Sunday, March 30, 2003

UJ: songs for peace

There is some sentiment out there that actors and musicians should not be expressing their opinion about the war in Iraq, I could not disagree more. I think that being an American means being able to stand up and say what you think about something. Obviously actors, musicians and celebrities have a bigger media outlet to share their opinion...and no, I don't think it makes their opinion more valid, but I think it makes it something that main-stream American can hear. I think that it is one of the great benefits of being a have an instant platform to speak out about issues that are important to you.

So, I am encouraged when I see celebrities using their access to the lime light and public opinion to share their passions in life...and for many right now their passion is to speak out against this war. And I would still feel the same...and do...for those celebrities who speak out in favor of the war. That is what it is to be an live in this country....we don't decide who has the right to voice their opinion. In the end, I would much rather watch Entertainment Tonight and see celebs talking about the war...instead of seeing what type of Gucci shoes they bought last weekend. We are in a time of war and, to not talk about it, seems naive and vain....even for those celebs (or as the right likes to call them...mindless actors!)

So...that long winded leading up to two musicians who have been speaking their mind about the war and the notion of peace. The first one musical god...John Mellencamp. He has written a song called "To Washington." It is overall a song about the political state of this country, but it also pays careful attention to the current war situation. I think it is a simple, honest and beautiful account of some of the things that are going on in this country. He's getting some flak for it, but I couldn't be more proud. He has always been someone who believed strongly in things and had the courage to stand up for them. I expected nothing less from Mellencamp.

You can download Mellencamp's song "To Washington" by going to his website. I encourage you to take a listen.

And the second musician to release a anti-war/peace song is Lenny Kravitz. I have been a Lenny fan for a long time...honestly, since he married Lisa Bonet from the Cosby Show. I love his style...the retro sound...and how comfortable he seems to be in his own skin. When I heard on the radio that he had a new song out, I was excited....and when I heard it was an anti-war song...I was elated! This song is called, "We Want Peace" and I think the backstory to this is very interesting. The song is a collaboration between Kravitz and Kazem Al Sihar. Kazem Al Sihar is the #1 Pop Artist in Iraq....he is outstandingly popular in the country. He originates from Egypt, but his music is profoundly successful in Iraq. Kravitz wrote the lyrics and then together they wrote the music and peformed it. I think it is a wonderful sign of how these two different sides of the world...can work together, if both parties are willing. I hope this song is being heard in Iraq as well as being heard in the states.

You can download Lenny's new song, "We Want Peace" as well. It is on the Rock the Vote website. I also encourage you to take a listen to this one as well....

And one final connected piece...I could not be PROUDER of Michael Moore on Oscar night. He not only won for an amazing documentary, "Bowling For Columbine" but he also spoke his mind about the current administration. He just wouldn't be Michael Moore if he didn't say that. Some say his acceptance speech was inappropriate, but I say that if he said anything else...that is what would be inappropriate. He is a political man...who makes movies about political and socially relevant issues. If he didn't make some sort of statement...then I think it would have been highly disrespectful to all that "Bowling for Columbine" did.

If you happen to want to see, read or get some feedback comments from Michael Moore on his Oscar speech, then head over to:

Ok, that's enough outta me today....and now I am gonna get dressed and head to the center of town for the Annual Homeless Walk. It is quite chilly...but I even without perfect weather, I am so excited about this opportunity....not only to raise money for homelessness, but to raise awareness about the issue. Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 29, 2003

UJ: cleaning....

I don't enjoy is something that *must* be done, but it is something that really is a chore. I often go in spurts....from not cleaning at all and being quite going on a cleaning frenzy and wanting the whole place to be in order. I only wish I went on cleaning frenzies more often.

The past few weeks...I have been slowly cleaning, but it was slow enough that as soon as I got something clean, it was enough time for me to dirty it up again., I spent some major time working on it. I cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom...I mopped the floor and everything. It isn't perfect, but it'll do!

Now...tomorrow, I am going to neaten up my living room...and then next week my main agenda is to do A LOT of laundry!

Wish me luck on my cleaning adventures!


P.S. Tomorrow is the Homeless Walk in, let's hope for some nice weather...heck, I will even settle for decent weather!

Saturday, March 22, 2003

UJ: quotes...

Since this whole "let's flex our muscles and show how strong and important we are" war started...I keep coming across quotes which explain quite clearly how I feel about the war. Sometimes....someone else is the one one who can eloquently explain how you feel about something. So, here is one from one of the most influential women in US History.

