About Stellaa

Retired community developer/urban planner. Blogging, gardening and still working for social change and justice.

Isaac’s Live Lip Dup Proposal


It’s unanimous, 3.6 million views and about ten shares on my Facebook timeline I am supposed to be moved, charmed and teary when I see this video of “Isaac” in Portland asking his girlfriend to marry him.   Instead, I get disturbed.  What disturbs is that people find it compelling and loving, while I get the exact opposite reaction.

It starts with her being put into the back of a CRV, how mild mannered and innocuous, while a guy beats with aggression on a small Revere Ware pot.  She is captured. Then, slowly his friends, family come out dancing, singing, arms in the air.  The whole village is taking part in the abduction.  People say she loving it.  The Man appears in a suit and makes the proposal.  Now understand, this is in front of about forty friends and family members.  It’s as if they are saying:  ” we all like him, you should as well”.

What is her choice?  Embarrass him?  Say no?  Ask to think about it?  Kick his balls and run?

How is this romantic?  How is this charming?  It is contrived.  Contrived staged and videotaped for going viral.   Why did this contrived and I would say slightly violent act evoke such good feelings in people?    It reminded me of the scenes where the village delivers the bride to the groom as property.

But, it’s in Portland.  They drive a CRV.  They are modern.  The modern day abduction or rape of Europa comes to mind.  The story is that Zeus, enamored by the beauty of Europa, transformed himself into a white tame bull, the CRV, she caresses the bull and eventually climbs on the bull.  Zeus, then abducts Europa to Crete.

I don’t want to link to the video, I don’t want to give this guy more hits.  The young woman is not given the opportunity, or dignity of choice.  She is compelled by the collective ganging up to be enchanted and give in to the strapping bull who is going to document his conquest for the world to see.

How could she say no to such a display of love?  Desire?  We all agree.  She is not given a voice.  She is to submit to our agreed upon story of romance, display of affection and charm.  Modern day abductions are a collective viral display of the same violence done to women for eons.  The violence is that they should be damned pleased a man wants them and asks in a whimsical fashion.


Whimsical Paris via Song Virus.

This film short just made me feel really good in a very basic way.  Is it a caricature of Paris?  Who cares, it’s fun.  We all get caught in a song virus that we then pass off to others.

It’s a trite Julio Iglessias song, but I have hummed  it for days.  So there, now you are stuck.

A nine minute free Paris jaunt in the heat of summer.

June In My Kitchen Garden.


This gallery contains 8 photos.

Being a spoiled Northern Californian, I panicked with heavy late May and June rain.  I started pining for the droughts.  At least I know how to garden during the droughts.”What do you mean we have two inches of rain? I … Continue reading

Zebra Days

I am in the midst of what I call Zebra Days.  Have you ever watched the television nature programs where a lion chases a herd of zebras? The lion eventually catches one and has a tasty dinner.  The zebra herd does not look back.  They keep running.  Adrenaline racing through their system.  After a while they slow down and graze in peace.  Anxiety, even in Zebras, takes a break.

We live in constant Zebra days.  A state of fear of impending environmental, economic, medical, social and political catastrophes is hovering over our heads. Daily streams of information populate our minds.  We wake up to droughts, famines, floods, poverty, addiction, crime, earthquakes, illness, death streaming through our news sources.

It’s not even the cataclysmic disasters that are keeping us in this Zebra state.  The cumulative impact of all the  austerity measures on the poor, the elderly, the disabled is enough to keep you in a state of pure zebra fear.  The disregard for the children, their education and welfare in the guise of austerity and reform makes me tremble.  The young people entering the work world with low wages and a complete disregard for the welfare of workers.   Worse of all, is the feeling that there is no glimmer of hope around the corner.  Our systems are failing.  Power is in the hands of a few without a clear commitment to a just society.  A commitment to a shared outcome.  We have been blown asunder into millions of individual entities struggling for survival.  Like the Zebras, we run.  We know some will get caught by the lion.  The problem is that the lion does not let up in our situation.

No wonder  May 21st, the Rapture Prophecy captivated our imagination.  What a relief if it would be if all the catastrophes we fear just happened tomorrow?  We can then go on and get off that high anxiety mode our constant zebra days. Harold Camping guy is really offering us a release, a nice distraction of collective glee.  We can dramatize all the dooms in a nice package and have a laugh.  The dooms and catastrophes have always been with us.  But we had time to not think about them.

We just need a glimmer.  A light.  We cannot live like zebras.  Actually, zebras, get a momentary respit from the chase.  We do not get such gifts.  The prophecy of the Rapture is the only relief we have, at least until tomorrow.  Wait, the Mayan calendar doom, December 21, 2011 is up next.   We can prepare for another fun distraction.

