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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Very Bad Baseball Poem

The park was filled with black and orange
and blue and white
and two neanderthal fans got in a fight.

Back and forth the cries did fly
Let's Go Giants! (shouted out with confidence and reliance)
Beat SF! (came back with defiance)

Let's go Dodgers!
Beat LA!
Neither side could hold the other at bay.

Orange rags swirling in the park
rally rag night - we swung those rags a lot!

Lowry ptiched a solid game
he gave the Giants no shame.
Alou yanked Corea pitching strikes all,
put in Stanton to pitch balls!

As oftimes happens cause our pitching staff ain't sound,
the Giants lost the game when the
closer took the mound.

Giants v. Dodgers
Friday, September 29

Giants v Dodgers
9/30 1:10PM

Giants v Dodgers
10/01 1:15

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Despite admonishments to stop tinkering, I continued to tinker. I've tinkered with words, line breaks, punctuation, images, foreshadowing. I think the poem is stronger now, tighter. And I have most definately kept the word "cunt." But here's the revision, as promised:


Home was my head nesting in the crook of your shoulder, protected by the curve of your arm
my finger running up and down the silky skin of your brown, muscular thigh
the touch of my lips on your neck, the sound of my whisper in your ear
your tongue easing my lips apart, our breathe mingling
while the sweet warmth of my cunt held you tight
a perfect fit.

Home was the weight of my worry and the shadows under your eyes.

Home was the rough stubble on your chin gently scraping my cheek
your hands caressing my curly, wild hair
the shower running in the morning, the coffee cup on the nightstand
and the notes we passed back and forth to each other under our pillows.

Home was the paired beauty of my strength and insecurity, your fear and tenacity.

Home was your scent, a mixture of chlorine and aftershave filling up the dresser drawer
my purple slippers tossed carelessly atop your loafers
your back snuggled against my belly, my arm thrown over your shoulder.

Home was watching you repair the cracks in the china teapot and wondering if it would ever be the same.

Home was the sun warming the deck as we sat watching the apple tree blossoms drift away from the green branches and fall reluctantly to the grass below.

Home was lost in a startling split second
made up of a million and one moments
of dread and despair that
had come before
had slipped in the back door, quietly, desperately, yet remained purposely ignored

until home was gone.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Would You Rather Have a Sedan or a Coup in Thailand?

The following is an email I received yesterday from my friends in Thailand, explaining their perspective of the coup:

I hate to send "mass emails", but please forgive me this one. So many have written asking about our health and well-being in Thailand with the "Coup" and all, along with the occasional "what the F- is going on over there?" question, I thought I'd write it all at once.

I have to start by turning back the clock a bit... The current PM, Taksin, came to office a bit over 5 years ago in a landslide election. He's filthy rich. At that time, he was #2 in Asia behind his do-nothing son, to whom he divested enough of his assets so he could qualify for Thai politics without "conflict of interest" (cough cough).

To this day, or at least, to yesterday, he maintained widespread support in the countryside inspired by his very popular populist give-aways. He instituted a "75 cents cures all diseases" program which bankrupted the rural hospitals and means they are now all run without doctors. He instituted a "village loan program" which promised every village $25,000 to disburse as they pleased (only later saying "of course, it's just a loan”). Most of the money went to buying consumer goods and the loans have mostly defaulted. He gave away a lot of "free cash" at polling time, no receipt required.

However, city folks caught on quick, as did the academia and the military. Soon after he won another landslide election for a second term, people started making noises about how he was, essentially, shaping Thai business law so that he could own everything from the national oil and electric companies, to the entire telecom sector, to all agricultural exports, to all media outlets.

Demonstrations picked up around the privatization of the electric utility. The courts said the process was not transparent and "rigged" from the beginning. This emboldened the protesters, who started to push on the reduced press freedoms that had been put in place over the previous four years.

The shoe really dropped when he changed the foreign corporation ownership law to allow 49% foreign ownership of telecom, then promptly signed a deal to sell his telecom company to Singapore and a group of Thai shareholder nominees, for a total of USD 1.9 billion. His paper profit was over USD 700 million. And, by doing it through off-shore entities and his children, he made it a totally Tax-Free transaction.

