Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Wheel

The wheel turns once more and the world has again sputtered to life. Astrologers tell us that Mercury is in retrograde and we can all expect change; in fact, BIG change. It is a good time clear house and mind for the future: The Year of Living Safely, I guess.

Silver Fox and I were talking at our local bar the other night, in a lubricated fashion, about raising our kids. Over the holidays this year we saw so many of their crowd who once hung out in our living room that we were both feeling all warm and snuggly. I think not every old couple gets the compliment of attention from the younger generation and that we must have done something right to benefit so many years later. Our Christmas Eve open house, a tradition for 32 years, was amuck with children and dogs – the dogs mine, the children not. 

Amid the chaos, there was real warmth. There were hugs and exclamations, eager conversations, laughter over familiar music. And I once again was reminded that first among these is love, and that this is why I make occasions. This is why it is worth the effort.

For all the noisy conflagrations of youthful energy, the turning this year was for me actually a quiet one, devoid of desperate meanings and very much just itself - the beginning of another cycle. The question, of course, is a cycle of what? And the answer, for me, is another year of creating memories, of holding what is dear in my arms and feeling the glow of emotion. Just that, and whatever else I can fit in:)

For me, the advised clearing will have to do with organizing a monumental amount of stuff out of my head so I am more accessible to family and friends, removing the detritus of past goals and the artifacts of false futures so I am free to create the conditions for true success - surrounding myself with love.

What else can I do? After all, as Steinbeck’s Fauna said to Hazel, “the stars have spoke!”

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dark Goddess Review: The Hollow Crown, War of the Roses

I watched the middle installment of this epic Shakespearean made-for-tv production last night, emerging a little shaky on my feet after two and a half hours of blood and mud. I guess I have never seen a modern production company really put its back into realizing a medieval battle field before, as I usually avoid these things. But, this is Shakespeare and all, you know. . . I am going to have to watch the last one, the Richard III, now too.

Not for the faint of heart. I have seen several productions of Henry V and Richard III (although not of Henry VI), but on the stage the blood is always in the background and the verse is out in front. In this 3-part telling of the War of the Roses, a mashup of Shakespeare histories Henry VI (parts 1 and 2) and Richard III, the verse is the supporting act and the story of quick and cruel death after death is the feature. This 2016 production follows the 2013 "The Hollow Crown" that covered the Henriad, or Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and Henry V. It is peopled by a huge constellation of stars, including Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard Plantagenet (Richard III), Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret, Keeley Hawes as Queen Elizabeth, Tom Sturridge as Henry VI, and Adrian Dunbar as Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York.

So many cut down (literally) for so little reason. It begs consideration of the shortness of our lives, of the lack of legacy in our actions, of the unlasting nature of our existence. Like the Vikings, who have been known for their cavalier attitude toward staying alive, these characters also defy the need. I have often wondered if this "we sleep tonight in Valhalla" approach is a historical afterfact based on the need to appear brave to the survivors, or if indeed people in earlier times had less desire - or maybe just less opportunity - to live long and prosper, or at least to do that without compromise. Have our modern generations become less warlike so that we are appalled by the battle of blade and ax? Do blood feuds erupt less often and are there fewer decades of revenge? Do we accept compromise and civilization to live where we are not laws unto ourselves? Or are the Heroes of the Crown just so much bigger than life that their stupidities are as aggrandized as their deeds?

If you can stomach the routine slitting of throats, hacking of heads, and filthy hair, you can get a handle on the epic Family Feud that ran rampant over England in the 15th century. Seventy-some years of soap-opera-stupid human tragedy unallayed by any socially redeeming content, humans ridiculous and cruel in their greed for power and revenge in the laser beam of the Bard's verse. He knew and wanted us to know that there is no excuse for our madness, no mitigating circumstance to temper the nature of the beast that is man. I have to say, this production supported his efforts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pricks and Praxis

In the flood of good advice emanating in horrifying 3D waves from the hologram of leftish politics (there is no “left” any more), about the only thing I agree with is that we should all get off our butts and contribute what we can to the collective future. One way or another, there WILL BE a future. If we would like it to swing our way for a fricking change, we should do something about it. If you think it is already too late, that there is no chance to push the pendulum, you should remember that history moves in cycles, and someday what has recently been wrought will be unwrought. Do you have grandkids?

I thought to look up the Gray Panthers, to see what they might be up to these latter days. They have a website and a list of issues, and the local group is located just south of Comic City. Single payer health care is a decent issue - might be a place to start. But there is no mention of Armageddon. I think I am Armageddon-motivated.

In that vein, there are lots of groups to support: Black Lives Matter is as serious as it gets, citizens confronting the Brotherhood of Institutional Racism. Standing Rock with both its outrageous war on indigenous rights and its vicious pursuit of profit over people through disastrous extraction practices needs all the help it can find. And taking over freeways and blocking businesses to protest political groups that openly wear swastikas and give straight-arm salutes to the President-elect are certainly worth a few late nights.

But what I see in all of this, as the crowds grow bigger and the Pinkertons grow increasingly violent and out of control, is that the youth of America are finally getting it. They are learning what disillusionment really means as one big lie after another falls amid the cries of “timber!” and they scramble to get out of the way. Some don’t and are crushed, and another lie dies as those who watch are further politicized and the crowd swells yet again. And again, and again.

The energy and outrage required for effective protest belong to the young. They can sleep in tents for months, yell at the top of their voices all night, sleep standing up chained to a fence. I can’t do that any more.

But what they don’t have yet is the cunning that comes from experience. Sentimentality and outrage will not win this war, and it is here that we have a place to contribute. A whole generation of baby boomers watched our efforts to end the war in SE Asia, which by and large worked, trivialized and forgotten through the public memes of the even more evil and greed-stoked backlash that has finally brought us to the election of a mean media cartoon as our Public Face. Hell and damnation!

Join up and put your old gray head to work. The young have showed us they have the strength – the least we can do is try to help.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wednesday Morning Coming Down

Do you have on your black armband? Sigh oh sigh again, how can this be??? We were even close here in Minnesota and the final results are still not in, although Hil maintained a three point lead all night. My thoughts have turned to survival. Who is laughing at my generator now?  We went to watch the returns with family last night and Silver Fox made up cosmos and took them with to shake up with ice as needed - there was not enough.

I have said since the beginning, although not loudly, that I did not necessarily think he was the most evil of the two. This is revolution, the result of the insatiable greed that has powered the last 35 years of neocon agenda, one which refused to include the populace even just a little bit, rejoiced in taking the widows and orphans for all they could, cynically ripped away union and pensions protections while mocking the stupidity of the people they hoodwinked to participate in their own destruction. If President Der Donald were not personally such pond scum I would have voted for him myself. Now the agenda the ruling class has left behind has risen up to bite them in the ass, and no one knows where it will lead.

