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...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
Our relationship was forged to the soundtrack of Yoko Ono's magic,
frenetic, love-laden song, "Walking On Thin Ice." ( play song )

Archive for November, 2008

back door plan

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Sprit – foto by smith

I tried in my MySpace blog to choose “All The President’s Men” as the film I was watching. MySpace told me there is no such film. So I tried “All The President’s Men” the book. MySpace replied there is no such book.

This is interesting because MySpace gets its info from, and Amazon has three versions of the film and several editions of the book for sale. If Amazon knows it, why doesn’t MySpace show it?

I hope it’s just a glitch and not an attempt to censor because if it’s censorship they didn’t do a very good job – you can still get it to come up as a book by typing in “Bob Woodward” or “Carl Bernstein,” and as a film using “Dustin Hoffman,” “Robert Redford,” or “Alan J. Pakula.”

Just because reality doesn’t want you to know something doesn’t mean you can’t find out.

You have to keep your eye open.

Shady Lady K – foto by smith


a bowl of blog

Monday, November 10th, 2008

our kitchen fruit basket – foto by smith

Recent Notes From Backside The Mirror

~ ~ ~

As we walked into the 6 block square Abastos Market, one sidewalk vendor called low in English to me, “Welcome to the jungle.” So rare to be greeted with such truth by the money stalkers in the temple of Mammon.

Our previous visit to Abastos to buy a bed, the taxi driver warned us of pick pockets. Two weeks ago one of our gringa friends had her gold necklace ripped from her throat within 10 minutes of entering the market. Another gringo told us of taking a friend there and warning him of the pick pockets. His friend gsaid don’t worry, he’d been in some of the worst places in the world and had never been pickpocketed. He put his wallet in his shirt pocket and buttoned it. Once in the market he wanted to buy something so he unbuttoned his pocket, took his wallet out, and found it empty.

We’ve walked through the market three times and were left alone. Probably because we do not look rich (or even well off), Lady never wears jewelry there, and I keep my money in my tight front pocket. I feel a hand in there, it better be my wife’s.

~ ~ ~

I try to live and let live, unlike the Mormons, but enough is enough. Fresh out of the shower, a fly kept landing on my back where I couldn’t reach, so I got out the fly swatter. Usually that’s enough – they see the swatter and split. This one flew towards me instead and landed on my nose. That’s crossing the line. I shut the door, shut the window, hunted it down, killed it. On one level I feel wrong because it was just a fly following its flynessness – but while landing on my nose may have been just a small step for fly-kind, it was major mocking to me. Reality played its little joke, and I killed its punch-line.

~ ~ ~

This morning’s walk I was trying to think positive thoughts to jump-start my day when a small orange & black butterfly flew in front of me. I stopped to watch as it danced before my belly for 30 seconds then flew off. Just before I’d seen a hummingbird briefly land on an electric wire. Magic everywhere.

~ ~ ~

While adding flowers to our Mixtec friend’s Day of the Dead altar, I saw a peanut had fallen from the bowel. I ate it. Then wondered if I’d insulted her dead, and found another peanut to replace it. Discovered later anything still edible is consumed on the third day anyway.

~ ~ ~

We’re laying in bed cuddling 1,946 miles south of Cleveland when below our window in the street a car stops and sits blaring out “Walk The Dinosaur” by Was (Not Was). Not what one expects to hear south of the border down Mexico way. Last time I heard it was 3 years ago and 1,946 miles north.

~ ~ ~

And here for extra credit is a Zen clone koan: is one the end of zero?

Day of the Dead cut-out paper display – foto by smith


through a glass darkly

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Through a glass darkly – foto by smith

Throw a mass smartly – foto by smith


grass hopper

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

grasshopper – foto by smith

This summer, British and Italian researchers found that molecules in marijuana can slay the superbug methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

In recent years, compounds in cannabis or related molecules have been shown to slow the growth of lung tumors in mice, decrease hardening of the arteries in rats, and boost the egg-binding capability of tobacco smokers’ sperm.

It has also spurred hopes that these molecules (or similar ones) might prove therapeutic for traumatic brain injury, inflammatory bowel disease, allergic contact dermatitis, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease, among others.

Between 2007 and this summer, several randomized clinical trials have found that smoking marijuana can relieve pain in patients with nerve degeneration caused by HIV or other disorders. Compounds in cannabis also seem to reduce nerve pain and possibly decrease spastic movements in people with MS.

In the 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration approved an oral formulation of THC, the most psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, to treat nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. Later, it also approved it to boost the appetites of people with AIDS.

Patients who smoked cannabis reported significantly less pain than those who used dummy cigarettes.

– the above data taken from

Also from online searches and the street vine – grass eases pain, settles the stomach, builds weight, steadies spastic muscles, and relieves PMS, glaucoma, itching, insomnia, arthritis, depression, childbirth, attention deficit disorder and ringing in the ears.

From my own research, add an ounce of good grass to a quart of olive oil and put the jar in the sun to heat for 3 days, then let sit for 4 weeks. Massage the oil into your arthritic sore places to assuage pain. Or better yet, go online and search for the recipe for making grass salve with beeswax.

grasshopper – foto by smith


oh i wish i were . . .