The demonstrations were huge and long. He said he wouldn't resign unless the King whispered in his ear. The king whispered many times in cloaked public statements, but it turned out that the PM had a hearing problem. So, the King called him summarily to his Palace in Hua Hin and took the opportunity to whisper a bit more loudly. This time the PM heard him, and dissolved the government.

Now, the Thai political system is a parliamentary one. So, while the next election is prepared, the PM resigns, names an administrator as acting PM, and the government takes on a caretaker role. That is, it signs checks and transacts whatever business is required to keep the country running, without making any new initiatives, passing new laws (except as relates to budget resolutions required to keep things running), signing treaties, etc.

The PM called a snap election for 30 days later. Only one problem. The Thai constitution requires 90 days for politicians to register with a political party. That means, no new faces could run, and no one could change parties. The opposition parties unanimously boycotted the election.

This created a small problem for the PM, and he used money to solve it. The Thai constitution requires that a candidate running in an uncontested constituency receive 50% of the ELIGIBLE vote. That's a lot in Thailand, because anyone over 18 and not dead is eligible to vote. In some constituencies, the dead still make up 10% or more of the votes too.

However, if you run contested, you only need a simple majority of 20% of the eligible voters. So, the PM set up sham parties and funded them to run against his candidates. Well, even the PM controlled courts couldn't swallow that one. They annulled the election and threw three of the election commissioners in jail for 6 years apiece.

Meanwhile, our Merry PM kept on running the country as if his was a real government, not a caretaker one. He never appointed an administrator, he issued executive decrees creating new laws, he signed treaties, and he gave civil servants a 15% raise to thank them for their support. The guy had balls, that's for sure.

He called an election for 10/15, but his election commissioners turned out to be similar crooks to the last ones. Everyone said it was going to be more of the same. He started making noises about maybe not being PM after the election, but just head of the party. Yeah, right. Did it matter? He had stacked the constitutional court, the election commission, the police department hierarchy, the bank board, the telecom commission, the anti-corruption commission, and got blanket permission from his party-controlled parliament to call a state of emergency whenever he thought fit.

The last timber in the log cabin he was building was the military. He saw it was time to make his big move to get out anyone in the military that opposed him, and put in his cronies. That didn't sit well with the power brokers in the military, especially since the military here reports to the King, not to the PM's office, and the King is not very happy with Mr. Taksin.

Yesterday morning, Taksin called a teleconference meeting of all the heads of the military at 8am Thailand time. He was in New York. The meeting was suppose to announce the final "reshuffle", and then be followed by a cabinet meeting. None of the military chiefs showed up for the meeting. When the cabinet meeting concluded at noon, it was pretty clear the cabinet knew what the no-show meant, even if Mr. T didn't get it. Half of the cabinet left for Singapore. Some went as far as France. The poorer ones went to Cambodia or fled upcountry.

At three o'clock, Gen. Prem, who, at 86 is the retired "moral" authority of the military, went to have tea with the King. It was supposedly to discuss funeral arrangements for one of their mutual friends. Yeah, right.

About that time, the PM ordered M-16 rifles to be issued to 180 special unit police officers, and he deployed them to his Bangkok residential compound. His son and daughter fled the country about the same time.

At about 6pm, Gen. Sonthi, who was later to lead the coup, entered the Chitralada Palace and stayed about 30 minutes. It is not known if he saw the King while he was there.

About 9pm, the military-run television station stopped airing programs and started playing patriotic songs (from the hit video "60 Years of the King"). A bit after that, Taksin tried to declare a state of emergency over the foreign ministry contolled channel 9. He was cut off in the middle and replaced with the same music.

About 50 soldiers were dispatched to Taksin's compound. The 180 police waved goodbye as they headed home and left the house to the soldiers.

By 10pm, all the TV and radio stations were under control of the military, as was Parliament, Government House, and all key points in Bangkok. By 11 pm the coup was essentially over, and a short announcement was made.

At 1am, the coup leaders and all the military chiefs were received by the King, and they stayed at the Palace until 4am.

At 9am, the coup leaders with all the military chiefs made an announcement that the old government was gone, that a civilian government would be named within two weeks, and that the first task would be to close the loopholes in the constitution which allowed the PM's rampant election and business corruption to succeed so effectively. After that (about one year?) there would be an election.

