The following portion of the United States Code looks to be very relevant for today;

4 U.S.C §8(i):

"The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard..."

Subsection (d) also has some important things to say, most notably that,
"The flag should never be used as wearing apparel..." (emphasis added).

Domestic protestors sometimes associate the flag with the Federal Government, burning the former to express displeasure with the latter. Other dissenters treat it with the utmost care and respect, waving it to show contrast - its symbolized noble democratic values against the government which has supposedly failed to achieve them. Military officers show the utmost respect towards the flag, and bestow upon it the honor of draping the coffins of those who have died in its name.

All of these uses credit the flag with an important symbolism which invokes a visceral emotional reaction. Those traditional uses of the flag have become the minority in recent years however, and the general respect and importance credited to the flag has been trampled upon by the masses.

No longer is a flag carefully hand woven and respectfully tailored, never touching the ground and burned with respect after years of flying. No, today the flag is cheap synthetic fabric tailored at the hands of foreign laborers and shipped overseas next to cheap plastic Happy Meal toys (if they're not one in the same in the first place). Flags and flag designs are second thoughts attached to t-shirts by thrifty merchants eager to capitalize on our patriotic fervor. Flags aren't raised by a white gloved clean shaven Marine at the break of dawn; today flags are hastily attached to lapels before press briefings to assure others of our dedication to the American cause. Flags are carefully attached automobile windows so they can valiantly flap down the interstate and proclaim upon our German-made, Saudi-powered cars our intense love of America.

Flags are paper plates, matching napkins, and silverware to balance our hot dogs on while we watch the fireworks. Flags are funnel cakes powered with sugar, Red #4, Blue #16, and scalped at $3.75 to a public eager to show its patriotism and fulfill its appetite in one fell swoop.

The flag is expressive of our citizens. It is a reflection of our values and morality. Perhaps now it reminds us of our vanity. Our willingness to overlook the fact that our patriotic purchases contributes to a very unpatriotic trade deficit in order to stay in the holiday spirit and show our American colors.

I long for the day when the flag is treated with the respect it deserves. I would rather see a hundred flags burn because they symbolize the American government or its democratic ideology than see a single paper plate flag rot in a waste bin never to have evoked a feeling in anyone.

Apparently Addien did a very similar node a while ago. I didn't see it until it was softlinked. Props should go to her for writing on this two years ago.

I've had a rather productive day. I started out by de-cluttering the downstairs (the second floor is Ben's responsibility to keep clean). Of course, I left the cave (Ben's computer room) alone. That's Ben's territory, and even if I wanted to organize it, I don't think Ben would appreciate it very much. But our house now looks completely barren!! And we have a dining room table (which was previously buried under miscellany).

Afterward, I started to wash down the high chair. My father used this high chair when he was just a tot, and (I think) Steve and I used it when we were tots. I'm pretty sure it hasn't been painted in around 40 years, and even harbored bonus 20-year-old food gunk in places! I realized after I had washed it that the paint was coming off, and I was only using dish soap and water. Oh well, we were going to repaint anyways. I think I'll paint it, as I haven't had a whole lot of experience in that field and I think I'd really enjoy it.

Then after the high chair (which I didn't finish, because it was a bit too toasty out), I fed Isaac his first cracker! We really enjoyed the crackers; him eating them and me watching him eat. Of course, I gave him the crackers on my newly vacuumed floor. I also cleaned and disinfected our (not-so-new) new wine glasses which I purchased at a garage sale ($2.50 for a box of 8 glasses!!). Garage sales rock!

After repotting a couple of plants, I made dinner. Which was lovely. We had baked salmon, wild rice and sweet corn with wilted spinach salad. Ok. I know "wilted spinach salad" doesn't exactly sound appetizing (especially since most people don't like spinach), but it really wasn't that bad. Wilted spinach salad is: strawberries, mandarin orange slices, mushrooms and sliced green onions served on a bed of wilted (slightly cooked, not the "left out in the sun too long" variety) spinach, splashed with a bit of homemade vinaigrette. The original recipe suggested sprinkling crumbled bacon and chopped hard-boiled eggs atop, but I left those out. If I make it again, I think I'll either include the bacon or make a stronger vinaigrette, because the salad smacked a bit bland. We also drank fruit juice out of the wine glasses just for fun (and because we didn't happen to have any wine).

We will finish such a lovely day by watching Johnny Depp in "The Secret Window" whilst eating French Silk ice cream. Double yum.

You'll never put your finger on it, but there's just something so different about the altered state experienced through the combination of dxm and marijuana. Highly recommended is to bribe a sober person with gas and snack money, to drive you around town, to go into the convenience store for you and buy cigarettes and a slurpee, for your consumption while they then take you on a nice middle-of-the-night highway drive. Just sit in the passenger seat. Bug out. Try to define where exactly you are. You are on the road, in a car, in New Jersey, travelling in some direction....note the drugs' combined effects upon your field of vision, your perceptions, enjoy the feeling of being totally lost in space....