Already I saw the Fed blaming this election for them NOT raising interest rates next month “as was rumored.” And what bullshit that is, because they were never planning to act, that is just their song and dance, because the way it works now is putting free money directly into the banks. What a crock.

Already the Taliban have written to Der Donald to withdraw all our troops from Afghanistan. Obama has been trying to do this for years without success - this is the military’s call, and in this arena I don’t think our new Pres has even Obama’s standing, although we will have to wait and see. If he has his way toward peace with Putin, Syria will be over - I can buy that and like it. But the best Obama has been able to do is keep a foot on the brakes. There’s oil in them there Golon Heights hills, you know, and the likes of Cheney and Bush have a little company with the oil concession. I have bought a front seat ticket for this one.

At home, we can probably kiss health care reform goodbye, but Obamacare is falling apart anyway. My daughter said last night their new premiums are pushing $2K a month and that is with a $4K deductible that must be spread across at least two of them.

The Repugnicans have been banging the Social Security drum forever and they are now sure to get concessions, although probably not to affect us too much. My guess is our kids will have to work a couple more years, and perhaps we will ante up more taxes on what we get. I may try to keep working, maybe don’t want to quit until I fall over. Certainly the returns we are getting on investments have nearly halved already and there is no reason that the bond market is likely to recover. Maybe pesos are a good idea:)

Immigration will change. This will be very painful for lots and lots of people, but as a dyed-in-the-wool Amurkins with blue eyes and history, not so much for us. If they would just cut off new immigration and leave people alone who are already here, I could get behind that myself. Didn’t this vote just tell us that there is already not enough to go around? What they mean is there are not enough scraps from the ruling class table to go around, but somehow Der Donald, billionaire asshole that he is, does not count, like he alone deserves all the diamonds or something. What???

Since we have had such a long run of do-nothing legislators, I am also signing up for front seats at that party when Der Donald tells them to just figure it out and get it done or he will fire them. I saw his long-time campaign manager last night actually say this, that the Big Man doesn’t have actual plans, just will toss each hot potato to the people who have been elected to resolve these things. In fact, I kind of like that. Serves ‘em right.

And so, while I am wearing my metaphorical black armband and feel hung over and depressed, I am not without curiosity and interest in the coming changes. My worst fears center around what might happen when his white, gun-toting, iconoclastic public realizes that he has pimped them too, that he will not feel the first shiver of allegiance for their vote because he is a narcissistic sociopath and won’t owe them a goddamn thing. My guess he went on the campaign trial either because some snooty elite club would not let him play golf there and he was going to show them, or he has an eye on some of those oil contracts himself. Either way, he isn’t there to improve their lives.

Or ours. Buy a generator.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Dark Goddess Review: Dr. Strange

Everybody into the pool for this one! Dr. Strange, in addition to providing nearly two hours of blissful Cumberbatch watching, might be subtitled The Rehabilitation of Psychedelics. Get out those old beads and feathers, folks, and go to the movies:)

I have been immersed in the world of comic book heroes for several years, compliments of my avid superhero-worshipping grandson and his sister, who loves a good explosion. This has been okay with me (and with them, since I pay) considering my own Superman and Batman fascination, while it didn't last into puberty, took up a lot of my childhood energy. I surely wish my Grandma had not given all those 1950s comic books away! But I digress.

Going to the movies with Gabe and Emma has kept me abreast of the latest in computer graphics, reintroduced me to my updated old friends, and introduced me to a whole raft of new characters with powers undreamed of in my innocent youth. And if I can't remember which gang is which, or who belongs to what movie, Gabe is there to educate me. I have even found several to be stellar productions, and Dr. Strange, along with Guardians of the Galaxy and Antman, is among the best.

Gabe says that Strange is a new Marvel character, and rather than getting his powers from a lab accident or radiation or some other disaster, he learns them as a talented student of sorcery, kind of David Carradine with electricity. Cumberbatch is no stranger to the kind of arrogance a wunderkind like Strange needs to be believable, and this is the source of much humor sprinkled into the melodrama of his fall and recovery through the spirit arts. He is at first a reluctant and then a spectacular sorcerer and I look forward to his next performance.

But the real star of the show was the special effects folks - and I counted at least 18 companies listed in the credits, including post-production sound that hinted echoes of the 70s by Lucas's Skywalker Sound. The bending and folding of reality for much of the story was spectacular, all those companies combining their skills to create a multi-dimensional psychedelic battleground for action that included just a touch of steampunk - a nostalgic dip in time and space that will lift your spirits as it lights up your memories like a night game.

Don't miss this one:)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Bullet Train to Tinseltown

I had another train dream last night. Trains have been big in my life. My dad was a station master for the B&O railroad all the time I was growing up, as was his father before him. It meant we had passes to ride, and my grandmother took me to both coasts: to the monuments to history in D.C. and the monuments to childhood in Disneyland, more than enough to give me a taste for travel.

I find now that trains are one of my four big symbols: rivers, bridges, buildings, and trains. Rivers represent my own source and creative energies; bridges are transitions; buildings are scaffolds for structuring my life; and trains take me where I want to go.

I've had lots of train dreams. Usually they are transport in a quest of some kind - I am looking for something or someone. The trains are often city infrastructure, rather than distance trains, and I am usually running to get to one in time or anxiously waiting to get to my destination. Sometimes I am confused and get the wrong train, and sometimes I miss it all together. But they are all transportation to somewhere I want to go and carry a sense of excitement and fun, even when I am lost.

This dream was different. It was a small city train except old fashioned and more like a circus train with open cars and flatbeds, and it took me through what looked like a commercial center and then curved away toward more residential streets. It felt open like a trolly, and I didn’t care where it took me. I did not have a book and was thinking that since I didn’t know where this train would take me, probably I would have to ride all the way to the suburb end and then come back. I figured I could look up a map on my smart phone when I felt like it, but I was apathetic – not unhappy but unfocused and just riding for the ride.

I found the dream alarming, as I am hardly ever apathetic. Still, when I asked myself what it meant, I had to admit that the last few months I have been working from a playlist, just checking off finished tasks, not engaging in the stack of Things To Do that are usually my raison d'être. The truth is, there are so many tasks in that stack right now that it could just be that I am feeling overwhelmed. I've become a passive observer of my own trip and not a player, taking the ride and missing the significance. Tsk tsk!