Hollywood: Culprit in the Anti Science War

I don’t usually buy the excuse, “the movies made them bad”,” the music made them kill”.   I do make one exception for Hollywood.   Hollywood has put America on a steady diet of fantasy, monsters, super heroes and crypto religion so that they can sell the super duper special effects.  In the end, we get subtle and not so subtle messages that are a steady anti-science stream.

Look, I am no spoil sport, I love to play and imagine, but take for example the movie I watched yesterday while ironing.  Yes, I iron.  Knowing, with big star Nicholas Cage.  A movie where even Roger Ebert, called the best “science fiction he has seen”.

This is the set-up: 1950’s school puts a time capsule to be opened fifty years later.  All the children are to write notes to the future, one strange little girl, the nerdy child, does some strange numerical gibberish writing.  Jump to the future, Nicholas Cage, recently widowed, MIT astrophysicist, raising his so clever nerdy son.  At the opening of the capsule, the son gets the note.  Cage, after the son is asleep, figures out what the numbers mean.  They are a prediction of all the major global disasters.

Yes, you guessed it, 9/11 was the key clue.  Cage as a physicist, doubts the whole notion of intent, heaven etc, but pretends for his son’s sake.  To make a short story long, in time he realizes that this note predicts the end of the world.  But you see, there are these “creatures” aka “angels” who are talking to the children who were open to the prophecy.  Cages’s father is a minister.  In the end, the angels save the children, the two white children and two white bunnies, to recreate the world after it is burned to a crisp.

Movie after movie, the scientist proves to be a fool.  The religious fantasy is really the truth. The prophecy  attributed to the child in the fifties is straight Book of Revelations stuff, from Ezekiel in the Old Testament.   Mr. Ebert, with all due respect,  this is no science fiction, this is religious messaging.

The title “Knowing”, of course, the only ones who know are the ones who believe.  Then we wonder why Americans doubt science and scientist.  Their politicians and their loved art forms always portray them as fools.  Fools who don’t have faith in the super natural.  Fools who are wrong.  The ones who are always right in the movies who sell us loud sounds and phantasmic imagery, are the “believers”.

Subliminal messaging of the rapture for profit is reprehensible.  Yes, there is a Rapture industry of movies and books, but when it seeps into our culture and even critics like Roger Ebert do not call it what it is, no wonder they dominate the culture wars.  Who said Hollywood is their enemy?  Hollywood, if there is money to be made, will sell you and me anything.

In the end, Cage the scientist, like Ezekiel, goes back to the bosom of his father, the preacher.  Together they wait for the rapture, knowing his seed has gone off into a spaceship, with a little girl, running through a field towards a tree.  A tree reminiscent once again of the root of original sin.  They showed various spaceships leaving Earth, but they only focused on the two white children.

So, when the American voter doubts climate change, evolution and other scientific findings, it’s because he has a steady diet of scientists, for Pete’s sake, even MIT astrophysicists, who are proven wrong in these story lines.  Time after time, Hollywood tells us, the winners are those who believe in pixie dust, angels, monsters, vampires, gnomes, devils, gods and demigods, salvation, damnation, you name it.

Science fiction is a genre that I used to enjoy.  Religious narrative invades our popular culture and science is sidetracked.  Scientists are fools because they don’t believe.

Someone is wrong on the internet…

I became that little creature at the keyboard.

I tell you, they are wrong about many things : politics, art, food, music, philosophy, family, travel, relationships, love, values, sex and wrong about you.  They invent and project from their perspective a narrative of you, then you get caught trying to defend yourself .  How does this happen?

You see, I am a self-declared early adopter.     I look for new technologies and jump right in to use them.  Early adopters dare to explore and invent ways to use the internet.  Early adopters look for the toys the clever developers give them and get on the wave for a ride.  Early adopters go with the fluidity of the medium and don’t mind the initial glitches.  Word is that we are only about 13% of the internet world.

Some people look for fashions, we look for new uses of the technology.  My Guccis and Dolce Cabanas are geeky boys and girls who design pretty techno gadgets and clever ways to use the gadgets.  My Coco Channel is Steve Jobs.   Also, I don’t think that Apple like Channel will lose the brand if Steve is gone.

Early adopters have learned that there is a cycle to platforms, applications and technologies they use.   At first it’s fun.  Early adopters populate the place willing to live with glitches,  break barriers and explore.     After about two years, the  regular users, aka the laggards,  move in and change the landscape.   They bust down the doors and of course, they disdain the early adopters.  They find them elitist, cliquish, ornery.  The oddity is that they were attracted to the place because the early adopters made it interesting.  Soon, they make the new place ordinary, regular and dull.

