I’ve been foregoing other creative ventures lately because I’ve been so excited about this baby coming (I’m 9 weeks along). I got the itch to paint a mural in the baby room, and banged it out in a weekend. A forest scene from Where the Wild Things Are, one of my favorite children’s books. I had so much fun doing it, I’m thinking about starting a mural biz. I have my first gig already, painting my friend’s son’s room with a farm animal theme. I’ll post pics of that soon. Whee!
Dear Mr. President:
Let me congratulate you on your new position as president of the United States of America. I’m The Dude, a beagle/basset mix in San Francisco, California, and I don’t know much about red states or blue states – heck, they wouldn’t even let me vote. But I do know this is a great place to live if you’re a dog.
My guardians adopted me from a rescue organization that brought me over to the States from Taiwan, one of the worst places in the world to be a stray, since most of them get euthanized. I got a second chance at life coming to this great nation of plenty, but I hear there are lots of dogs that live here who need good homes, too.
You and your family will be terrific dog guardians, and that puppy you promised your girls will be one lucky pooch living it up in the White House. I just ask you to consider adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization, to be an example for America to see they don’t need to get a fancy, expensive dog from a breeder or a pet store filled with products of puppy mills, when there’s plenty of perfectly good puppies who have been abandoned and need a leg up. Petfinder.com or your local SPCA are both great places to start looking. My parents found me on craigslist where my Wonder Dog Rescue foster mom had posted a listing about me.
Happy puppy hunting, and good luck to you in your new job. I hear you’ve got your work cut out for you, but I think you’ll do great. Maybe someday I can come visit your family and the First Dog. I’ll be howling your praises over here on the West Coast.
As translated by his guardian, Cassy Lee
If you would like to send Obama congratulations or a compelling argument that his new puppy should be from a pound, write to:
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680
or send an email through the new Obama/Biden site, www.change.gov.
I am on a hope-filled buzz. I devoured Jane Goodall’s memoir “Reason for Hope” last night; its message fanned the flame that had been ignited in me on election night, and now it’s roaring.
Goodall was just in San Francisco, lecturing at the newly renovated Academy of Sciences. I knew of her (she worked with monkeys, right?), but not much, so I found this book and read it all last night. She is an extraordinary woman, though she didn’t start out with any special skills or talents to make her that way, she just followed her passion and now she’s giving back to the world in huge ways. Growing up in England, she read books about animals in Africa and always wanted to go, and when she was twenty-three she saved up enough money, as a secretary and a waitress, to buy a ticket. She met Louis Leakey, a naturalist working in the National History Museum in Kenya, who hired her as his personal assistant because of her enthusiasm. He was the one that gave her the big break to study chimpanzees, even though she didn’t have a degree or the slightest idea how to begin.
She ended up spending the next twenty-five years studying the behavior of these animals that no one had observed closely before. During that time she created a research center, got her Ph.D., and published her ground-breaking discoveries. She has since gone on to become a world-renowned lecturer, animal rights activist and conservationist (Jane Goodall Institute), and humanitarian (check out her work with youth – Roots and Shoots). She has a deep faith in God, and though she has encountered many struggles and seemingly hopeless situations, has also maintained a deep faith in humanity and our potential for good. She believes that just as we evolved physically over time (her scientific and religious beliefs are not incompatible – how refreshing!), we are also evolving morally, each generation improving upon the next toward a more compassionate and loving society.
“Each one of us matters, has a role to play, and makes a difference. Each one of us must take responsibility for our own lives, and above all, show respect and love for the living things around us, especially each other. Together we must reestablish our connections with the natural world and with the Spiritual Power that is around us. And then we can move, triumphantly, joyously, into the final stage of human evolution – spiritual evolution.”
We have come a long way as a species, and we are improving all the time. She quotes Ghandi in the book, saying “If you look back throughout history, you find that every evil regime is eventually overcome by good”, and just look. Bush is on his way out, and Obama in. What more proof do we need that old ways of thinking are dying off, and new, better ones are growing stronger? And that is truly reason for hope.
I only had a few hours this year to check out the Alternative Press Expo and it was sensory overload as usual. There were hundreds of booths I could have spent days poring over, but whizzing through there were some definite highlights for me. Briana Miller, a local Bay Area cartoonist, had a beautiful series of aviation inspired postcards, delicate watercolors of handmade clothes, and a poignant comic titled Simple that I had to have. Swallow Me Whole, a graphic novel by artist Nate Powell published by Top Shelf, caught my eye. Just from flipping through the pages, I can tell he’s created a dark, emotionally complex world for the main character Ruth to navigate, and I can’t wait to dig into it.
Chris Ware was also there and gave a talk. He showed his latest animation for This American Life, and responded to audience questions, discussing everything from how he chooses colors to what it was like to work with Ira Glass. His process is to start with a basic script and plot line for a story, then to go straight to it without preliminary sketches, working on Bristol Board from the top left down. He says just like having a plan in life, it never really works out the way you thought it would, and you have to be open to changes and “happy accidents”. He says you have to learn to “trust in yourself and how your mind is organized to show you the way.” His intentions with his work, which is sometimes accused of being depressing and dreary, is “not to pound hopelessness and self-doubt into the readers, but in fact, the opposite.” The structure and beauty of his drawings are meant to show there is meaning and purpose in life even if the character can’t always see it. The colors he picks are to him “a naturalistic view of what the world looks like to a child squinting, and the black line is all that we’ve been taught superimposed upon our initial impressions.” Lately he’s been keeping a sketchbook journal of his daughter’s life and that’s keeping him very busy.
I went to the wedding this weekend of two people who love each other very much, and who happen to be two men. They were my next door neighbors in the last apartment building I lived in. Two lovable bears who have been together for seven years, they are obviously soulmates and I can’t imagine either one of them with anyone else. Like my husband and I, they treat their dog like a big baby, and we often bond about how our “little ones” are doing. Their wedding was cause for celebration, and my only fear is that after Tuesday, it won’t count for much.
We have a chance to vote down Prop 8 on November 4. It is a proposition that has spread fear and lies in its campaign and creates law based on discrimination. I am especially concerned with the number of churches and religious organizations funding this campaign, and was frightened by the number of Yes on 8 signs I saw and horrible lies I heard when I left the safe bubble of San Francisco and ventured to Orange County recently. I am a Christian and I believe God calls us to love our neighbors, and not to judge others. There was a time when my husband and I could not have been together because of laws discriminating against interracial marriage. I cannot possibly support a law that keeps two people who love each other from expressing their commitment in this way.
Sadly, it appears that Prop 8 will pass, and I have approved the comment of one of the proponents of this scary brand of Christianity below so you can see what type of person voted for this. Apparently they miss out completely on Jesus’ love for every single one of us, and the part about removing the log from your own eye before getting at a speck in someone else’s. We have come so far as a society and Barack Obama as our new president is proof, but we still have so far to go. Every civil rights movement will have its challenges, but I am hopeful that change is here, and will continue to come until all people are treated equally. Thank God!