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Newsletter


April 2001

Contents


Previous Issues

January 2000
(unavailable)
February 2000
 
March 2000
 
April 2000
 
May 2000
 
June 2000
 
July 2000
 
August 2000
(unavailable)
September 2000
 
October 2000
 
November 2000
 
December 2000
 
January 2001
 
February 2001
 
March 2001
 
     

For technical support for these newsletters, please e-mail: arachne@pantarbe.com

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We Hope To See You At Our Next Celebration

Friday March 30 - Sunday April 1, 2001
Bob & Seiko's beachfront home

For directions: Please phone Bob Olson at (425) 747-3879.
We request a $20 contribution for food and drink. Please let Bob know what you can offer.

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Art Sharing
Sunday, February 11 , 2001

Cindy Kerr brought her beautiful big yellow assistance dog and sang a parody song "Doggies are a Girl's Best Friend". Roberta Gregory read the essay "Get to Know Your Muses" by Janice Van Cleve from Widdershins. Pippin Sardo brought a special citrus tart. Bruce Taylor read a new essay "Justice in America". Carl and Lida Sloan presented a slide show Light Dancing and Head Games Part II, assembled by Lida Sloan with FOKUS models: Duane Dolan, Crispin Faget, Pippin Sardo, Bruce Taylor and the feline star of the show Purrzac. Mike Monroe read a chapter from his novel White Hot. Bob Olson read his book review of 2084 - The Year of the Liberal (below). Seiko Olson provided an appreciative audience.

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Other Stuff

Upcoming FOKUS meetings:

  • May 6, Bruce Taylor's condo.
  • June 8-10, Todd Christoffel hosts FOKUS in Mazama at his cabin. Details to follow.
  • July 15, Mike Munro's place.
  • August 12, Bob and Seiko Olson's Bellevue home.

    If you want to advertise something your are doing in our newsletter please call Bob or Bruce. This is an excellent free bulletin board for your announcements.

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    Bruce Taylor's Editorial: On Fear

    The good chiropractor led me into his office and put an x-ray of my left shoulder, which had been painful for several years, up to the fluorescent screen. "Here's your right shoulder, he said. "Now, here's your left. See this area?" I looked. "There appears to be a 2mm cyst at the femoral head, probably a benign tumor, but we should have a CT scan just to be sure."

    Funny how fear works. I didn't hear the word benign; what I heard was tumor. My primary physician, when he looked at the x-rays, had to work real hard to get excited. But I was unnerved about it; my blood pressure was up, and I was scared. So, I got this appointment on March 12 (this being written March 1) with an osteopathic doctor and will probably get a CT scan based on what he thinks. Meanwhile, I'm still scared.

    Funny how fear works. Fear is certainly a valid emotion: when you're crossing the street and a car comes at you from out of the blue fear is there doing you a favor with the message - "Your life is in danger! Move!" But there is this other kind of fear based on you being God because you have knowledge of the future, and in this case the future's gotta be bad, so I assume the worst case scenario, because, I guess, this is one of the functions of fear - to not be unprepared for potentially bad news. Get devastated first before you get devastated later. It's sort of like assumed guilt until proven innocent, rather than innocent until proven guilty.

    But just because you know this doesn't mean it's easy to deal with, because the unknown is always hard to deal with. And we don't want to be caught unprepared. And what is truly odd about this whole thing, was on the day I got this news, and hour and a half later I'm watching the ground writhe, cars bounce about, trees doing the jitterbug as Seattle experienced it's worst earthquake in 50 years. Boy, talk about the unexpected!

    Again, we don't know the future, and we have to look at how we view the future. Usually it's through the eyes of past events. I look back on how I grew up and see a lot of uncertainty, fear, confusion, and basically, a lot of fear. So I guess something like what the chiropractor said would rattle my cage, although, if I'd been in the wrong place at the wrong time, I could been just as easily squashed by falling bricks from a dancing building.

    Fear of the future is a bad way to go if it's fear based in the past. Fear of the future is bad news period, because we simply do not know the future. What has this to do with art? Same thing. Having trouble getting your art out there? Have trouble doing your art? Then it's time to go back and look at your past and see what the family messages were about your art. How safe did you feel being an artist? Not safe? Then, what you have to work through is learning how to feel safe in the here and now. Your art is sacred. It's who you are. But all too often when we really push it, the nasty voices from the past surface at the same time. Julia Cameron calls them "blurts". They are largely unconscious, but the impact and the effect are the same: fear of past nastiness surfacing to the present as you start doing what you love to do is as immobilizing and blocking as my fear that a benign cyst is a sure signal of some horrible disease.