In blogging platforms , they bring along the heap of musty thinking and writing.   They bring what they call their common people touch.  A set of avuncular men and dotting women create a vicious circle.  There is particular distaste for the early adopter woman.  The mediocre conventional male despises women who dare to be early adopters.  The mediocre conventional female, joins with the mediocre men to gain favor as not being a particularly threatening woman.  So, they create a circle that is flirtatious and malignant.  Nothing with mediocre, but sorry, not my cup of internet.

They start calling women who are outspoken, “mean girls“.  Once you get branded a “mean girl”, they give themselves permission to dehumanize you.  The typical idiot will say that the mean girl “hates men”.  In truth, mean girls like me hate banal, unthinking and lazy people.  Mean girls catch you when you are not consistent.  When you copy and paste internet urban myths as original material.  When you are a plagiarist.  When you manipulate the people who obviously have emotional issues with pandering and lies.

Soon you start recognizing the psychological pathologies.  The pathologies create a mutual sustaining society.  For each pathology there is a corresponding pathology that feeds itself from another.

  • You watch as the bipolar obsessive is cajoled by the needy lonely avuncular.
  • The manic hysteric is mothered by the “good ladies” league, given hugs, and “support”.
  • The narcissist seduces the meek.
  • There is one particular type that I cannot find a name for, typically a male.  The male who feels that all the women and minorities took his birthright to the dominance of American society and to the gifts of that society.  Most often, he will often quote the Federalist papers.  The ladies think he is smart.
  • The martyred woman.  She suffers and talks about her suffering.  The lonely man is looking for a martyr, so he gobbles up the tales of woe.
  • The  ladies man.  He can say they same shitty things a mean girl says, but he is loved by the ladies and avuncular for being a dragon slayer.
  • The guy who wants to be Art Buchwald and the woman who wants to be Irma Bombeck.
  • Then you have the psychotic who smears and others cheer.  ” The world is filled with predators and pederasts” she warns.  The chorus joins in and they follow the smears, the booking pictures and tawdry tales  The crusader.  A crusader I tell you, a crusader who along the way tarnishes everyone’s experience.  The obsessed mono topic crusader.  Posting gibberish and gossip. Now you get it, there is a Nancy Grace audience.  Blech.

In time, the early adopters leave.  The landscape becomes soiled with the voices and people they were trying to avoid.  I recently stuck it out at Open Salon thinking that I could buck the cycle.   I lost my early adopter mojo.  It felt like I was rotting intellectually.  I became captive to the  small bandwidth of toxic spew and missed all the cool new things that are being developed by the clever geeky boys and girls.  In defending myself I lost myself.

My advice, never stay in a platform for more than two years.  It’s why the Brits make good television.  They end the run before it becomes stale , like let’s say : Everybody Loves Raymond.  No, no.  As a card-carrying early adopter, I don’t want to be loved by everybody.  Everybody is who I am avoiding via the internet.


I really am not that much into modern musicals.  I lost my love of the musical with Rent, that overhyped play with a stolen libretto from La Boheme, a lame story line and simply one bad song repeated to exhaustion.  Yes, yes, it had a message.  Sorry, Angels in America had the AIDS message.

Julie Taymor, who gave Broadway the Lion King , was charged with making Spiderman into an overproduced musical that would cover the globe.  The musical element was coming from Bono and the Edge.   After six delays for the official opening and over 180 preview shows and a critical shellacking that Obama would not envy,  Taymor and the Bono team are gone.  New director and new songs will come in to save the $68 million investment.  The new opening date is June 14th.  New director and new songs the idea is will save the investment.

Taymor worked on the production for nine years and now apparently she is stepping off because of a “scheduling conflict” according to the Producers,

Spider-Man” remains one of the top-grossing shows on Broadway each week, usually earning $1.3 million or so. So far roughly 180,000 people have seen the musical, which has earned more $18.3 million at the box office after about 15 weeks of preview performances. Most musicals have about 30 previews, then open, but “Spider-Man” has been changing constantly through the winter as Ms. Taymor dealt with technical glitches and complaints about the clarity and appeal of the story-telling.

The New York critics have problems with complex story line and the bad production look for all that money.  The critics hated it.

