Friday, June 27, 2008

Passing of a Legend

Most people will think that title refers to Tim Russert, and while I am saddened by the loss of a fairly levelheaded political moderator (there seem to be so few) I am actually more deeply saddened by the loss of Russert's opposite, George Carlin. I grew up spouting Carlinese at my catechism teachers (and getting in wicked trouble for it) and pushing the boundaries of the "7 words" as well as adding to the list whenever possible. Carlin was able to make the mundane magical and had an insight into the political, social & religious woes that he spun into fabulous tales that made us laugh til we cried and then cry again when we explored his deeper meanings. Following is a letter written by Carlin shortly after his wife's death- "A Message by George Carlin: The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete... Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent. Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind. AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." George Carlin He will truly be missed for his humor & wisdom and his ability to treat both with equal absurdity.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What's New?!

New is a relative term for these beads, most of which are over 300 years old. These are African Trade Beads. Most were made in Venice & Czechoslovakia and traded around the world for goods and services beginning around the 16th century. Often these beads are called "slave" beads because they were often traded for slaves in the Western countries of Africa. However, beads were used as currency to buy furs, gold and supplies in the Americas and Europe as well. Occasionally trade beads can be found outside Africa, but most of the beads now on the market are coming back across the Atlantic from Africa where they were passed down as dowries and adorned brides as a sign of wealth.

We have just received an amazing selection of trade beads from our friend Musa. Stop in soon for the best selection.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Return of Victory Gardens

my niece and nephew picking wild strawberries at my brother's "farm" in Maine
Do you remember the early 80's? I do...vividly. Not everything, mind, I just remember the tension meter in our house rising every day at dinner time. No, my Mom was a great cook, my Dad was not a chauvinistic ogre about who eats first; it was the nightly news. Now, to give you some back story-when I was growing up, our family ate dinner together. No excuses, together, no TV, milk to drink, no homework at the table, no hats, napkins in lap, no food fights (well, not often) and the family had dinner together and talked. There may have been a board game or a hand of cards afterwards as well. Cliche, but there it is. But somewhere in the late seventies/early eighties, things changed. I was young, around ten when I started to notice my parents hushed voices and general uneasiness. And suddenly, it was no longer the 8th deadly sin to watch TV during dinner. But it was the nightly news, ONLY the news (my brother tried to trick my parents one night by saying the news wasn't on, but the Monkey's were, so maybe we could watch that instead-so young and foolish). Now I didn't know what a Cold War was (maybe a really organized snowball fight? we did live in Maine after all). Star Wars was a movie that I couldn't watch without hiding and sneaking a quick glimpse through the buttonhole of my Levi's jean jacket. But my parents were scared. I realize this now, back then I thought they just figured we were old enough and the talking about our day over dinner wasn't that exciting for them. But, no...they were really scared. It didn't help that my uncle kept showing up (no literally showing up, he hitchhiked around a lot) and bashing Reagan, spreading solidarity and going on about some guy named Nixon. I remember Samantha Smith, I remember Oliver North and the Iran-Contra scandal. And I know what my parents we feeling because I think a lot of us are there now. It's the feeling that the world is going to hell in a hand basket and we cannot think of how to get off the ride. But it is more than that...the world may be spiralling out of control, and we may think we know what got us to this point. But the real fly in the ointment is that is everyone just took a quick breather and stopped, I mean really just stopped to look at where we are and how we got there, we could take the small steps necessary to make it better. Real people, not politicians, not policy makers or lobbyists or rich folks or celebrities or any of that "I'm powerful, so I'm obviously an expert" nonsense. So, to get to the theme of today's post and the small step I have been thinking about as I take my quick, reality breathers is, a victory garden. High gas prices are driving food prices higher, and that creates shortages and farmers' realize they can get more money selling their soy & corn to make biodiesel and not food and it just keeps spiralling, so my little piece of sanity is to start a victory garden. Will this stop world hunger, no. Will it magically make gas prices plummet, no. Will it ease the burden on one person and allow that person to spread their message of sanity & breathing & "hey the exit for this hand basket ride is over here", absolutely!
The seeds are sown, the potential is there, under the surface, we just need to keep breathing and believe.