Other Pages...  [FOKUS HOME][CONTACT US!]

Fokus.gif - 6813 Bytes


March 2002


Previous Issues

January 2000
February 2000
March 2000
April 2000
May 2000
June 2000
July 2000
August 2000
September 2000
October 2000
November 2000
December 2000
January 2001
February 2001
March 2001
April 2001
May 2001
June 2001
July 2001
August 2001
September 2001
October 2001
November 2001
December 2001
January 2002
February 2002

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

[Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

We Hope To See You At Our Next Celebration

Sunday, March 3, 2002
Kafka's Kastle (Bruce Taylor's Condo)

For directions: Please phone Bob Olson at (425) 747-3879.

[Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

Art Sharing
Sunday, February 10, 2002

Larry Lewis shared his transportation comic strip designed and intended to highlight practical solutions to our state transportation problems, which is being sent to state and local political representatives. Craig English read two of his hilarious satirical stories, one a cocktail party for liberals and the other featuring dim-witted hill folks. Carl Sloan gave everyone an amended copy of his graphic composite featuring his new website: electric-voodoo.com. Judy Smith handed out sheets seeking submissions to typist@subversivesecretaries.com. She is collecting secretarial and administrative humor. Bruce Taylor read his short story "By Ring Bound and Unbounded" and his poem "No Matter When Perhaps the Same". Pippin Sardo served her New Orleans dish red beans and rice with collards. Roberta Gregory shared her Naughty Bits # 35. Bob Olson read two short stories he is submitting in a writing contest - "Braving Dinosaurs" (juvenile) and "Upstaged by Republicans" (adult). Lida Sloan and Seiko Olson enjoyed the contributions from others.

[Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

Other Stuff

Roberta Gregory will have several Bitchy Bitch comic strips on display at GLO's Diner at 1621 E. Olive Way in Seattle, (just west of where John Street crosses Broadway) during the month of March. It is open daily from 7am to 4 pm.

Roberta Gregory also had some artwork on display at the end of January at the Salon in Anglouleme, France, which is the largest comic book expo in Europe.

AND in April, Roberta Gregory will have work on display in the Secession Gallery in Vienna, in a show that is billed as the largest exhibition of women cartoonists EVER! She is drawing two original pages for their catalogue as well.

For those of you interested in Buddhism, come to the next FOKUS at 2:00 for a showing of the movie, The Little Buddha. It's the best mass audience explanation of Buddhism that Bruce has ever seen and, he says, is not only very well done, but very moving. Popcorn provided, of course.

The Lake Hills writing critique group is now seeking new members. This group has been active for over 15 years. Contact Bob Olson at 425-747-3879 if you are looking for an active, exciting group to critique your work.

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.

[Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

Bruce Taylor's Editorial: Bing-bong, bing-bong

For a long time, I hear that. Bing-bong. Bing-bong. Bing-bong. It's the IV pump going off - either because the IV antibiotics have run out, or there's a kink in the tubing. Connie, the RN, finally comes hustling in. I waken from my stupor - I've been drifting in an out since I was admitted to Harborview's 4 East at 4 am, January 20th. I go over it again and again as I remember back to what happened, dimly aware of Connie, who's fussing about with the IV. I remember I'd been feeling flu-ish all the week of the 14th. Then I remember doing a double shift on the 19th, still having vague, ill-defined symptoms of malaise and some gastro-intestinal upset, but coping OK. Going down to dinner, having halibut - allergic reaction? Forty-five minutes later, chilled, left side of my face pink, swelling - "You better go to the ER," Cathryn, the RN on 5 West B was saying, "if it's an allergic response, they can give you something."

So I went down to the ER, feeling pretty lousy, but also knowing I've had this crap before. Hoping to get antibiotics and go home, instead, at 11:30, I hear the ER docs say, "You aren't going anywhere except 4 East." I really don't wanna hear this. But I know I don't have a lot of choice.

"What, what time?" I ask Connie.

"5 am, January 21."

??What happened to January 20? Damn, damn, FOKUS meeting got cancelled. Shit. Damn. Tomorrow is the 22nd. I'll miss working the holiday, no holiday pay, damn, damn, damn. Am I destined to work here forever? And if I try to get out, I end up on the other side? Damn, damn, damn. Connie hustles on out. She's got a great sense of humor. Been here forever, like me. I drift again. So far, no one knows what happened medically. Some sort of strange bug that ended up in my sinuses, they exploded and I got some weird cellulitis with so much swelling that I couldn't see out of my left eye. But as the day progressed, and with more CT scans, it was revealed that...no one really knows what happened. "But, as the Doctor who I worked with on 5 West B says, "we know what works." Fine, I think to myself, fine. How the hell do I stop it from happening again? And I lay there, knowing how life can change so abruptly: a snap of the fingers and, here you are, just like that. I drift. I drift. Not in any danger of dying - just stunned at the capriciousness of life, of the things that can, out of the blue, happen to us. Put off tomorrow to do your art? Uh-uh. Do your art. Do your art. Do your art. NOW. Tomorrow is not promised. Ever. Not even the next five minutes. Not even the next few seconds. Do your art; don't put off that which is of value to you. That is the saving grace of doing your art - not that you get what you want (expectations are premeditated resentment), but that you cared enough to go for what you want. Do we ever really get what we want? Sometimes. But if you don't try, you'll never know, will you?

