My stomach hurts every time I read the magazine from Amnesty International. Happily, it only comes out quarterly. I unabashedly urge you to twist your gut, too, by joining Amnesty and supporting it however you can. http://www.amnestyusa.org/
I've always enjoyed writing the letters the magazine suggests. These days, it's more like an email, but I'll do that, too. I'm a Click Activist, a clicktivist.
Tomorrow, December 10, is the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (www.un.org/Overview/rights.html), signed and agreed to by the members of the United Nations in 1948. The United States was a member then. You know that two-section puzzle in the paper? There are two drawings which look alike at first glance, but then you'll notice that the tilt of the man's hat is different, or the tree has a different configuration of leaves. Well, you can play a similar game by going to the UDHR site provided herein and seeing if you can spot the differences between what we, the United States of America, agreed to, and what we actually do.
And who is this "we," Paleface?
I got a postcard from President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle yesterday. You know I threw out my television in ought-four, so I don't know where the postcard picture was taken. Barack and Michelle are grinning, his right hand high in a wave, his left around her waist. She's holding hands with McCain's wife whose name might be Cindy. She's smiling, too. Her hand is in the under position. I notice these things, having stood in circles for a couple decades, holding hands, not-saying The Lord's Prayer (or The Our Father if you're Catholic or the Who Cares if you're Jewish; I have no idea what a Muslim might think or why s/he'd be at an AA meeting anyhow, and I'll completely ignore Hindus because I know even less about them than about the others; drat! Buddhists, too!). She's holding hands -- or at least fingers, also in the under position -- with her husband, who's belatedly trying to button his suit one-handed, left-handed.
I don't know why the four of them are together. Somebody else knows that.
The postcard is addressed to me with the salutation Dear Obama Supporter. It's signed by the First Couple-elect. The type is pretty small because they have a lot to say and, of course, they're using full sentences, even compound sentences. Basically, they're saying thanks.
I choked up at that. When I was younger, I could assign such a sentimental reaction to PMS, no matter where I was in my cycle. When I was much older, but still younger, I could chalk it up to menopause. I'm pretty sure I'm past all that, too, so shall I blame it on the moon? lack of breakfast? fear of financial insecurity?
Nope. I'm going to blame it on genuine, legitimate emotion. I've been parched for so long, I've forgotten how to swallow. Now I'm offered a glass of water. I'm grateful. Yessir. Oh yeah.
Here's a line from Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed, which I'm reading now: Ask any of us cynical bastards to lift up our shirt, and we'll show you where we got shot in the heart. That choked me up, too.
I read Stephen King's Just After Sunset, a collection of recent short stories, but I forgot to tell you about it. There seemed to be more violence than usual, but also less supernatural stuff. More than one story made me wish he'd turn it into a full, King-sized novel. The page headings were the same throughout the book, though: author name on the verso, book name on the recto (Liz and I know what those words mean and we are so pleased with ourselves and each other!). That's not good for a collection. I saw the title of the story once, on that first page, and that's it. I can't even name one story by title. If I ever talk with another King fan about the book, I won't be able to say, "Oh, and how about The Long Walk?" No. I'll have to say, "Oh, you know the one with the Porta-Potty and that weird old man who killed the dog ..."
I'm waiting for the Swiss Army Knife people to contact me. Mine, a gift from Mike many years ago, has a pen in it -- because the pen is mightier than the toothpick. I had it for about a year before I got used to the idea of always having a pen with me. It's great. I love it. Now I want to find another one but I can't, so I emailed the manufacturer on its own email form. A message popped up saying they'd get right on it: "We are attempt to answer." I watched Borat again last night, so it made perfect sense to me.