living with war: help spread the word

The new Neil Young record is pretty fucking great. If you don’t believe me, listen for yourself. (I don’t know how long they’ll keep streaming it for free, so go check it out now, while you can.) Sure, there are a few weak parts, but when you consider that Young wrote, produced, mixed and released the whole thing in two weeks, it’s pretty fucking impressive. And, despite what his detractors may say, it’s incredibly pro-America. It’s painfully clear in every song that Young believes in, and loves, this country and its people. He just wants for them to have the competent, honest, inspirational leadership that they deserve. And that’s where the anger comes in.

If you listen and like what you hear, do me a favor, and start telling your friends. And, perhaps more importantly, start calling your local radio stations. The CD’s not going to be available for sale until May 9, but I’m thinking that some stations may receive copies in advance. (It’s going to be available for download on the 2nd.) It really is a brilliant piece of work and people need to hear it… So, please help get it played where ever you can.

Posted in Art and Culture | 3 Comments

to the junkie who threw his needle into my garden, thank you for putting the cap back on first

I spent all day working on the little patch of land that’s going to be our vegetable garden, turning over the soil and picking out roots, weeds, rocks and garbage. The best find of the day was a really nice piece of chert, which, given the strike patterns on its surface, must have been produced as a by-product in the making of some sort of primitive tool. Considerably less exciting was the discovery a few minutes later of a used hypodermic needle that someone must have tossed over from the alley… One wonders what an archeologist in the future would make of a place and its inhabitants based upon these two data points. They’re kind of sad bookends for human history, don’t you think?

I wonder how heroin and cocaine affect the ph-balance of the soil.

Posted in Mark's Life | 17 Comments

the satuday abortion protests in ypsi

I’ve written about the recent protests against the planned abortion clinic on Washington Street, but I haven’t written about the counter protests yet. For the last few Saturdays there have been counter protesters on each of the corners at the intersection of Washington Street and Michigan Avenue, holding up sheets to obscure the blown-up photos of dead babies held up by the anti-abortion protesters. (Sorry for the grisly image, but I thought that you should see what it is that the counter-protestors are trying to keep people from seeing.)

I talked with a few of the people holding sheets and they tell me that the response from passers-by has been overwhelmingly positive. They also mentioned that a few of the people holding up the sheets with them were pro-lifers. I didn’t verify that, but I can see how it would be possible that someone from their side would find this particular approach distasteful.

Following is a clip from a note I received recently from Shawn Neal, one of the organizers of the counter protest:

…Every Saturday for the last month, there have been several Pro-Life groups setting up shop in downtown Ypsilanti outside a women’s health clinic-with huge, graphic photos of the remains of partial birth abortions, blighting the streets and harassing women who seek council inside. (see articles attached)

While some of the protesters are linked with the Christ is King Church in Ann Arbor, most of the demonstrators bus in from out of town, some from as far away as Minnesota.

These images, while extremely graphic (NSFW), are also misleading as they are the results of a 3rd trimester, partial-birth abortion performed in 1987; which is NOT being performed at this clinic and have not been performed in Michigan since 1996, and has been banned in the US since 2003 by the 108th Congress. (There is however a provision allowing the procedure if the life of the mother is at risk.) While we respect the right of this group to assemble peacefully in protest of abortion, we DO NOT condone these methods of deception, sensationalism and obstruction of women seeking this clinic’s services…

In the tradition of the Laramie Project and Angel Actions, our counter protest will be limited to pairs of volunteers holding up large sheets, obstructing the graphic images from public view and passers-by. This will be a peaceful, silent counter-demonstration, as we will NOT engage in any sort of heated debate or arguments.

I suspect that if you show up next Saturday, they could use some help… I’m thinking about showing up on the side of the anti-abortion protesters with a white lab coat saying, “Forensic Vagina Inspector,” and a sign saying, “Your Womb Will Tell Your Secrets.”

Posted in Civil Liberties | 27 Comments

being interviewed by the wall street journal

A reporter for the Wall Street Journal just tracked me down to talk about the idea behind Zombie Claus. He tells me that they’re expecting a zombie attack in New York and they’re trying to prepare. If anything comes of it, I’ll let you know.

I wonder what I’ll look like drawn in dashes and dots.

Posted in Mark's Life | 7 Comments

i need a bike

I need to find a new bike. The mountain bike that I’ve had for the past 15 years is killing my back. I need an old man bike, one with really high handlebars that I can ride sitting up straight (like Almira Gulch in “The Wizard of Oz”). As I’ll probably never really ride it outside of Ypsi, which isn’t terribly mountainous, I think a single-speed bike would be fine, or maybe a three-speed. Basically, I just need something to get me to the co-op, post office, bar or park and back. I don’t need anything fancy — just something that I can put a baby seat on.

I went to the bike shop today and looked at their Schwinns. They seem pretty cool, but they’re a bit pricey. If possible, I’d rather find something used. So, if anyone knows of a local group that’s rehabbing and reselling old bikes along the lines of what Bikes Not Bombs is doing in Boston, Community Cycling Center is doing in Portland, Bike Works is doing in Seattle, or Recycle-a-Bicycle is doing in New York, please let me know. As much as I’d like to give my business to the local bike shop, I’d rather work with a politically/environmentally-motivated non-profit… especially if it means saving a few hundred dollars.

Oh, and I should mention that I wouldn’t really mind having a “girl’s bike.” It might actually be better if I had one that both Linette and I could use.

Posted in Mark's Life | 7 Comments


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