    Fear is fear and fear is blocking and damming. Probably the question that everyone has is "How do we feel our fear but move ahead anyway?" If we can figure out how to do that - and figure it out we must - we then have at our disposal a mighty force that will take us to the best that we can be, regardless of what the future brings. That mighty force? Courage.

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    Bob Olson's book review -
    2084 - The Year of the Liberal
    - by David L. Hale

    Conservative Humor?

    Big Mama's saliva drenched John Winston. Her interactive TV wet kiss showered him with LOVE. This is a scene from David Hale's satirical book 2084 - The Year of the Liberal, which promotes his homophobia, racism, sexism, bigotry and religious pedagogy, under the guise of a new genre that he calls "conservative humor". (Bruce, you'd just love this book.)

    Synopsis:
    A limited nuclear exchange between Asia and North America in 2034 set populations back to the Middle Ages. Conservatives were largely annihilated in the Revolution of 2034. A newly elected American president, Henry Pruitt, was shot in front of the TV cameras by his political opponent Jean-Claude "Papa Doc" duVallon, a black Haitian undereducated, surly, authoritarian, arrogant, manipulative, murderous egotist. "Papa Doc" smiled at the television cameras and said, "Don't worry about Pruitt. He can't help it that he's dead. However I, Jean-Claude "Papa Doc" duVallon can help you. Because, unlike the conservatives, I AM FAIR. I will treat you all alike. IT IS A GREAT VICTORY! THE LIBERALS HAVE WON! VIVE LES LIBERAUX!" Papa Doc's henchmen easily controlled the populace.

    The United States and Canada became one nation renamed Fairland. DuVallon ruled until his death when "Big Mama" was elected. She was politically correct, being a black, Hispanic lesbian. Other "credentialed" candidates included: a Chinese Communist hermaphrodite, a Greek transvestite with leanings toward sophistry and a drug addicted Haitian bisexual who had a special gift for communicating with plants.

    The Ministry of Truth employed John Winston, the oppressed white victim/hero, where he rewrote the events of the past as Itstory (The word "history" was no longer allowed.) He developed official Party slogans such as:
    LOVE IS HATE
    SEX IS RAPE
    FREDOM IS ANARCHY
    WEALTH IS EXPLOITATION
    IGNORANCE IS BLISS
    KNOWLEDGE IS PAIN
    SHARING IS CARING
    EQUALITY IN EVERYTHING
    AMBITION IS GREED
    SAVE THE EARTH. SAVE YOUR SOUL
    LOVE OUR ANIMAL FRIENDS...
    And they will love you back

    John grew to question everything about his job and his existence. Fairland citizens were required to sit in front of a TV set at 12:00 noon and midnight for an experience that John found particularly repugnant. The formerly Canadian anchor Peter Jenkins would introduce Big Mama, following a patriotic display of military weaponry and a brief news report on the progress of a continually ongoing war against "the Asian Hordes". Big Mama dominated the screen dressed in battle fatigues with a rifle in her right hand and a black coiled whip in her left. Because all TV sets were interactive she could view every viewer individually and personally correct each one. "John, what is that frown on your face? Don't you LOVE Big Mama today?" After her propaganda spiel, she ended every broadcast with a big wet kiss. Her lips covered the screen and wet saliva flooded from every set.

    John's subtle contrary attitude got him arrested by the Thought Police. He is hauled into PEOPLES JAIL where he further complicates his situation when he protests an attempted rape by his cellmate. John called the man a PERVERT. For this insensitivity, John was judged to be politically incorrect and required to attend SENSITIVITY AND RE-EDUCATION CLASSES. There he becomes close to Sally. Being soul mates with mutually conservative ideas, they devise a plan for revolution. By a strange quirk of fate John owns a banned book from the past - The Way It Ought To Be by Rush Limbaugh. This is the same man whose ancient radio broadcasts beamed into space have bounced back from a distant solar system and now find their way to the ears of short-wave radio listeners in Fairland. (Big Mama isn't able to block out these broadcasts.) When the Thought Police arrest John again, and find this banned book, one officer judges John to be crazy and provides him with a card declaring his insanity. This card is like a "Get Out of Jail Free" document. John is now a dependent of the state. He does not have to work and has no responsibilities. The state pays him regular compensation and he cannot be held accountable for his behavior. What a perfect cover for John and Sally to plot a takeover of the government.