I need a good thrashing. Aren't I the one who likes to be busy? Aren't I the person who loves to make things? Glories in the construction? Plunges immediately on finishing one thing into the sea of the next? From houses to books to histories, building requires many steps and a very big scrap pile. I need reminding that I am a process kind of girl and quit feeling sorry for myself that this time I made such a huge mess to sort. After all, I like sorting.

And I am going to get off that back-and-forth circus train and find me instead a bullet train straight to tinseltown:)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Let It Shine, Let It Shine, Let It Shine. . .

Standing on my porch, waving my kids and grandkids away after dinner here last weekend, I had a most enormous rush of smiles. Glowing like a lighthouse, I watched them all the way down the street I call Transcendental Avenue. I had had a hell of a week of push and shove, crowned with two days and nights with the munchikins, and at that moment I was very tired and very satisfied, filled with payback for my efforts, and beaming. Everyone had such a good time, so much fun. That is why I do these things – the reward is so SATISFYING!

I got to thinking about the term, how it is a specific kind of happiness. The feeling is unique for me in that involves a direct reward – usually for energy well spent, but it could also be for having understood something correctly, or choosing the right turn of phrase, or making a beautiful thing – perhaps augmented by effort? Or perhaps not. . .

The dictionary defines it prosaically as “meeting a need,” (hard not to think of the Rolling Stones) and Wikepedia catalogues a bunch of uses for the word:
•Computer user satisfaction
•Customer satisfaction
•Job satisfaction
•Satisfaction theory of atonement, a Christian view of salvation
•The regaining of honour in a duel
•The process or outcome of assigning values to the free variables of a satisfiable formula
•Satisfaction of legacies, a doctrine of fulfilling a legacy during the testator's lifetime.
•Accord and satisfaction, a contract law concept about the purchase of the release from a debt obligation

But none of these describe the feeling I had.  I decided to look up what others have said about satisfaction, and I was stunned – and sometimes confused – by the variety:

“As long as I have a want, I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death. ” 
― George Bernard Shaw, Overruled

Whoa. That man must have been trouble to live with. But closer to my own understanding:

“For me, Art is the restoration of order. It may discuss all sort of terrible things, but there must be satisfaction at the end. A little bit of hunger, but also satisfaction.”
― Toni Morrison

And finally and a little elliptically, a woman after my own heart:

 “Happiness is not a's a by-product of a life well lived.” 
― Eleanor Roosevelt

“Satisfactions are what keep me going. They are moments of satori; extreme joy from the realization of a job well done: a child well loved, a day well lived, an investment worth all the energy I spent. Like rationalizations, I can hardly go a day without them. The things that cause me to feel satisfied are beacons of my own true nature and therefore light my path forward.” 
– Me

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dancing as Fast as I Can

If I ever thought that getting older would not make much difference in my life, I was crazy. Still working a full-time schedule, I drag-ass my sorry self home in the afternoons wanting nothing more than to pry my eyes open with a coffee spoon and locate a soft place to land. While the infamous afternoon slump has always been with me, it is now more like a collapse; I am grateful for any opportunity for recovery so that my evenings are not wasted. Maybe TWO coffees.

I have not written much poetry lately either, and thinking about it, I can see that when I am in production mode, as opposed to development mode, I just don't have time to veer from the vision, take my eyes off the prize, relax my focus. This is the part that is harder now, to go up to my office in the evening and do whatever needs to be done to forward my personal goals, to invest energy that is no longer abundant (indeed, I need to hoard it!) in a business plan for which I have had very little reward or even feedback. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it is a thankless task and I want a drink, and I deserve it, and what the hell!

But in my quiet moments (when I have not fallen asleep) I come back every time to one of life's most important lessons for me, that if I don't do my very best and I fail at whatever the task, then I am eternally second guessing myself. I will have no peace. If only I had. . . maybe if I could. . .what if I tried. . .  And I have failed so many projects that this lesson has been carved on my soul, emblazoned on my metaphorical forehead like the scar of a whip - Do Your Best.

I have taken some ribbing for my need to be busy toward a goal - I missed Woodstock because I had to go to work and my friends drove off without me. My daughter thinks I need a vacation. Silver Fox thinks I need medication:) But I know what is true for me, and I know that if you want dreams to happen there is always stuff to do.  So I drink that caffeine and climb the stairs one step at a time to do all I can, to think everything I can, to do the best job I know how to do.

It will save me in the end.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


I lock my eye on clear blue sky
that quakes my face and grins with me,
then drop to river rolling though
the verdant sun and shaded greens,
sighing with the cool of wind
into my soft extremities.

Then lift and turn to city-scape
and up the river, toward the Source,
a prophecy of bridges shakes
my summer doldrums wide awake. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Venus If You Will. . .

My daughter’s job occasionally puts her in people’s homes for legal work. She likes this and finds  that when folks are more comfortable they are often more personable. But last week some people who were indeed very nice and open asked her to join them at their church on the Sunday, even wanting her phone number so they could call and remind her.Whoa!  What could she tell them? A woman’s relationship with her Deity is very intimate? She doesn’t want another “father?” Lie and say she already has a church?

Really, this is taking friendliness a little too far.

Her story reminded me of my own search for Deity and how I came to the conclusion that God had to have had babies. After all, the most Supreme Being is capable of anything.  Surely to understand the full range of human experience and specifically to empathize with children and the needs of children, who are the future of the race, be must be able to deliver babies. But if he has babies, how does he have them? 

When I was a little girl in Methodist church school I pondered this for many months.  How could a man have a baby? Of course, that was before transgender operations, so I thought that it was impossible, although I did consider it. Perhaps they burst from his forehead like the Goddess Athena from her father Zeus’s? There was something a little off about a forehead cracking, but certainly it would be as painful as vaginal birth and so I considered this for several years, pursuing the Greeks and Romans for God during my college years, looking everywhere for evidence of the kind of empathy and devotion I experienced from my grandmothers. But NO! The great Zeus actually COMPETED with his children, not treating them as the part of his soul that I, as a mother, knew they must be. I was offended.

I went a generation further back to the Titans and it was even worse, cutting each other up and eating offspring like they were cannibals or something. It may be that these men were cannibals, but it was surely not true that any of them were God, who loves his children even as the smallest of these. What loving mother would eat children – anyone’s children!!!