Even just walking across the room to the bathroom to take a piss becomes a real adventure on the effects of this substance, when your body just feels like its a hollow puppet filled with tingly just imagine how 'Six Flags ride'-ish it will feel to fly down a highway at 60 or so, just watching like an imax film, looking straight ahead and it looks like you're only doing about 10 miles an hour....

i'm certain that the supposed third of people who try dxm that hate the effects are those, the desperate high school kids who can't find legit, illegal drugs and think that robitussin is a substitute. this is wrong. put the two together, and they'll balance out nicely...and you'll have a damned interesting night. if drugs aren't your thing, more power to you, but I for one enjoy the feeling of being a body-self-snatcher, an alien trapped in my own body....

here, i'll save you the effort

i decided once that i was going to coax my heart back
from my sleeve to the bones that protect it.
for a while this seemed--
not really comfortable, but safe.
and we all like just a touch of security, don't we?
and i guess that maybe one day i realized that it wasn't
other people or ideas or the air around me that was breaking me,
but myself. and i do this, sometimes, still. you've caught me in those
moments. or to be more exact, i've looked for (and found) you in
those moments--when i'm feeling less than whole and i'm
listening for sounds of breaking in the overwhelming quiet.

it's always easier to find your way with someone,
but you are truly never more lost without them.
memories can do strange things. i've gone
over what-ifs and could've beens in my
mind until i was sure that i was quite mad.
these thoughts are, i think, a sort of malady that
both people with intense guilt and people heartbroken
because they're sure that they cared too much share.

and i don't know, really, what i'm trying to convey with all of this...
these words and ideas and bits of thought that are all
a little disconnected. i've been doing so well
these past couple of weeks and that almost manic feeling
of wanting not really to fix the world but to share a piece of the sky and
say a few words that last longer than that night or the next day...
i want to do something that matters and with you--i feel a
little helpless. maybe not always, but right now. yes.
i don't care to be hugged when i'm shaking from
the inside. i assume, wrongly i know, that everyone
feels what i do and how i do. know, though, that i am wanting
right now, to offer more than words--a hug or a lap to put your head in
and words or silence, whichever makes it less difficult to breathe.
you've been more of a friend than you could know. take care
of your heart, please. don't misuse it and don't neglect it.

given to you,
saved for me.

(i needed it)

She's in the hospital, so I'm visiting, and helping take care of the kids. There are about nine other things I "should" be doing, but at this moment, being with them seems the most important.

Last night, I was tucking my girl and Estee in, then went to brush my own teeth. When I came back, Estee was sitting up, crying. So being the mom that I am, I bundled her up in a blanket, held her on my lap, and let her cry.

So she and I whispered together, and she said, I miss my mom. I told her I know. I asked if she was worried, but no, she just missed her. I was for a moment honestly relieved for the (apparent) simplicity of six-year-old emotions. And yet, I worry for the complexities her feelings will develop into later.

These childhood emotions seem fairly straightforward. I'm sad, cuddle me until I feel better. I'm scared, reassure me that everything is going to be okay. I'm angry, let me lie on the floor and kick and scream until I'm done.

Adult emotions, on the other hand, are far more of a stew. Depression, anger, heartbreak, confusion, misunderstanding. Passionate love, joy, adoration, commitment, duty. Often all mixed together, to make your mind reel in confusion. Heart jambalaya.

How do I help someone in crisis? How do I help several people in crisis, all at once? One dear sister dying of cancer, another deeply depressed, several close friends with marriages breaking apart, another good friend with cancer, he and his girlfriend madly trying to make babies, with death looking over the transom. And all the children, wishing to understand, fearful, not knowing how to help, what to do, but mostly scared. Just. Scared.

So I reassure them. Yes, everything is okay. Yes, mom will get better. Yes, cancer is curable. Yes, I will be there to take care of you. Yes, everything will be okay.

But I long for a strong shoulder to lean on, and someone to tell me that, also. Not them but me, yes, Chris, everything will be okay. It will all work out.

I'm also of an age where I know this is not always true. People fight cancer, and people still die. People leave the people that love them, to look for their heart, and find that the next love is no easier to find, or to hold on to.

There are times I'm convinced that it is easier to be an island, as a single parent. I am also sometimes convinced of this, having dated on and off (mostly off) for more than six years. Most of the time, I believe that I can manage everything I need to, and that depending only on myself is easier than trusting someone else enough to open myself up, and let them in. Then, I get swept off my feet. I become convinced that it is possible, that love is possible, that being vulnerable is worth the risk.

Right now, at this moment, is not one of those times.

I want my island back.

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