To all those lovely people who called and who came to see me in my rather unaesthetic state, I do thank you. In particular the good folks I work with who came, got my clothes, washed them and returned them to me, and who also brought me books to read and a bowl full of grapes. Thank you Roberta Gregory for your wonderfully funny get-well cards and for being there. Thank you Bob and Seiko and Carl and Lida Sloan, and Pippin Sardo and so many others for wanting to help. Just know that I'm there for you as well.

The following letter appeared in the February 7 edition of the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Pretty gutsy, I think.

"We're doing a little 'rogue nation' of our own"

It seems obvious to the casual observer that Taliban and al-Qaida fighters captured in the "war on terrorism" (as the president calls it) are prisoners of "war". However, the Bush administration believes that by calling them "unlawful combatants," the United States does not have to honor the rights of the prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention. Unlawful? What laws are they breaking that we are not?

If the United States is going to be so arrogant about its superpower status that it abandons the Geneva Convention, what makes us any different from a rogue terrorist state? Why shouldn't the rest of the world hate us? With each passing day, Operation Enduring Freedom looks more and more like Operation American Fascism. If freedom and human rights are what make this country great, we should make sure no one takes them away, whether it is al-Qaida or our own president.

Maybe there is no "war on terrorism," since there are no prisoners of "war". Perhaps this conflict is just a contest of who can create the most terror.

Looks like we're winning.

Alex D. Wilson

[Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

A Short Piece by Bob Olson:
You Can't Play

They never told me -- why I could not play on their team. Eventually I realized; I just did not look right. It wasn't my intelligence, my talent, my capabilities, or that I couldn't play the game. It was my appearance - in their eyes. I'll never make their team, and now I'm proud of that fact.

Ever been blackballed? I was. Last night I had a dream: I was on a train and I spotted two of my acquaintances from college days, back in 1953. They were important men on campus, popular fraternity brothers who always held me in mild contempt. I was poor and countrified when "country-western" was not in style. Now, I'm appreciated. Over the years, I have twice been listed in their honor role - Marquis Who's Who in America. I'm not the same Bob Olson that they blackballed (by a secret vote) out of membership in their fraternity all those years ago.

In my dream I went right up to these important men and said, "Hi, remember me. I'm Bob Olson. We were in college together back in the '50s. You guys were great on campus; but I'll bet you wouldn't believe what's happened to me in all these years. Can you join me in the diner for lunch?"

I felt they recognized me and I still felt their disdain when one of them replied, "We have an important meeting right now, but maybe we'll join you for dessert later."

I went to the diner and waited - and waited. Finally I realized, "I've been duped." They had no intention of ever joining me in anything. I still could not play on their team and I never would, even after all these years and all my accomplishments. Then, I realized - I didn't want to play on their team, and I rushed out of the diner to avoid any possibility of their late arrival for dessert. I have never played ball on their court, and neither have my friends. Thank Heaven! Our game has been meaningful, as the years rolled by.

Last night while watching the 2002 Olympics, I recall two Olympians from bygone years, who were also blackballed: one, as champion of the 1936 Olympics, when Hitler refused to shake his hand; and the other because she became a female golfer after establishing herself as the "world's greatest woman athlete" in the 1932 Olympics. It has been my good fortune to play a small part in their lives.

I treasure the progress of underdogs. Not so long ago Seattle Time's columnist Jerry Large interviewed my friend, Georgie Kunkel. In the '70s I was in a position to deny the blackballing of Georgie from state leadership in counseling. Hey! Georgie not only succeeded, she became famous, she made it on the Oprah Show - and she's still my friend.

Today I write. Not perfectly, and not poorly. I don't expect to publish in the New Yorker, but one of my famous reviewers, Dr. Melvin Morse, writes, "Anyone who enjoys Garrison Keilor will enjoy (Bob's) book." I especially value the Pulitzer Prize-winning Seattle playwright August Wilson. When he couldn't play on his high school team he took his ball elsewhere.

I grew up with Illinois rednecks. My family is multi-hued and multi-cultural and I'm proud of this tone in our national leadership today. The players on the court in my life have been varied, colorful, famous and infamous. Our lives have nourished seeds in many other lives.

I'm glad I could not play ball with the fraternity brothers on campus; my game has been more rewarding.

[Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

Two Poems by Carl Sloan


Is the weakest
You stuff a turkey
with it
from Thanksgiving
'til Christmas,
but that bird
will remain
hollow inside.


Leave these warm nuzzlings,
drive through traffic,
sit in an office
and process papers?
Where is the essential
rightness of things?

[Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

Last updated:  Febuary 28, 2002