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Friend or food? – foto by smith

One of our new friends down here is an 82 year young life traveler who’s famous for writing one of the best known TV ad jingles – “Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Weiner.”

When I become Dictator, I’m going to make it mandatory that everybody be happy. I’ll hire Happy Police, have them go door to door asking everyone if they’re happy – and if not, my Happy Police will do their little Happy Dance and sing “Oh I wish I were” to cheer them up.

I can solve the unemployment problem at the same time. There are lots of unhappy people and lots of the unemployed, so I’ll hire the second as Happy Police to cheer up the first. It’s a Win-Grin situation.

Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner!
That is what I truly wish to be!
’cause if I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner!
Then everyone would be in love with me!

(I asked him if I could use his name and got this reply):

Officially, the Oscar Mayer Weiner jingle is ascribed to “J. Walter Thompson Staff.” But hell, the assistant ad manager at OM, who just died, claimed it too. Success creates many fathers. Does it not. It’s mine, and I claim it. Actually, the first 4 bars are directly from the old barroom song, “I Only Want a Buddy, Not a Sweetheart.” I put it into 6/8 time and wrote the rest. It was done in May of 1962, recorded by Dick Trentlage’s kids at his home studio in Fox Lake, IL. Dick often gets credit, and I don’t blame him, because he shaped it. Later arranger Marty Rubensteing and I flew to Vienna Austria and recorded a full instrumental TV version, featuring the Vienna Philharmonic. And the jingle was nearly scrubbed because Oscar Mayer people began getting dirty parodies in the mail, and on some local radio stations. Thanks, Budd Blume

Interesting placed people down here. Met 2 other folk who used to room with Bob Dylan in college, and a man who was on the bridge with poet John Berryman the night he jumped to his death.

Yellow Blue Green Mitla Mexico – foto by smith


no body of evidence

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

dry leaves – foto by smith

Had a close friend who had his arthritis cured by acupuncture, so I thought I’d try to cure mine the same way. I expected a Chinese gentleman with thousands of slim slinky needles. Turned out to be a mid-30s Hispanic dentist looking dude in a small westernized office.

I had but one fact before starting – wherever acupuncture is trying to fix, the needles go in somewhere else because our bodies are interconnected, but its aura energy flow is never one on one.

The thousands of slim slinky needles turned out to be one electrode – he said this was Japanese electrical acupuncture. He poked my arthritic thumb, asked if it hurt, and when I said yes, he tapped the needle right into the sorest part. It or the electricity or both hurt like hell. He did three holes in the base of each thumb, all six extremely painful. I’m lying there squirming in pain, Lady and I both laughing at my misery, me through tears.

Afterwards he asked when I wanted my next appointment. Told him I’d wait and see if this showed any improvement. Since I see absolutely none yesterday or today, I won’t be going back. So much for that $30.

Still want to try old Chinese acupuncture though. Have this movie image (Body of Evidence, 1993) of a nude Madonna in an old dusty seedy shop lying on her stomach with dozens of quivering acupuncture needles rising from her body. Somehow my actual experience lacked that magic.

At least it was an adventure, albeit an unsatisfying and unproductive one.

We’ve begun another adventure – in the spirit of exploration, once a week we board an unknown bus and ride it to the end of the line where we walk around awhile, then try to figure out how to get back home. Our first try was last week. Bus took us east and south to an unknown little peopled place with no visible name. We walked an hour back and finally flagged a cab because we weren’t even close to home. Hope today’s unknown ride is more interesting.

south wall of Governor’s Palace – foto by smith


how sweet it is

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

x marks the spot – foto by smith

A black man in the White House. How deliciously sweet.

The CheneyBush Beast has been ousted. The Obama good guy won. In 77 days we can start washing the Republican slime from the White House and begin fixing our country again. God knows how much more CheneyBush will break and slime and steal and kill before we get them out of office. Once they’re out the White House door, we have to start working on getting them behind bars. Wonder how many pardons Bush will grant on his way out? Have to fumigate the White House, Congress, and the Constitution to get the Republican filth off it all.

Now to get back to normal life.

Coming and going from our apartment involves two metal doors with metal locks and catches – neither of which is quiet. The second floor parrot in the back can’t see me come and go, but he’s memorized the door sounds, so every time I leave or return, he calls to me. So I go back and talk to him for two-three minutes, just as I would any neighbor. And I spose I understand him as well as humans.

This morning he wouldn’t shut up as I visited – he squawk, chirped, whistled, made motorcycle starter sounds, all while doing his happy dance which involves skipping sideways across his bar cage then pulling himself up the cage wall by his beak to do a somersault back down to dance back to where he was. This he followed with a dozen perch rolls where he revolves around and around his bar like a mad gymnast on speed. As I left, he kept calling to me to come back.