So I moved around the Mediterranean to Israel and the Hebrews, the source of my own childhood Christian God, so see if their God had a birth canal. This was pretty easy to look into as I had several copies of the Bible and the Old Testament, of course, is about their God.  I read all of it closely and came away with not one comment about God giving birth and a whole lot of “vengeance is mine” crap. This God, like the Classical Gods, seemed to think that killing was the most important thing, taking power and using it, slashing and burning and such. The way God slew all those innocent Egyptian children was as coldblooded as you could get, and I couldn’t believe the Israelite far right actually decimated every trace they could find of the ruling families they replaced in the early years in their Promised Land.  It makes the current administration look warm and fuzzy!

So after rejecting Yahweh as the possible real God, I thought I would look at some Eastern deities, and indeed I got all excited when I saw that they had FEMALE deities.  What a concept!  Most famous and so the first woman I looked at for Supreme Deity status was Kali – I had seen her in some movie. Of course, she was very evil in that film, but then I know that movies aren’t real and they probably had a point of view, some axe to grind.  I was encouraged at first by the four arms, thinking that holding a baby in each one would be very satisfying and surely would indicate that she shared my grandmothers’ infinite patience and deep desire to nourish life and grow children into kind and responsible adults. But to my surprise the movie was right and the four arms were used to enclose ultimate chaos.  Even that I could begin to buy from a certain distant perspective, but when I found out she “creates” life in a non-physical kind of ongoing magic way, rather that through the usual method, I became suspicious and less able to forgive the chopped-off arms she wears for a skirt and the daggers and blood her own arms are wielding. She in fact seemed to be the personification of males’ worst nightmares about loss of power to emotional females and all manner of vicious, mean, terrible, and terrifying powers are ascribed to her, like their hard-ons are all her fault. I have to admit that I did like that she is depicted standing on her old man Shiva, but vengeance is not what I am looking for in a Deity even if it suits me. And also, nowhere does it say she ever had a baby – just that full-time job of creator of the universe.  I do think a Deity should have a little real experience before she is saddled with the whole enchilada. All in all, after a cursory look at other female Eastern candidates I came away feeling like I was looking for Mrs. Goodbar and moved back to more familiar ground.

I thought perhaps that the Christian writers had just gotten the story wrong – certainly most religious writers I had been reading had. Maybe Mary, the mother of Jesus was really God, as we know for sure that she had a birth canal and that she was involved with Supreme Beings. Maybe a rival Christian faction had just left out all the powerful Mary stuff so their own God candidate could be the Almighty.  Really, I thought that on my own before the Dan Brown book, stemming from a class I had taken in college that followed the four different literary traditions the linguists find in the Bible’s production, thinking that each of them probably had a different perspective on the story and that being the narrator could make or break history.  Like the monks who circulated their story of finding Arthur’s bones under the church only to rebury them, and no one now knows where they are, right at a time when tourism was lagging.  Depression economics will make people write anything that might help make a buck.

So I was pleased to find there was a whole historical literature on Mary as the object of worship, a powerful Deity with the interests of her children her central calling, as it should be. But it was not about Mary the mother, it was about Mary Magdeline, who was probably the wife of Jesus. I know it is only one generation, but somehow she seems like kind of a latecomer for Supreme Being status to me.  She does have all the right characteristics, but then people seem so exercised that she might have been black and then there is the whole hide-the-children theory about the grail; I think all of that would have kept her too busy to be in charge of the universe. Reading about her made me realize that Mary the mother was probably also too late in the game to be God, even if the writers lied. Actually, by the time I had read enough Christian history to have an educated guess about who their gods really are I was so disgusted with humans I was not sure that I cared if we have a Deity or not – we certainly don’t deserve one!

But I keep coming back to the way I feel when I hold my grandchildren in my arms and how much I want them to be happy and untroubled in their futures that I can’t give up the idea that we are all someone’s children.  God MUST know how this feels.

So I went back to school and read archaeology, looking for a kinder, gentler past. I can’t say I had much success in finding it, judging from the plethora of war artifacts, the defense marks on the forelimbs of ancient female skeletons, and the architecture of “games” where human heads were used as the ball. But from before God, from the period around twenty thousand years ago, we find across Europe a whole array of interesting little clay figurines of women with big bellies and no feet that were probably kind of kitchen goddesses, the bottoms pointed to stick into something that would hold them upright to be viewed by the person in the kitchen. And from Turkey and Asia Minor there are statues dating to ten thousand years ago of a mother of a Mother with legs wide and babied sticking out all over the place – that Deity had a birth canal to be sure!  I liked the stories from near there of the Amazons as well, a little later in time and lost in the mists between prehistory and history, where the women lived together and the men lived elsewhere, getting together only when they wanted to for parties and such.  The women raised all the children, although the boys went off with the men when they were of a certain age.  I like to think that the men of that time were a kinder gentler lot for having been raised en suite, so to speak, but probably that is fantasy since once they were away from moms and competition started there were no females to interfere; probably the kinder, gentler boys all died in training.

So I have taken up the image of the Mother Goddess as my Deity. She is all-powerful in her creative duties, and She wants and supports only the best for her babies, as I would expect. It means, however, that She has very little energy left for destructive power and since there is so much destruction in the world it follows that she is not All-Powerful. Instead, I think she must be full of patience and sorrow, forgiveness and redemption, vast capacity for understanding, and overarching joy. I think She fills our souls with a comprehension of good and bad that enables us to choose our steps through the mass of chaos we call living, and that she does this by modeling good and bad behaviors and teaching us what makes us laugh and fills us with satisfaction so that we can sort these things from unnecessary pain. I think She counts on our intelligence and ability to learn and understand to guide our judgment and sooth our losses, and She never ever would eat me.

To get back to my daughter and what I might have said were I her in those nice people’s house last week, I think I would have told them they were very kind but my heart already has a god. I am not sure that would have been enough to keep them off me, but egad, you have to say something!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Springerization of America

I don't know why people are so surprised by Donald Trump. Perhaps they have just not been paying attention? Probably, in the fashion of civilization embarrassed, they have looked away from the clear and unbroken path that uncouth media have been forging through our culture, a firebreak to disable education and insinuate violence and conflict wherever possible. Probably, they were too busy looking down at their gadgets to notice that "extreme" competitions or other feats of hostility have become the evening viewing choice of millions. Bigtime wrestling used to refer to a small group of avid fans, not the state of our politics.

If they had been watching, they might have noticed Jerry Springer taking over the daytime TV audience from boring old Phil Donahue, way back when in the 1980s. Jerry was so much more exciting, getting his guests to whomp each other for incest and scream insults about infidelity right there on camera! Made to order entertainment (and please consider the turn of phrase). This was just about the time that Reagan rehabilitated GI Joe for the kids - I remember being hopping mad about that one, as I had the kid. Bet you didn't notice they actually stopped making those toys for a while after the Vietnam debacle, did you? For a short (very short) while there, the military was not fashionable. Really!! Go look it up!

