The root of the problem

Rape is a crime against sleep and memory; it’s after-image imprints itself like an irreversible negative from the camera obscure of dreams. Though their bodies would heal, their souls had sustained a damage beyond compensation.

Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides

roots bistroI found the image on

As usual I’m late to the party and the folks at Roots Bistro have already been internet-shamed into changing their sign.

The message is emblematic of a way of life:  violence in America is such a part of the culture that it’s easy to include a reference to it as part of a marketing slogan and with the usual marketing humor thrown in, as the photo from Houston, TX illustrates – I learned of it the same day as the bombing at the Boston Marathon.

Prior to seeing this sign, I’d had this image of restaurants that featured “local-organic-green” as being supporters of small local organic farms, of being sort of hippy-dippy. Now I’ll be wondering twice about the type of person who’s working in the restaurant.

Rape & Suicide

How long has Law & Order: Special Victims Unit been on television telling people about the victims of sexually-based crimes?  Hasn’t anyone in law enforcement learned about the vulnerability of teenage victims of crime, especially rape?

We sometimes hear that it’s not fair to an alleged perpetrator to have [most often] his name “smeared” in the press, his life “ruined” by news of the crime being made public. I’d argue that is true no more than with any other crime. But what about the victim? Doesn’t she deserve anonymity? While times have changed so that law enforcement officials, attending medical professionals and the press no longer regularly release information, “friends” of the alleged perpetrators or participants now make photos or videos of the crime public via the internet or other electronic means.

So, recently, in addition to the tragedy that befell the rape victim in Steubenville, people in the United States and Canada learned about two girls who committed suicide after having been raped; not only were they gang-raped, but their rapes were made public by vicious peers who posted either photos or videos online of the crimes; I wonder why these enablers haven’t been charged as accessories to the crimes as they apparently did nothing to prevent the crimes from taking place.

If anyone thinks that women who have been raped aren’t considered “damaged” then just dig into the archives to December of last year or to 2010 you would find similar stories from India and Morocco, of young girls committing suicide after having been raped and then having been told by the police to marry their attackers so the girls’ families wouldn’t suffer shame. In Morocco a young woman attempted suicide after her family rejected her after she had been raped.

There is the case in Michigan in which an 18-year-old man had been charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl, who killed herself. Charges against the man were dismissed by Judge Brian Oakley after the prosecutor’s office stated it did not have sufficient evidence to proceed without the testimony of the victim. The perfect crime.

What’s so hard about background checks?54 yes 46 no

Something has to be because these 46 United States Senators voted against the bill, thereby killing it. Four Republicans including John McCain voted “Yes” and five Democrats voted “No.”

Trip to California

With my housing situation settled I went to make my reservation online to fly back to Mexico after my two week stay in the States in early May. My financial institution has some quirks in its account database that makes a non-United States address very non-conforming to other databases, such as the airline’s, so my transaction was declined because one database has a zipcode while the other doesn’t, and one has “Gu” as a state while the other has “Guanajuato”.

I then tried to verify my information at the financial institution, but couldn’t login to my account because I was using my landlord’s unsecured network and the bank’s system didn’t recognize my computer as one I had previously used for transactions, so I was presented with challenge questions and …. in the end I had my airline reservation. But I was exhausted after entering all the information for an international flight twice and digging through records for information used once or twice a year.  None of this was possible or necessary only a few years ago, and now it is a way of life.

My day

Yesterday afternoon was extremely warm – most would call it “hot” – as the temperature broke 90 F (32 C) – some said it reached 94F (34 C). Late in the afternoon, in that brief interval when there was a breeze, I walked to Bodega Aurrera to grocery shop. On the way, on calle Santa Julia, I passed a mother and her son, who were headed home after he spent the day at the day care at CASA. He was nestled betweeen a car and a wall in the shade and she was gently coaxing him “camina, Jorge, vamos,” but she knew that he was just seeking shelter from the strong sun. This is a time of year when greens in the tiendas and mercados and supermarkets look as wilted as the humans who shop for them. It is often difficult to find crisp greens and vegetables here and the shops try to sell their current inventory as long as possible before redordering and/or restocking.

Even as early as noon, when I stepped outside after the UU discussion group ended, it was warm, The topic yesterday was “Friends” and it was an interesting discussion. One pattern I noted is that many men quoted facts or stories or epigrams they had read or heard or told stories or spoke of hypothetical situations, while many women spoke from their feelings or experiences. Nothing earth-shattering there except for the fact that the differences were so well delineated.

The only way I was able to get to the discussion group that early in the day was that I did not make coffee or breakfast at the apartment. Instead I took it at the cafe at the Biblioteca where I ordered huevos rancheros; the dish was so flavorful it took me back to the first time I had good huevos rancheros many years ago while on the way to Big Bend National Park. It was at a Mexican diner outside of San Antonio and it was the first time I had tortillas served in a basket, corn tortillas so fresh you could smell the masa; the salsa had a tang and kick to it and a freshness that you just knew someone in the kitchen knew how to cook and took pride in what he or she served. Either that or they didn’t know any better.

Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 “Aria” (Villa-Lobos)

The original composition is scored for eight cellos and soprano; this performance reflects many of Villa-Lobos’ early compositions that were scored for guitar.

Original lyrics in Portuguese by Ruth V. Corrêa: translated by Joel Sattler

In the early evening floats a cloud transparent and rosy
Infinite the sky of beauty and dreaming
Then the Moon appears as day comes to a closing
Decorating sky as if a girl that’s preening
Who so anxious tries to make of herself so purer
Yearning deep in her soul she seems to be
Crying to the sky and to the earth and all Nature

Silent all the birds stop, listen Moon is complaining
And the sea reflecting the pain, her splendor
Softly now you know the Moon is just waking
Homesick with the feeling that weeps while it’s laughing
In the early evening floats a cloud transparent and rosy
Infinite the sky of beauty and dreaming


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