    John and Sally recruit several partners from a group called the Proletariat. The Party does not hold these men accountable. John obtains a map indicating the location of the most secret weapon in Fairland - the necessary tool for his success. This secret weapon is located in Freetown -("the place where anything goes"). Freetown is a resort provided for the Party Elite. All the delightful privileges denied every citizen are available there. The nation's wealth is devoured like candy in Freetown. John's little gang volunteer for the soybean harvest (where every available citizen is needed). A bus from the communal farm takes them to Freetown for a day or two of rest. Quickly overcoming all difficulties the revolutionaries use John's map to obtain the secret weapon - which turns out to be a TRUTH RAY GUN. They invade Big Mama's radio broadcast and blast everyone into becoming truthful. Then, they blast the nation of listeners. John becomes acting president when Big Mama resigns. His friends are his cabinet. The United States and Canada are once again declared separate countries guided by truthful conservative governments based upon the capitalistic principles of Reagan/Bush and Rush Limbaugh.

    Commentary:
    Inconstancies: Major events occur with unbelievable simplicity (even for a satire). Papa Doc simply shoots the elected president and sets up his liberal dictatorship. John's gang just overthrows Big Mama"s liberal government.

    Why is the War Against the Asian Hordes continuing when the newly capitalistic governments of Asia have become profitable and only Fairland is in an ever-worsening depression? Why would democratic-capitalistic Asia want to fight a defeated Fairland?..After all they are now prosperous because they have followed the leadership principles of American President Ronald Reagan.

    Too often David Hale diverts from the story he is telling to advise his readers with his version of THE TRUTH. Briefly stated, Hale predicts the "fall of the United States" for the following reasons:

    1. More and more people depend on the government.
    2. The government grows bigger like a cancer.
    3. The private sector is weakened by taxes and regulations.
    4. Every other person is a lawyer.
    5. Crime is pandemic because of lenient courts and the proliferation of drugs.
    6. American History is impugned. European white males are blamed.
    7. The poison of multiculturalism.
    8. Affirmative action.
    9. Political correctness.
    10. Education emphasizing AIDS and sexual harassment.
    11. Ambition is called "Greed" and not encouraged.
    12. Young people are not taught right from wrong.
    13. A growing lack of individual accountability.
    14. The madcap Democratic Congress which habitually sides with America's enemies.
    15. Loss of freedom
    16. Feminism.

    I can't really laugh with David Hale's "conservative humor". Example - from one of Jenkin's broadcasts: "The war against the hordes of Asia is going well. Another major victory was scored by the Women's Attack Squad today. Colloquially called Dames Against the Foes of Fairy-land (DAFFY), they showed that women wear the pants in this man's army. This particular squad was the PMS group. They have two advantages. They're mean as hell and they can retain water. Watch..." The next scene was a contingent of screaming women running over a hill. "Hell hath no fury like a women scorned", smiled Jenkins. "Backing up the women was the homosexual support group - - Fags Against an Independent Race of Yellows (FAIRY). They, too, showed their mettle... "Oh, wow! A war Make love not war. Hunt that enemy down and kiss him! and Way to go, girls!" One guy seemed to be lost. He called ever so sweetly, "Yoo hoo, I'm over here." The effect of all this on the enemy was predictable. The camera panned a group of Asians laughing so hard that they were crying. Presumably, a number of them died from laughter. Another victory for Fairland! "War is hell," smiled Jenkins. This "conservative humor" makes me laugh at the author, not with him. Then, I feel angst because of his shortsightedness.

    2084 tries to make an argument for capitalism against socialism. In our complex world today we will always live with both and need to embrace a healthy balance.

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    Advice From The Experts:

    "I never wanted to grow up to be a writer. I just wanted to grow up to be an adult." --
    Toni Morrison

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    Poems by Carl Sloan

    OUR WORLDS HAVE DIFFERENT BORDERS

    Looking through separate knotholes
    we never see the same thing.
    Even if we travel together
    Each of us takes a different trip.

     

    THE FORECASTER SAYS

    Lunar eclipse tonight.
    Fat chance.
    When we wake up tomorrow,
    the loonies will
    still be in charge.

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    Kitty Kat Toons, Roberta Gregory

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    Last updated:  March 25, 2001