Little by little, media's pursuit of the lowest common denominator has eroded our schools, jacked up our hackles, and made heroes of thugs and criminals. W could have hardly turned down the September 2001 opportunity, suspiciously handed to him on a platter, to paralyze the populace with fear. Has anyone actually read the ridiculously long text of the USA Freedom Act? Does anyone still believe it has anything to do with our freedom?

From Tea Party to Trump is an easy jump; easy to convince a quivering culture that the Gov'mnt is our enemy in a world where we are fresh meat for foreign interests - Communists, Moslems, Refugees, People of the Other. A whole generation of fearmongering and greed poured into dumbing us down enough to actually consider a creepy, rich, blowhard, fascist as a candidate for office - any office! Trump is an idiot compared to Hitler, which only means our standards are even lower than a starving Germany. And I think it is sad that serious people are giving him the time of day. They should have seen him coming a mile away.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

My Cup Runneth Over

For all you other enablers out there, Big Mommas and Big Daddies (if you remember transactional analysis), we have a problem. We are so busy being on call for the needs of our family and friends that we never seem to think to pour attention into our own selves. How many times have you joined a gym, started a diet, moved training equipment into your basement because you know you need to get fitter, but it seems impossible to focus for very long? Suddenly it has been days, or even weeks, since you thought about it? Other commitments got in the way - family, friends, and work commitments? There is never enough time in the day to please everyone you would like to please, and you are never ever on the top of that list.

People like us, people who sing harmony in the chorus of life, have had to either learn that there are lines we can't cross, or, by the third stage, we are pretty much all drunk up by other people's needs. I have tried to keep an oar in my own waters, so to speak, and set up habits like busing (I have to walk!) and carrying my lunch to work so that I don't go out for a nasty quick hot dog or forget to eat all together, but it has been a constant struggle my entire adult life to pay me more attention than that. Even the new business I have started only gets leftover hours and sometimes I forget I must prioritize it if I want it to succeed. Hell, sometimes I forget I started it!

I have the gift of hardy genes and I have about used them up molding my sleeping habits, my eating habits, and my priorities around my family. This pretty much means that for most of my life I have slept little, eaten a lot, and worn myself out at parties, ice rinks, and museums. That there is dangerously little elixer in the bottom of my cup becomes more obvious every time I throw another birthday party. They are beginning to throw me.

Almost all my friends see a masseuse or a chiropractor for body work, many with fewer resources than my own. And yet I can't even bring myself to get a professional haircut - way too easy to chop it off myself, and I don't need to spend the money on me. I don't need a pedicure when I can paint my own toes. I don't need a yoga class when I can stretch in my own bedroom. And I don't have the time to stop in a café to just watch the world, as I once loved to do. I am a busy lady.

It has taken years of self-talk about all that can be lost in this approach, of the likelihood of using it all up in the maze of the needs of others, but I may have finally turned into the corridor where I can clearly see myself at the other end. At the end near the exit.

I see myself using my gym as a spa, loving the steam bath, reserving the massage table. I see myself doing this regularly and happily, and if not without fail, then often enough to call it habit. I see myself stretching my old bones apart as part of my nighty-night routine, and I see that routine happening earlier and the following sleep becoming longer. I see myself eating enough less to lighten the load all that arthritis in my foot is carrying. (I see myself LOVING that as I put on a tight sweater.)

Because I have found the right metaphor for us, the enablers. All those symbols and aphorisms and illustrations that have gone before have not meant enough, but this one does.  You cannot pour from an empty cup. 

And now, I am all about learning to refill.

Friday, August 12, 2016

This Takes the Cake!

Last year I opened Belledame Publishing, Inc. ( to proliferate books and cards that pay homage to people with challenges, particularly third stage women like me. This company is a one-woman operation, built on a lifetime of art and ideas I stashed in closets both physical and metaphorical for the last fifty years. So far I have published two books: one philosophy called The Bridge: Using Symbols to Build Your Life and a colorbook titled Dragons for Dames. Soon I will have a set of dragon greeting cards available to color as well, and the process of constructing those has made me ponder what other kinds of greeting cards I want to make. Congratulations on getting out of the hospital? Retire while you still can? Certainly, birthdays become increasingly important even as their messages becomes more unwieldy. Still here? YET another year?

I could use a whole lot of birthday cakes, rows and rows of them for cover front and back. And, since I bake a personalized cake every time a family member clicks off another year, and more for friends, I am sure I have digital pictures for the last ten years at least and prints I could dig out for all the years before that. I began to wonder just how many cakes I have baked in my life. Could I even fit them all onto one card? Would I want to? How tiny would they have to print?

There are eight of us now - that is seven birthday cakes (I don't have to bake my own) for the last ten years (since young Gabriel was born) equals seventy cakes. I did miss a couple, people out of town and such, but this has been very consistent, so let's say sixty-five. And I have made friend cakes at least twice a year for those ten years, for another twenty. That's eighty-five. The two years before Gabe, there were seven of us, so six cakes for two years equals another twelve to add up to a ninety-seven since Emma was born, plus a few for friends, say one hundred.  For two years before Emma, we were six, so five each year is another ten to add up to a hundred-and-ten plus a couple friends, say one-hundred-and-twelve. Before my own two kids were married, life was more scattered and inconsistent, one of them on the west coast for five years, so let's say I only baked thirteen during those maybe eight years: one-hundred-and-twenty-five. I am not going to try to count when they were home and growing up because who can remember, but I know sometimes I bought for a crowd of kids, sometimes I baked. I will just call that Plus.

Damn. I have baked and decorated one-hundred-and-twenty-five-Plus birthday cakes, probably like a whole lot of other belledames with family. I will find as many pictures as I can and crowd them front and back on the most personal birthday card I could ever devise, a lifetime of party-making from me to you. Happy Birthday, Ladies:)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Kill the pig! Drink its blood!

"Maybe, maybe there is a beast. But maybe it is only us."
                                William Golding

I have to tell you, the Trump campaign has made me dream about Lord of the Flies. Golding's horrific 1954 allegory about children abandoned on an island, left to their own devices to develop a society, was required reading when I was a student. I think maybe that is no longer the case, or someone might have already noticed. . .

