The National Guard was called in by Governor Nelson Rockerfeller and eleven of the victims killed were not killed by inmates, but by the bullets of The National Guard. To say prison is a complex mirrors the warning President Eisenhower issued in his farewell speech on January 17, 1961.

Eisenhower was speaking about the military industrial complex, but the same mitigating factors apply to prisons. Eisenhower said, “…we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

The United States has the highest documented rate of imprisonment in the world. We have the highest number of total prison and jail inmates in the world. We represent five percent of the world population and yet we incarcerate 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. In 1971, President Nixon instigated the War on Drugs and the prison population exploded in 1972 and has continued to explode.

From 1982 to 2000, California’s prison population grew 500 percent. The result was the construction of 23 new prisons. Despite the crime rate being lower in 2011, the incentives to keep people in prison are much higher. The Federal Prison Industries is a stock traded openly on The New York Stock Exchange. Since 1999, the state of Texas has employed prisoners for as little as ten cents an hour to do labor. Since the prisoners have nothing to do and no money to buy sundries and in fact must pay for such things themselves, corporate America has moved in.

Companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Victoria’s Secret, Boeing and Ralph Lauren to name but a few offer prisoners work for almost no money. In 2011, Americans simultaneously cry out against corporate corruption by outsourcing to other nations when in fact we are sourcing out jobs to inmates within our own borders who are denied parole and yet sixty-six percent of all inmates in this nation are imprisoned on non-violent offenses. Social workers and civil rights activists across the country are scrambling to assemble gang prevention programs.

In Tacoma, Washington I see one resident’s face light up when I see him. He knows I am a voice for him and his family. He still has that look of hope in his eyes. He hopes for a better life and a second chance. Meanwhile, some hold standards of zero tolerance. This attitude backfires and ultimately victimizes not only individuals, but families and the entire community. I think we need to ask people who are vested in keeping offenders with minor drug convictions in prison forever. Do the people who make this decision have investments in The Federal Prison Industries?–Alison Whiteman

Friday, January 27, 2012

Comedian Teri Garr and MS

In 1998 I listened to a teleconference with comedian Teri Garr.

She said a complete stranger walked up to her and said, "You poor thing! You have MS!"

Ms. Garr said, "Well, one day there will be a cure for MS, but there will never be a cure for stupid."

A near relative last summer told me I have a much worse life than her. I found this incredibly offensive and ignorant.

Don't place other people into the role of victim because it is only for your satisfaction. It's cruel. Please don't patronize people with disabilities. If you don't know what to say, don't say anything until you educate yourself. -AW

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

MS And Two Presidential Candidates

Ann Romney was diagnosed with MS in 1998.
Newt Gingrich simply has to go away! It's bad enough he has been married three times, but he left his second wife in part because she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Not only did he leave her, he engaged in a six-year affair with his current wife. Is this the kind of man we want running our nation?

At first I thought it was inappropriate and not relevant his second wife discussed his desire to have an "open marriage." Now I commend her for refusing to participate in a "tell all" book about what must have been her hellish journey with this unethical and obviously cruel person.

What is even more startling is Mitt Romney's wife of 42 years is also battling multiple sclerosis. She was diagnosed in 1998 and keeps her symptoms at bay with a combination of traditional and alternative treatments. Clearly Romney is the most ethical of the two candidates which leads me to question why Gingrich won in conservative South Carolina.

Stephen Colbert also deserves a boot to the head for suggesting MS is terminal on his comedy show which aired on January 23, 2012. MS is not usually terminal. In fact, the majority of patients live a normal life span. His reference to Gingrich's campaign being "terminal" in a comment linked to MS was absolutely ignorant.

The most recent civil rights movement in this nation is The Americans With Disabilities Act. It passed in 1990 and was a rather short document. The battle for rights in the past twelve years has resulted in confusing and contradictory laws and documents that could literally fill several rooms. Like every civil rights movement it begins on a personal level. As many activists say, "The personal is political." Gingrich gets my official proverbial boot to the head today. May he trail in the polls for his behavior. -Alison Whiteman

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sir Isaac Newton On MS And Alchemy

Words always mean something else
the way departed souls

are beyond the world
redeeming light from inertia

digging and planting herbs
to turn the digestive tract

a thief could cut me open

find the golden river
the gleaming kidney

he could cut and polish and sell
the priceless soul

three gray sparrows on the line
and one golden finch

amibiton transmuting desire
to pure gold

it's always like that
the cure-all

never arriving

-Julia Mishkin (The New Yorker, December 19th edition)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ten Movies Ignored by The Golden Globes

2012 Golden Globe Winners & Nominees
I'm not entirely sure where I'd put this if I won a Golden Globe. In fact, what is it?

1. The Exterminator

2. Wall Street Sweepers

3. My Snack With Andre

4. St. Elmo's Arson

5. The Near Graduate

6. The Way We Are

7. Not Being There

8. No Country For Old Liberals

9. Kramer v Kramer, a LLC

10. E.T., Text Me!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Words Used By Teenagers And Why I Am Running Away From Them

"Man, this is a hella fair!"

"Dude" (hand signals I cannot figure out)

"It's not that great, like, not as great as last year, ya know?"

"Hey, it's a warm sunny day. We should be happy. I'm just sayin' "

"It's boring. The exact same thing as last year."

"I need to check my text messages."

"That woman is wearing 80s jeans!"

The teens continue to pretend to be with one another as they check their cell phones. -AW

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Getting Bad Career Ideas From Television Shows

view galleryPardon the blurry picture posted on this blog. I could not pull one off the "Project Runway" site that came out clearly.

Some young people have been scaring me lately. They scare me because some of them are never going to be able to leave their parent's basement. I recently could not figure out why one young person informed me she was going to go to school to "sew things." I said, "Really? You are going to be a seamstress?" She said, "No, I am going to sew things other designers have designed. I am going to go to school to learn how to do this." This sounded flat out bizarre.

Then there I was, bored off my rocker flipping through a myriad of boring cable channels. I saw this show called "Project Runway." In five minutes or less I figured out where this young person got such a career idea. While camped out watching a huge flat screen television in her parent's basement she has been watching this show. She actually thinks there is a career out there for her doing this work. Well, I hope she likes factories in China or flying to New York City to compete with top of the line designers like Ralph Lauren to do this work.

I guess what I am trying to say is that some young people have incredible delusions about life based on television shows. Furthermore, if you could actually see the design of this dress, you would wonder where on earth a person would actually wear it. Here are some places one would not wear it: working at a fast food place; the take out counter of some low end restaurant where one aspires to be a waitress; an office; school or even most parties. It concerns me that this young woman will be living in her parent's basement for the rest of her life.

Then again, it delights me this is not my daughter. I would pray I had produced a child with an IQ over 70 had I chosen to be a mother. Had this not happened to me, I might be looking at leaping from a large bridge. Thank God none of this is my problem. I have enough problems. Seamstresses, by the way, make less than 20K a year. That is enough to get you out of your parent's basement assuming you live with two or three other people. I bet all of them would be fighting over the remote to the flat screen television. AW