"When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"
—Eleanor Roosevelt

And if I didn't cover this before....let me be clear. I do not support this war...I do not support what we are doing, but I completely support our troops. I wish that they were not being placed in the position that they are, but I hold no hard feelings or grudges towards them. I will welcome home the soldiers when they are finally allowed back with their families....and they will have all my respect. I don't respect those who made the decision to send them into battle....those are the people I am holding accountable for this unnecessary war.

So, when I see signs saying.... "Support Our Troops"...I agree with them. I wholeheartedly support our troops, I just don't support the war. There is a huge difference for me.

Friday, March 21, 2003

UJ: wage peace

Wage Peace
By Mary Oliver

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings
and flocks of blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children
and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and brethe out maple trees.
Brethe in the fallen
and breathe out lifelonf friendships intact.
Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.
Make soup.
Learn to knit and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine gried as the outbreath of beauty
or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Wage Peace.
Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Don't wait another minute.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

UJ: tori amos

I went to a kick ass concert last night. I went to see Tori Amos. I have seen her a few times before, but her shows are always fabulous! One of my best friends....she is obsessed with Tori like I am obsessed with Mellencamp, so it made it even more special to be going to the show with her. She was so excited that she was was wonderful to watch!

I have this wonderful relationship with fills something in my soul. I have had some of the most amazing moments in my life when I have been at concerts. It just seems like I am most open when I am in the presence of it....and it is one of the things I like most about myself. And I usually have one out of two reactions when I am at a concert....I either lose myself in the music...or I have some really wonderful thoughts. Music can just stimulate me in a way that is hard to describe.

Tori was amazing...she is so connected to her music and also so talented. In the MTV generation, it seems that often female musicians are just about pop and being window dressing...but that is the farthest from the truth with Tori. Don't get me wrong....she is such a beautiful woman, but her music isn't defined by her having a pretty face. She has such passion, which is concretely shown in her, her talent in playing the piano is remarkable. Also, at times...her playing can almost be seen as erotic. I felt priviledged to be in her presence and to be able to hear her perform. She is an artist I will see whenever I can.

And the first time I have talked about the war in this journal. I imagine that most who know me...know that I do not support this war. I just don't think it is the right isn't the right choice to be made. The friends I went to the Tori show with, we all wondered if she would say anything about the upcoming war....since she has never held her tongue before. The opening act was Rhett Miller...and he was wonderful. He mentioned his displeasure that we were going to war...and thought it was wrong that we haven't evolved enough to solve our problems without killing people. I couldn't agree more.

Then Tori came out....and she had a beautiful set. And in the middle she made the most eloquent statement on the war without having to actual saw anything. She sang a cover of John Lennon's "Imagine." It was received with loud cheers and praise....and the audience immediately knew how she felt. It was probably the most emotional part of the night for me. So, I will write a verse or two of "Imagine" for you all to read...and take in...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
and no religion to
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may I'm a dreamer
But I'm the only one
I hope someday you join us
And the world will be as one.

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
Or brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world live as one.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

UJ: damn insomnia


I am someone who never really sleeps well...unless I am absolutely exhausted, it is usually a slight bear to get to sleep at night. And some stressful things in my life have been piling up, so to no surprise...last night I could NOT fall asleep. I was tired...but sleep was not happening. I first lied down about 12pm and tried to fall asleep, but nope....just sitting there and beginning to be annoyed.

To make a long story...semi short....I went back and forth from trying to getting up and doing something in hopes that I would get exhausted enough to fall asleep. I moved out to the futon, since something trying to sleep in a new places help...but nope.

I think I finally got to sleep about 4am....grumbles....yep, that's right 4am! It would be different if I was out til 4am having fun with friends or hanging, etc...but instead I spent 3 horrific hours *trying* to fall asleep.....grrrr......

Oh well, such is life....just send me good and happy slumber thoughts tonight....when my insomnia kick tends to hit, it usually isn't just a one night deal. But let's hope I am wrong about that!


P.S. Still haven't bought a couch...and I think I have tabled that for a while....since I might have to start seriously looking to buy a car. I think I can survive for a while longer without a couch....even though it would look so pretty and nice in my cute little apartment!

Thursday, March 13, 2003

UJ: no subject

On the day after learning that Elizabeth Smart has been found alive and returned to her family, we found that another young woman did not.

Jill Behrman's body was found today...after the whole city of Bloomington and her family has been looking for her for over 3 years. She was found to be missing after she left to go on a bike ride in Bloomington. If you have ever been to Bloomington, you can go 100 feet without seeing a MISSING PERSONS flyer with Jill's face on it. Now that they found they need to find those responsible for her death.