The group of English boys'-school youngsters are a cross-section of personalities, and at first they try to organize themselves according to the rules and procedures that they already understand. They have to find shelter and food and a mode of organizing their decisions, as must we all. But more disruptive personalities, usurped and directed by the most aggressive boy, Jack, make this difficult; and when a "beast" is discovered in the forest that scares the bejeezus out of all of them, the group quickly devolves along power lines, the strong bullying the weak, and almost all of them find their primitive ancestry, the human condition, in short shrift.

Golding's point is that without a civilizing influence, without some good intentions and common goals, human beings will revert to savagery under the tutelage of an aggressive and consciousless leader. The boys take to smearing their bodies with "war" charcoal and sharpening spears. They band together in fear of the unknown beast in the forest, and they psych their weapon-carrying selves into a salivating, pulsing, blood-lusting mob around the fire and drums of ritual.

Sound familiar?

The movie appeared in 1990. I saw it in the theater and found it extremely affecting. The thing is, there is a deus ex machina that about stops your heart, and at the time I thought I would never want to watch it again. But maybe now I will, just for that. Just because I know there is a resolution. Just because it is only a story, and I could us a little escapism.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Getting Small

The problem with goals and projects is getting them finished. I am great with beginnings, but endings are harder. I have a new vision before the old one is over, and still-necessary tasks loom at me large and dark, guilting me, filling up my calendar with to-do lists, causing a rash! Interestingly, getting older has not changed this.

When I am in this state of nitty gritty, when I must focus and refocus on the end of a project in order to finish it, I am small. My peripheral vision narrows to nothing and I do not dream. I barely talk to myself. I rely on ritual to get me from one place where I need to be to another where I follow a different thread, and I spend a great deal of energy and watchfulness keeping my head down. It is a constant correction, to wrestle my vision back to the task, restraining it, not letting it fly off toward the vibration of some new and intoxicating thought.  In this condition, any vibration will do as I am living completely without captivation, and the rush of creativity I crave must be diligently ignored. I am bored and boring and shallow, while I try to concentrate on my feet. It must be done.  Feet move me forward, one step at a time. And this too shall, with diligence, become at last a shining artifact of the past.

The thing is, each time I forget that I have been here before, in this nitty gritty place, and that I devised a prescription long ago.  It is the way of time that we forget between, as dreams are real so are thoughts. Between mitigates the memory. Each time it is like I have to think it all through again, not remembering I could look in my diaries, not remembering the previous sartoris, forgetting I know what will help me. 

Then the light comes on, and I feel a joy and relief that I have already considered the situation, that I know what will see me through to the end. And a little proud of myself that this time I remembered before the long restriction is over, instead of only after it has ended. Progress (perhaps longevity?). I  have a flat spot on my forehead – again.

This blasted attention to final details, the details that get the project over the hill, is a physical thing - and it takes physical help.  My remembered prescription for joy in these lowland marshes is MUSIC.  Stick it in my ears, blow it off the walls, surround myself as much as I can. And watch me get small:)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dark Goddess Review: "The Company You Keep"

Like most of us who went to Washington to protest the Vietnam War, I was a grain of sand in the huge waves of peace that we thought we were, gliding over the dunes of outmoded tradition and the rocks of aggression and retribution to land each time a little further up the beach, toward a better world. Not too many of us imagined a more military metaphor, as footsoldiers in the march toward freedom, but some did, and all of us knew someone who knew someone who did, and the choice to take up arms for the cause was real, if a little far-fetched.

2012's The Company You Keep is a mature thriller about some who did, enlisted in the cause. Jim Grant is a respected elder lawyer whose Weather Underground past is ferreted out by a young and naive reporter who has not a clue what damage his scoop will wreak. The FBI never forgets, as Susan Sarandon's portrayal of Sharon Solarz so convincingly illustrates. Based on the real-life 1999 arrest and conviction of Kathleen Ann Soliah, for her 1970s participation in a bank robbery and murder with the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), Sarandon's character is not remorseful about the decisions she made so long ago, refusing to forget the context. In a similar vein, Robert Redford's Jim Grant (alias Nick Sloan) has lived a serious life without regrets or fanciful illusions about youthful indiscretions. When he discovers that he is about to be outed, he embarks with his 11 year-old daughter on a complicated plan to keep her safe while he stays one step ahead of the feds (and the reporter) to unearth an unlikely alibi for the crime of which he was accused so many years before. 

The plot is complicated and eccentric, the cast is as star-studded as it gets, and while there is no happily ever after, there is at least resolution. Critics in the US were not as enthusiastic as in Europe, but all agreed that this movie was underplayed and subtle, perhaps romantic about the political idealism, but never sentimental. 

Except in documentaries, I have not in all these years heard anything so truthful about those violent years as The Company You Keep. Common culture has rewritten the Vietnam War so the US was not the loser, allowing once again the rise and adulation of military force and the bootjacked interference with sovereignty, both public and private, that this enables. The concerns of an entire generation have been trivialized as a hippie "fringe" movement that was too self-indulgent to be taken seriously. And the ultimate cynicism of arming and re-arming an increasingly misinformed and diseducated population, filling the tills of the arms makers while disabling any kind of meaningful citizen dissatisfaction with the rape of their country, has been sheer genius. (Damn, I nearly called the NRA lackeys there - difficult to not let it creep up on ya'.)

And so this film made me cry. I recommend it to all who remember.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Procrastination Lamentation

While my focus is raised and my senses are roused,
when I act on the stage, become one of the crowd;
pernicious small corners at edges of vision
ignored by my grins are completing their mission.

Then finally, down comes the curtain and I
take my bows and move gratefully back toward my sky,
where memories and smiles are my chief occupation.
I newly have time for a deep rumination.

I look at my corners - Oh Mother in heaven!
The piles have grown monstrous, stacked sixes and sevens.
Towering, threatening into the space
where I grow my true soul and make up my face.

Mailings and catalogs, photos and filings;
life's frantic details, piers without pilings.
All must be sorted; signed sealed delivered
to trash can or cabinet, sliced diced or slivered.

Clean out those corners! and don't be too slow -
it soon will be time for another new show;
again raise the curtain to focus elsewhere,
abandon all hope, and forget what was there.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Labor's Loves Lost

One of the really fine things about being older is the length and scope of our memories. Of course, real history has seldom been taught in our public schools, but living around teaches you things you don't forget; connects you to histories that amaze and compel; leads you to insights you may rather not have. One of these for me, in the wake of all the media coverage of the Orlando shootings, is that Orlando is hardly an anomoly. This is a violent country, and the list of state and vigilante transgressions is long. Without even getting into race riots, gender politics, or gun control, I reproduce here for non-believers an edited table from Wikipedia of state- and industry-sponsored terrorism against laborers and labor organizations in US history (edited by removing all death tolls less than 10, over 50 listings).