Essentially, the Taksin government had resigned but refused to quit. So, the military folks helped show them the door. Since there is no chance of a fair election taking place under current conditions, the King will name a new civilian government to set up the next set of elections. This is a procedure provided for in the Thai constitution.

All in all, this is a good thing for Thailand. I think I can fairly say that the military coup was no more "extra-constitutional" than the PM's resigned-but-not-quit government.

Boring enough! Kudos if you got this far. There will be pop quiz after recess! Thanks again for your concern, and I'll write again soon.

My note: Yesterday's Chronicle ran an article on the coup with the headline: Coup Stuns Thailand. Yet a picture alongside the article showed Thai citizens snapping pictures of the military and smiling (as though it were a party). Another picture showed a man offering a Thai soldier a flower. Folks didn't seem "stunned" at all. Hmmmm... I also read an online article in which some muckety-muck from Australia deplored the coup as an assault on democracy. Hmmmm again..just because you call something a democracy don't mean it is. Takes more than "free elections" to be a democracy. (I will try to track down links for the aforementioned articles and post them later.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Home was my head resting in the crook of your shoulder, protected by the curve of your arm.

Home was my finger running up and down the silky skin of your brown, muscular thigh.

Home was the touch of my lips on your neck, the sound of my whisper in your ear.

Home was your tongue easing my lips apart while the sweet warmth of my cunt held you tight.

Home was the weight of my worry and the shadows under your eyes.

Home was the sound of the shower in the morning, and the cup of coffee on the nightstand, and the notes we passed back and forth to each other under our pillows.

Home was the two of us walking along the beach, needing no words, content in our silence.

Home was the feel of the rough stubble on your chin and your hands caressing my curly, wild hair.

Home was the paired beauty of my strength and insecurity, your stability and dread.

Home was your scent, a mixture of chlorine and aftershave, filling up the dresser drawer.

Home was your back snuggled against my belly, my arm thrown over your shoulder.

Home was my sure hands kneading your shoulders and pressing the knots from your back.

Home was watching you repair the cracks in the china teapot and wondering if it would ever be the same.

Home was sitting on the deck with you as the sun set, watching the apple tree blossoms drift slowly to the grass below.

Home was lost in a startling split second made up of a million and one moments of fear and despair that had come before, slipped in the back door, quietly, desperately, and
lingered in the hall, purposely ignored

until home was gone.

Comments please - I've been fussing with this poem far too long. I would appreciate reader's response (what the poem makes you feel and think) and constructive criticism- what works, what doesn't. Thanks.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Atthuya, Thailand

Atthuya, once the capital of Thailand, had a magnificent temple and royal palace. In the 1300s, the Burmese sacked Atthuya, and later, the monarchy moved the capital to Bangkok, a more easily defendable site. Thai people now refer to the ruins in Atthuya as the Ancient City. We spent a morning in this city, walking through the ruins, up and down the stairs of chedis, gazing from the top of such chedis at the expanisve grounds. The ruins, as impressive as they are, only hint at what once was a temple and palace far more grand, far more impressive than the temple and royal palace in Bangkok. I walked through the Ancient City in awe, and often dumbfounded. And so I offer these photos of Atthuya, The Ancient City, with no further words.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The 100th Blog: Bird Documents Her Procrastination Technique

Today, I had planned to:

Sit in my big, red, comfy chair and grade a stack of student papers.
Do my laundry.
Empty my dishwasher.
Straighten up the wreck that is my study.

Prune my potato vine and sweep the balcony.

Take care of my personal accounting.

Instead, I took a four-mile walk with a friend, had coffee, yakked on the phone with my sister, and took pictures of what I was supposed to do:

The stack of student papers, waiting for me on the ottoman of my big, red, comfy chair:

My laundry (I have one clean towel left in the house):

The dishwasher full of clean dishes:

The shambles that is my study:

My potato vine and balcony:

And my cat, Cat (didn't need to do anything about her - she is low maintenance - course I am curious how she got from the balcony floor (see above) to the balcony wall...):

My personal accounting and the instruments by which I handle that accounting:

I did manage to empty the dishwasher. I have proof:

I am relieved that cleaning the toilet is not on the to-do list.

I wonder what I will do tomorrow.