At least now many her parents can have peace of mind, even though finding this news is never good for a parent to hear. My thoughts are with them....

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

UJ: couch update...again!

and nope...I haven't bought a couch yet. I starting now to look at used couches....and maybe I will find luck there.

I just don't think I am able to give up 400 bucks for a piece of furniture....

and the saga continues....

UJ: 25th Hour

This weekend I went to see 25th Hour....I was so excited since it final came to theatres around here. The movie is about a drug dealer who has been busted and this is his last day of freedom before he goes to prision for 7 years. Edward Norton plays the main character and he is one of my favorite actors. I have such respect for his work, so I could not wait to see this film. I read in the paper that it was at our local theatre and ran out and saw it on Sunday. So...let's just say I had high expectations going in.... And my verdict? was a good film, but not great. I had read the book this summer and of course...whenever you have read a book and then seen the never meets the expectations of the book. And the same is true here. At times, I wish that the movie followed the book more...and that there were some inconsistencies which I thought were pretty important.

I also had a HUGE problem with how 9/11 was addressed in this film. The film was shot in NYC and there were constant references to the WTC terrorist attack. I think a mention of it would have been fitting, but it was overwhelming. A movie about the last day of freedom of a drug dealer turned into a political response about 9/11. That bothered me a seems like there were 2 distinct plot lines in the movies...moving in completely different directions. The film was directed by Spike Lee...and I think he ruined the film for me....he threw in a bunch of his rhetoric and it really changed the movie and took away from its overall message. He added rants about society and racism into the film....which just were not fitting. It seems like he took this script and used it as an opportunity to throw all his political views on people....I guess I just enjoyed the book enough that it annoyed me that he used it to throw his issues at people.

And my final complaint....I don't like the way Spike captured some of the scenes. The book really dealt with connecting to the 3 main characters....and at times the camera made things look kinda "trippy"....and for me, it took the realness away from the film. Also, I think much of the dialogue was kinda sterotypical and made the characters more cartoonish than anything else...especially the school teacher and the cops. I like movies when the characters seem so real that you almost forget you are watching a movie....

Now onto what I LOVED about this probably isn't a hard guess, it was Edward Norton's performance. He is the only one, in my opinion, who strongly connected with the character on the same level that it was written in the novel. He once again played a character who isn't too likeable (aka drug dealer who works with the mafia) who along the way make him very likeable...and you root for him to be successful. He really identifies with this character and because of does the audience. I was really amazed when watching him on screen. Oh...and let's not forget how dreamy he is? *giggles*

So...without Ed, I might give this film a thumbs down, but he saved it for me. The movie goes on my list of movies worth seeing...but maybe when it comes out on video.

enjoy...and pass the popcorn! *winks*

Monday, March 03, 2003

UJ: monday, monday.....

Hey's Monday again...yawns....beginning of another week. Last week was calm in some senses and hella busy in others. I worked more hours than I was supposed to and didn't get things done that really needed to be.... but ah, such is life.

Last week things seems quite normal until Tuesday boss...the executive director, she fell on a patch of ice while walking back from a meeting (damn winter!). She thought she was ok....but she was limping pretty bad. I had meetings all Tuesday afternoon and, I felt bad, but I left and went to the meetings.

I get a call Tuesday evening....that it is worse than we thought. My boss is home for at least two days....which means I am running the ship. It was burdensome in a sense, but also a really nice thing....since I missed the hustle and bustle of downstairs and it also felt great to be able to help someone out in a pinch.

So that was my week....on most days last week, I was awake at about 5am....and I felt it this weekend. I was so exhausted that I ended up falling asleep before 10pm on Friday night. And this weekend, I didn't do anything productive...except going to see 25th Hour (which i might just post about at a later time). And having an event free weekend....maybe it was boring, but it was just what I needed.

Oh...and i almost forgot....yeah! (happy dance)....I am TB free. I got a call from the local health clinic here about a week ago and they said that I was in contact with someone who was exposed to Tuberculosis (TB). It's one of the drawbacks of my job...that there are more illnesses and sicknesses that I come into contact with everyday than most people do in a year.... So, i went down to the clinic and was tested...and TB for me! I plan on getting tested every few months....since it is more likely than not that I won't know if I come into contact with somone who has the disease....and I would rather be safe than sorry....especially since if I did have it, I could easily pass it to all the guests here. You see....TB is quite simple to take meds for a bit and then you are fine, but I can afford these meds....most of the people who are guests here at the community center cannot. So....I wanna look into my own health, but I also want to protect theirs.

Ok, enough about air born diseases, eh?

I hope the world is well for everyone out there....