Type of dispute
Workers violently killed by authorities
July 20, 1877
Baltimore, MD
During the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, first national strike in United States, National Guard regiments were ordered to Cumberland, Maryland, to face strikers. As they marched toward their train in Baltimore, violent street battles between the striking workers and the guardsmen erupted. Troops fired on the crowd, killing 10 and wounding 25.[7]
July 21–22, 1877
Pittsburgh, PA
Great Railroad Strike of 1877: As militiamen approached and sought to protect the roundhouse, they bayoneted and fired on rock-throwing strikers, killing 20 people and wounding 29.[8] The next day, the militia mounted an assault on the strikers, shooting their way out of the roundhouse and killing 20 more people.
July 21–28, 1877
East St. Louis, IL and St. Louis, MO
railroad, then general
as many as 18 or more
1877 St. Louis general strike part of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877: The first general strike in the United States was ended when 3000 federal troops and 5000 deputized police had killed at least 18 people in skirmishes around the city.
July 23, 1877
Reading, PA
In the Reading Railroad massacre, part of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, a unit of the Pennsylvania State Police ventured into the Seventh Street Cut (a man-made railway ravine) to address a train disabled by rioters. They were bombarded from above with bricks and stones, harassed, and finally they fired a rifle volley into the crowd at the far end, killing ten.[9][10]
July 25–26, 1877
Chicago, IL
Battle of the Viaduct, part of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877: Violence erupted between a crowd and police, federal troops, and state militia at the Halsted Street Viaduct. When it ended, 30 were dead.[11]
Philadelphia, PA
Great Railroad Strike of 1877: 30–70 injured in addition to those killed[14][unreliable source?]
May 5, 1886
Milwaukee, WI
building trades
Bay View Massacre: As protesters chanted for an 8-hour workday, 250 state militia were ordered to shoot into the crowd as it approached the iron rolling mill at Bay View, leaving 7 dead at the scene, including a 13-year-old boy. The Milwaukee Journal reported that eight more died within 24 hours.
November 5, 1887
Pattersonville, LA
as many as 20
10,000 sugar workers (90% of whom were black), organized by the Knights of Labor, went on strike. A battalion of national guardsmen supporting a sheriff's posse massacred as many as 20 people in the black village of Pattersonville, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana.[17]
November 23, 1887
Thibodaux, LA
37 or more estimated
Thibodaux Massacre: Louisiana Militia, aided by bands of prominent citizens, shot at least 35 unarmed black sugar workers striking to gain a dollar-per-day wage and lynched two strike leaders. "No credible official count of the victims was ever made; bodies continued to turn up in shallow graves outside of town for weeks to come."[18]
July 7, 1894
Chicago, IL
30 or more estimated
Pullman Strike: An attempt by Eugene V. Debs to unionize the Pullman railroad car company in suburban Chicago developed into a strike on May 10, 1894. Other unions were drawn in. On June 26 a national rail strike of 125,000 workers paralyzed traffic in 27 states for weeks. By July 3 a mob peaking at perhaps 10,000 had gathered near the shoreline in south Chicago embarking on several straight days of vandalism and violence, burning switchyards and hundreds of railroad cars. Thousands of federal troops and deputy marshals were inserted over the governor's protests and clashed with rioters. The strike dissolved by August 2. Debs biographer Ray Ginger calculated thirty people killed in Chicago alone.[24] Historian David Ray Papke, building on the work of Almont Lindsey published in 1942, estimated another 40 killed in other states.[25] Property damage exceeded $80 million.[26]
Leadville, CO
silver mining
as many as 11
Leadville Miners' strike: The union asked for a wage increase of 50 cents-per-day for those making less than $3-per-day, to restore a 50-cent cut imposed in 1893. The county sheriff and his deputies supported the strikers. Leadville city police took the side of the mine owners, recruited new officers from Denver, and "apparently kept up a near-constant campaign of harassment and violence against union members throughout the strike." As many as six union men were killed during the strike, by strikebreakers, police, or under mysterious circumstances. Four more union men died when they joined about 50 strikers in a nighttime rifle and dynamite attack on the Coronado and Emmett mines; the attackers burned the Coronado shafthouse and killed a firefighter trying to extinguish the blaze.[27]
September 10, 1897
Lattimer, PA
coal mining
Lattimer Massacre: 19 unarmed striking Polish, Lithuanian and Slovak coal miners were killed and 36 wounded by the Luzerne County sheriff’s posse for refusing to disperse during a peaceful march. Most were shot in the back.
April 7–July, 1905
Chicago, IL
garment mfg., teamsters
as many as 21
1905 Chicago Teamsters' strike: Riots erupted on April 7 and continued almost daily until mid-July. Sometimes thousands of striking workers would clash with strikebreakers and armed police each day. By late July, when the strike ended, 21 people had been killed and a total of 416 injured.[40][41][42]
April 18, 1912–July 1913
Kanawha County, WV
coal mining
up to 50 violent deaths (estimated)
Paint Creek Mine War: a confrontation between striking coal miners and coal operators in Kanawha County, West Virginia, centered on the area between two streams, Paint Creek and Cabin Creek.[58] 12 miners were killed on July 26, 1912 at Mucklow. On February 7, 1913, the county sheriff’s posse attacked the Holly Grove miners’ camp with machine guns, killing striker Cesco Estep. Many more than 50 deaths among miners and their families were indirectly caused, as a result of starvation and malnutrition.[59]
Area from Trinidad to Walsenburg, southern CO
coal mining
up to 47 estimated (in addition to Ludlow)
Amid escalating violence in the coalfields and pressure from mine operators, the governor called out the National Guard, which arrived at the mining towns in October 1913. After the Ludlow Massacre in April 1914, for ten days striking miners at the other tent colonies went to war. They attacked and destroyed mines, fighting pitched battles with mine guards and militia along a 40-mile front from Trinidad to Walsenburg. The strike ended in defeat for the UMWA in December 1914.
April 20, 1914
Ludlow, CO
5 (plus 2 women, 12 children)
Ludlow Massacre: On Greek Easter morning, 177 company guards engaged by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and other mine operators, and sworn into the State Militia just for the occasion, attacked a union tent camp with machine guns, then set it afire. Luka Vahernik, 50, was shot in the head. Louis Tikas and two other miners were captured, shot and killed by the militia. 5 miners, 2 women and 12 children in total died in the attack.
Steel Strike of 1919: 18 strikers were killed, hundreds seriously injured, and thousands jailed over the course of the strike.[68]p. 247
Walker County, Alabama
coal mining
at least 16
1920 Alabama coal strike: The Alabama miners' strike was a statewide strike of the UMWA against coal mine operators. On December 23, 1920, local union official Adrian Northcutt of Nauvo was summoned out of his home by soldiers of Company M of the Alabama Guard, who fired 7 shots, killing him.[64]p. 9
August 25–Sept. 2, 1921
Logan County, WV
coal mining
strike, organizing
Battle of Blair Mountain: the largest labor uprising in United States history and the largest organized armed uprising since the American Civil War. During an attempt by the miners to unionize, and following the murder of Sid Hatfield, 10,000 armed coal miners confronted 3000 lawmen and Baldwin-Felts strikebreakers, who were backed by coal mine operators. In the summer of 1921 in Mingo County, hundreds of miners were arrested without habeas corpus and other basic legal rights. Talk spread of a march to free those confined miners, end martial law, and organize the county. In Kanawha County, up to 13,000 miners gathered and began marching toward Logan County on August 24. The reviled anti-union sheriff of Logan County, Don Chafin[79] set up defenses on Blair Mountain, with the nation's largest private armed force of 2000. By August 29, battle was fully joined. Chafin's men, though outnumbered, had the advantage of higher positions and better weaponry. Private hired planes dropped homemade bombs on the miners near the towns of Jeffery, Sharples and Blair. Army bombers were used for aerial surveillance. Sporadic gun battles continued for a week. Up to 30 deaths were reported by Chafin's side and 50–100 on the union miners' side, with hundreds more injured. On September 2, federal troops arrived by presidential order, and the miners started heading home the next day. About one million rounds were fired in the battle.[80]
June 22, 1922
Herrin, IL
coal mining
Herrin Massacre: Several hundred armed UMWA strikers laid siege to a nonunion mine. After an afternoon of gunfire by both sides, three of the besieging strikers were dead or mortally wounded. The next morning, the approximately 50 strikebreakers agreed to surrender their arms in exchange for a guarantee of safe passage out of the county. After the disarmed strikebreakers left the mine, 19 were killed by the strikers in various ways; some were killed in the town cemetery, in front of a crowd of about 1,000 cheering townspeople. Some were tied up and repeatedly shot at close range; some had their throats slit.[81][82][83]
September 9, 1924
Hanapēpē, Kauaʻi, HI
Hanapēpē massacre: Sixteen striking Filipino sugar workers on the Hawaiʻi island of Kauaʻi were killed by police; four police also died. Many of the surviving strikers were jailed, then deported.[85]
Harlan County, KY
coal mining
The Harlan County War was a violent, nearly decade-long conflict between miners and mine operators who adamantly resisted unionization. It consisted of skirmishes, executions, bombings, and strikes. The incidents involved coal miners and union organizers on one side and coal firms and law enforcement officials on the other.[88] Before its conclusion, state and federal troops would occupy the county more than half a dozen times.[89]
May 30, 1937
Chicago, IL
Little Steel strike at Republic Steel: Police opened fire, killing 10 protestors in the Memorial Day massacre of 1937.