I like my non-human friends. Most tend to be gentle, but I even adore the roof dog down the street that snarls at me each time we walk by and wants to tear me apart. I talk to all the street dogs we pass, and the few cats we see. I talk to the lizards. I talk to plants and trees. I talk to sun, sky, moon, pebble, stone, mountain. I talk with my eyes to all the babies and toddler tots, wave as well. A good number smile and wave back.

Most all my conversations are with Lady, babies, children, dogs, cats, birds, lizards, elements, and inanimate objects. I also talk constantly to the universe and local reality in general. Sometimes it answers.

I’m of the old American Native school in which everything has a spirit which must be respected. And I mean EVERYTHING – stone, water, air, cars, computers, animals, plants, earth, sun, moon, sky – even discarded pieces of plastic.

Just about everything in fact except Vice-Dick Cheney and his middle-finger puppet George WarCrimes Bush and their murderous fascist gang of thieves.

seed pod – foto by smith



Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

workshop of expression – foto by smith

David Sedaris on voters undecided between Obama and McCain:

“To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

“To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

“I mean, really, what’s to be confused about?”

Undecided by David Sedaris October 27, 2008, in the Humor Shouts & Murmurs section of The New Yorker.

~ ~ ~

Neck Ties

Not quite useless.

Good’s be said
for cleaning shades.
Or clearing dead
stun glass shadows
shallow stain.
Or wiping lip
off male stick.
Or camouflage
as one of them.

Ties that blind
in trying blend
tying love
to partner’s bed
binding lies
to kin for skin
they kiss instead
poor Sodom’s plot
near Salem’s sin.

not knots
for children bred
of ladies loose.
Or wine blood red
of jailer’s noose
when upward led.
Or wiping soft
spot baby’s head.

– Steven B. Smith, 1993

Day of the Dead installation, Zocalo, Oaxaca Mexico – foto by smith


day 2 of the dead

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

weird red faced duck in Mitla, Mexico – foto by smith

Woke Saturday night at 2 a.m. – the first night of the three days of the Day of the Dead – to trumpets blaring flutes fluting drums drumming. Opened the window and looked down into the street where a band was playing loudly while people danced and laughed and sang. Watched a figure in tall red satin robes flow from the dark side street to join the dance. They played and danced fifteen minutes, then went away. As I drifted back to sleep, I heard them take up again several blocks away. I love this place.

We were told by our Mixtec friend that the first night of the Day of the Dead altar, dead children can come and feast. The second day, dead relatives come, and the third day, any and all dead can feast. I say feast because the altars contain water, mezcal, fruit, candy, peanuts, golden marigolds, deep heart red coxcombs, candles, bread, fotos of the dead and religious, sugar skulls, etc.

Yesterday we rode out to Mitla to visit some Zapotec. The two brothers weren’t there, so we spent the day with the wife, one pre-teen and three teenage girls. There was a lot of laughter and goofing around – much more fun than if the men had been there because this is a patriarchal society. . . had there been men, the women would have been banished to another room and would only be seen when they served. With the men, there would have been much drinking of mezcal and smoking of marijuana, but with the women there was sharing and laughter instead. The youngest girl tried to teach me to dance but kept falling down with hysterical laughter when I tried.

The day left a smile on my face. Can’t ask for more.

one of the Zapotec children’s art – foto by smith


day of the dead

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

cemetery Day of the Dead candle lit wall grave chambers – foto by smith

Last night we saw trees full of very large swooping fruit bats. Then in the cemetery we saw our first live scorpion. Primitive to primitive. Fruit bats are called flying foxes. These must have been small ones because they were only two foot from wing to wing tip – they grow as large as 5 foot. There were dozens hanging in the trees, licking fruit, then dropping off to swoop in the street light and land again in the trees to lick some more – a night ballet.

We walked to the cemetery in the dark because Lady had heard there’d be folk walking around with candles. Some folk spend the night sitting next to their dead. When we got to the cemetery, we found carnival rides set up outside the entrance with food and trinket stalls up and down the cemetery wall. Inside there were thousands of candles, one in each walled grave chamber. The dead get to lie in these wall chambers as long as their relatives pay – once the money runs out, the sealed chamber is opened, the body removed to the catacombs, and the space is rented to the next dead body.

As we walked around the graves, we saw dozens of Day of the Dead sand paintings and paper mache skeleton brides.

Before the cemetery, we spent the day at a Oaxaqueño’s house helping build her Day of the Dead altar and making mole (a dark non-sweet chocolate sauce they pour over everything here, and which everyone but me seems to like the taste of). Once home, Lady created her own Day of the Dead altar for her grandfather. I just let my dead lay or lie in the lee. I figure they’re dead, what do they care. The dead are yesterday. Today is for the living and the eternally dying. Folk rely too much on yesterday death for their daily life.

Today we’re heading out to visit a Zapotec family in Mitla to look at the temple ruins and see what the dead are doing.

Mausoleum, Museum, Movie

Entombed in night, uneasy
In the wrought iron knots
Of the grey spider’s thread
  vague eternal, ember
They scurry replete, unfree
To such preconceived thoughts
As are hung from the dead

making a Day of the Dead altar – foto by smith


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