Gunner Palace is an eye-opening documentary about a group of American soldiers living and working in an old palace of Saddam's in Iraq. It shows them playing guitar, using their laptops, swimming in the pool, raiding family homes in the middle of the night, and driving around getting shot at. It's a side of the war they won't be showing on CNN.
If you know someone thinking about enlisting, suggest they watch this first...
Meeting American soldiers over the summer, many expressed frustration that folks at home, accustomed to quick televised victories, had simply lost interest in the war and had changed the channel to the more entertaining reality of Survivor and American Idol. The War had become an event, something to be watched from a distance without consequence.
I walked into “Gunner Palace” in September 2003 with a simple desire to tell the soldiers’ story - to capture what we didn’t see on the news. To do so, I left my personal opinions and my preconceptions about the war at the gate and tried to get as close to the subject as possible. I looked at the subject not as news, but as living history; an experience, not an event.
A year later, I wonder how the Iraq Experience will be defined in twenty years: will the voices of those who were there shape the collective narrative, or will we see the experience through the lens of Hollywood?
In the words of a soldier, "For y'all this is just a show, but we live in this movie."
I took my Canadian citizenship test today and I am happy to report that it was easy!
The propaganda booklet they gave me to study beforehand is funny, it makes Canada sound like some kind of utopia. It's not as perfect as it sounds, but it's definitely a blessing to be here.
A Look at Canada
Canada is a large country with a small population. We have developed a unique federal style of government that is based on compromise and co-existence. We value our democracy, and every citizen is encouraged to do his or her share. Our laws are based on our democratic values. Canadian values include:
Equality—We respect everyone’s rights. Everyone has the right to speak out and express ideas that others might disagree with. Governments must treat everyone with equal dignity and respect—two other fundamental Canadian values.
Respect for cultural differences—We try to understand and appreciate the cultures, customs and traditions of all Canadians, whether they were born in Canada or came here from another country.
Freedom—As Canadians, we enjoy basic freedoms, such as freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of peaceful assembly.
Peace—We are proud of our non-violent society and our international role as peacekeepers.
Law and order—We respect democratic decision making and the “rule of law.” We promote due process so that the courts and the police treat everyone fairly and reasonably. We ensure that our elected governments remain accountable to Canadians.
I just sent off an article for the December issue of the new magazine The Urban Hippie. I've linked to an online version below.
Buyer be Aware: Conscious Consumerism
Everything available for sale represents people that worked to get it to you. We can make choices that affect how our money circulates in the world. Many consumers choose to buy items that are made locally (or at least inside the country) whenever possible. Others choose to support local merchants, buy used items, or do their holiday shopping directly with artists and craftspeople.
Here's a selection from the Daily OM inspirational newsletter. I just started reading these, and some of them are fabulous.
By learning from the example of our winged guides, all of us can feel empowered to take on daring challenges as we chart adventurous courses. Feel the strength of others moving alongside you, as their presence lends power to your wings during this journey across the sky of life.
When the fear gets intense
you can let it pull you down
you can face it and use
its intensifying momentum
to energize the New.
I had an intense conversation the other day with a friend's father. We were talking philosophy, and he referred to the will (seated at the solar plexus) as the "little voice" that guides us in the moment. He said you had to trust and love the little voice, as to do otherwise is to doubt yourself.
This 1943 article gives advice to businessmen about special considerations for hiring and managing female employees. Remember, the people reading this were probably not accustomed to working with women, and many were probably uncomfortable about it.
No matter the time in history, sometimes gender stereotypes apply to an individual, sometimes they don't.
Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees
6. Give the female employee in garage or office a definite day-long schedule of duties so that she'll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.
Here's a gem from today's TUT ("totally unique thoughts") newsletter...
----- Original message -----
From: "The Universe"
Subject: TUT... A Note from the Universe
Once you realize, Margo, that everything you've ever been through -
every scuffed knee, lost deal, and broken heart - will eventually play
wildly in your favor, it’s kind of hard to complain. You know?
It is my great pleasure to be exposed to some of the most powerful art happening in the world today.
Visit this site and see how it resonates with you...
Elfintome Online Catalogue
The elfintome visionary arts collective is designed to celebrate the spirit of the human creative imagination. As a medium for inspiration and evolution, visionary art is a cultural response to the current planetary healing crisis. As a spiritual toolset for creating sacred space, this art Work brings glimpses of the wondrous and divine elements that beckon from beyond.