Type of dispute
Workers executed by the State
June 21, 1877 – October 9, 1879[109]
Pennsylvania (Pottsville, Mauch Chunk, Bloomsburg, Sunbury)
coal mining strike
A 20% pay cut in December, 1874, led to a long strike that began on January 1, 1875,[110]p. 51 and quickly turned violent. Several company bosses were killed. Bodies of militant miners were sometimes found in deserted mine shafts.[110]p. 53 20 workers (suspected Molly Maguires)[111]pp. 5,10 were tried for murder and convicted largely on testimony of a Pinkerton spy.[111]pp. 234–35[112] Three of the defendants confessed: Manus Cull, Francis McHugh, and Patrick Butler, as did Molly Maguire member “Powder Keg” Kerrigan. Their confessions and testimony corroborated that of Pinkerton agent McParlan. Historians have written that the murder charge against John Keyhoe, the subject of a later trial, remains dubious.[113] Franklin B. Gowen, owner of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad and the person who hired Pinkerton, had himself appointed special prosecutor.[110]p. 54[114] The 20 men were hanged by the State of Pennsylvania.
"The Molly Maguire trials were a surrender of state sovereignty. A private corporation initiated the investigation through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested the alleged defenders, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows. ... Any objective study of the tenor of the times and the entire record must conclude that (the Mollies) ... did not have fair and impartial juries. They were, therefore, denied one of the fundamental rights that William Penn guaranteed to all of Pennsylvania’s citizens."[115]
Following an investigation 100 years after his death, John Kehoe was posthumously pardoned by the governor, who wrote, "[I]t is impossible for us to imagine the plight of the 19th Century miners in Pennsylvania's anthracite region. ... We can be proud of the men known as the Molly Maguires",[112] whom he praised as "these martyred men of labor".[111]p. 284


Type of dispute
Workers* killed by vigilante/mob
September 2, 1885
Rock Springs, WY
coal mining
wage dispute, race
28 or more
Rock Springs massacre: A riot between Chinese immigrant miners and white immigrant miners resulted from a labor dispute over the Union Pacific Coal Department's policy of preferentially hiring Chinese miners and paying them lower wages than white miners. Racial tensions were a factor in the massacre. When the rioting ended, at least 28 Chinese miners were dead and 15 were injured.
September 25, 1891
Lee County, AR
African-American cotton pickers organized and went on strike in Lee County, Arkansas for higher wages. Strikers killed two nonstriking cotton pickers on September 25, and killed a plantation manager three days later. In retaliation, a white mob killed 15 strikers, most of them by lynching.[123][124]
Hazleton, PA
coal mining
14 strikers killed, 42 badly injured, at anthracite strike near Hazleton, PA[127]
December 24, 1913
Red Jacket, MI
copper mining
11 (plus 62 children)
Italian Hall disaster: As the Copper Country strike of 1913–1914 dragged on into the cold of December, the hatred on both sides grew.[64]p. 326 Anna Klobuchar Clemenc and the Women's Auxiliary of the Western Federation of Miners organized a Christmas-Eve party for strikers and their families. The hall was packed with 400 to 500 people when someone shouted "fire". There was no fire, but 73 people, 62 of them children, were crushed to death trying to escape.
September 30, 1919
Elaine, AR
up to 100 or more
African-American farmers met to establish the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America to fight for better pay and higher cotton prices. They were shot at by a group of whites and returned the fire. News of the confrontation spread and the Elaine race riot ensued, leaving at least 100 blacks dead.[137]