Saturday, October 06, 2012

Mixing It Up


Today was somewhat complicated, however the weather was beautiful:  clear, crisp, still warm, a sunny October day.

October 6, a rally point for Occupy.

October 6, date of some DC-led invasion of Afghanistan (I'm a little hazy on the details, not my area of most focus (DC's various epileptic fits, attacks of neuritus or whatever we call it -- lots of flailing and flinging explosives, lethal dorkiness (like 911))).

October 6:  Willamette Quarterly Meeting (WQM) in full swing.

The complicated part:  Carol Urner, my mom, was scheduled to address both the Occupy Rally downtown, in the park blocks, and to serve on a panel at Quakers at WQM.  Yet she was quite ill with a cold-flu and would she even be mobile?

The bright weather and Tylenol helped her back on her feet and I got her to the rally in time for her speech, but her WILPF peers, knowing of her illness, had scheduled a Code Pink woman to speak in her stead.

The Code Pink woman's talk was pretty interesting in that she mentioned that a substantial delegation of civilians were marching in Pakistan to visit areas hardest hit by the V2s er drones.  Not just Congress people get those junkets.  Authentic citizen diplomacy is more effective anyway.

I was serving as a roaming camera guy, sometimes wandering away from the event.  Most of the police, charged with ushering the subsequent march through town (a complicated route) were hanging out at Starbucks.  No one was giving them any trouble.  The horses were out as well.

Some faux police ("Occu Popo") with giant fly swatters shadowed the police, just clowning around, somewhat mocking state authority (an old theme, goes back to the Middle Ages).

At meeting, I got to meet Kathleen Burkhardt, daughter of Jeanne.  She gave me one of the '3rd Culture' pamphlets they have at Lewis & Clark for people like herself and myself, somewhat expat in outlook i.e. lonely planet types, less able to say where we're "from".

Mom's presentation went well.  Two of the panelists chose homophobia as an example of a touchy topic that their respective Quaker institutions had been dealing with.  A former NPYM clerk and current NWYM clerk shared about their multi-threaded process.  Jane's story was set in East Africa whereas Tom's was set here in Oregon.

Mom's story was about an AFSC board (which meets in Philadelphia), going from rubber stamp to more activist during the recent succession of executive directors.  She gave us some good insights into Quaker process at AFSC, which has a Quaker board of directors (of which she has been a member of for several years).

While Brian Wilson was talking (effective speaker) I swung through a regulated state liquor store for some Jack Daniels in a circuit to check the parking meter.  I used some in my coffee after all this was over and I was back at my house, blogging.  Apparently alcohol is a touchy topic among some Friends as well.

Tom thought processing around alcohol had helped his Yearly Meeting develop practices and discussion muscles which carried over when it was time to address homophobia more openly.

Speaking of homophobia, some of the standup comics at The Bagdad last night were doing their best to gross us out about sex in general.  Anything carnal (means "meat related") can be gross, I agree.  Raw unadulterated first person stories tend to be better ice breakers than teachings delivered from on high as it were.  Comedians may be more effective than preachers, when it comes to stirring the pot.

In the Middle Ages (Europe), it was more common to see meat space as ugly (they had more disease, enjoyed less sanitation that many take for granted today).  The 'body beautiful' movement that came with the Renaissance hearkened back to ancient Greece.  The idea of sexuality as 'dirty' helped protect people from STDs.

A lot of credit goes to the film industry for helping elevate carnality to a higher art -- not just talking about MA-rated skits (aka porn) that take a cultural context for granted.  Real innovation creates a new context, doesn't just piggy-back.

I've been looking at some of the characters around the time of Louis IVX, thanks to discussions with a retired musician from Italy living at Leslie's house.  She specialized in music of that period.  Ms. Jeanne Guyon was spreading the mysticism of Quietism in his court, affecting his grandson, in opposition to Catholic orthodoxy.  Quakers were having an impact in that regard.

Thanks to Melody for sharing this instructional video about how to build a self-wicking planter from pallets.

After the end of the panel discussion, I mingled with Friends.  I told Sara Michner and Chris Cradler about Drunk History on Youtube, the one about president Harrison being my favorite.

Speaking of DIY projects, Lew Scholl (with some help from his Friends) has recently installed the new sound system and was giving it a workout.  Panelists used a hand-held mic to project sound from the several ceiling mounted speakers.  Special battery-powered devices allow especially hard-of-hearing individuals to jack in with ear buds.