There are a couple of issues with this fiasco:

  • How do you take a comic book cum action movie and try to change it into a musical?  Tricks.  Lots of tricks.  In the meantime, we lose the possibility of the art form.    The Fantasticks, the world’s longest running musical?  One piano, a handful of actors, simple story line and amazing songs.  Gripped audiences for decades.  Sure, there is room for over productions, but why does everything infantilize?   Of course theater has is an attraction these days,  an over production.  We have to include all our tricks.  We don’t know how to limit ourselves.  The simplicity in art is eluding us.  We should not be spoon fed all the imagery, feelings and ideas.  Let the mind imagine and wonder when experiencing the performance.  Like nudity, a bit of a look is more scintillating than total nudity.
  • Like Hollywood, the Producers focus grouped the play using the New York critics.  The critics, like the people who comment on blogs, etc, inserted themselves and made the process interactive.   Art now is not from an artists, it is interactive and pandering.  “Tell me what you want and I will give it to you. ”  You can be lazy, you can be comfortable, but don’t bother we will take care of you, just give us your money.  Give us your adoration and we will put you in the cradle and rock you into sublime aesthetic and intellectual numbness.

So, the creative people become industrialized and our appetites become processed and focused to our limited band width.  No wonder we are afraid of others, no wonder we get confused and frustrated with political complexity.  Art is a place where we can practice our entire humanity, not just our ten-year old pleasure zone.

Regretting a Click

Go ahead admit it, you accepted that friendship on Facebook with someone you shared a passing acquaintance.  You liked their writing, ideas.  In time, you start seeing bits of their personality and you start getting that feeling of being in your house alone, and in the basement is the creepy mass murderer, stalker, Nazi, or zombie who populates your nightmares.

You want to un-friend but you know in your heart of hearts the wacko will lose it and come after you.  It’s not a real fear, but it’s that regrettable click action that you go back to.

But, then you say, c’mon, what kind of chicken are you?  If you risk nothing, how will you live?  In a bubble of clickophobia.

It’s nothing you can put your finger on–after all it was your finger that got you in this mess– but it’s the links, the You-tube videos that you find disturbing.  I talk myself down, c’mon, Freedom of Speech.  But it’s the street sense that jumps in and says, ” fuck freedom of speech, no one admires that”.    Look, out of  200+ people, you are bound to pick up that 1% reflective of the wider society’s creepizoid element.

The Aesthete Left A Book

He was established.  A man of substance.  A man of culture.  His books were complicated and not widely read. He had pith. He was a short man.  Insignificant one might think.  If not for meritocracy, he would have been overlooked. But he knew there was a right way and a wrong way, his mother had expectations.  He was an established thinker in modernist aesthetics.

He admired the wild thinkers.  He courted them.  He thought by being in their circle some of the magic of the wild thinker would rub off on him. Yet, he was always a small man.  Stature and character.  Some may say miniscule.  Yet, he was an aesthete who was charged with moulding the thinking of the next generation.

Established and serious aesthetics of the predictable fashion.  He left one artifact, a book.  A brilliant book worth reading:  Seeing Is Forgetting The Name of The Thing One Sees, A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin. The man was forgettable the book was not.



Sentimental Musing On Fathers

It’s not Father’s Day.  I was just looking at my nephew’s Facebook page and the pictures of him with his little baby girl and realized that my family, as a rule,  makes great fathers, uncles and brothers.  Simply great men.

The mothers, sort of prickly as a group,  but the fathers,uncles and brothers, are  stellar.  I  have a hard time relating to bad father stories, or bad men in general stories.  My memories are filled with uncles who taught me geography, arithmetic, who made me giggle, who teased me, who cried and who loved.  Men who achieved great things and had great catastrophes.  When they were at their height, the maintained their humanity and compassion, when they reached their depth, they had  dignity and humor.

We have a range, from the stern father to the easy going playful father– same for uncles.  But, they always gain our  respect and adoration from a young age to old age.  There is a way that they all hold the babies.  It’s that hug I remember from my own father.  Loving and tender.  Yet, you know, that wherever you are, whatever you do, they will be there for you.  They will move the heavens for one of the children of the family.

When I was in college, I remember reading about certain tribes in Africa, where the maternal uncles doled out the discipline.  Well, in my family, they dole out the love and support to their nieces and nephews.  The common thread was teaching something to the younger ones, teaching them of a passion.  Then the child, grows up with that memory of the uncle who taught you how to draw, taught you about colonialism, taught you about language groups.

Back to my nephew, I watch as he engages in the family catastrophic thinking for his baby.  Imagining and anticipating any and all dangers to his child and protecting her.  Talking and giggling with her. But, I know, that he like the others, will never make her feel that she is “a weak little girl”.  That she is lesser than.  That she is an after thought.

I don’t think my family needed a study to tell us to talk to babies.  My grandmother had a saying:  ” give the gift of your words to your child”.    And that is what they all did.  They talked to us.  They passed on stories, knowledge, humor and wisdom.   Now, don’t mistake any of this with sainthood.  None were saints, they were human and somehow we knew it.   And we all still adore that group of men, so glad to see the next generation picking up the tradition.