Finally, some good news that ordinary humans can relate to on the counter-terrorism front. Who knew? -- the way to a terrorist's heart is through his stomach!
All kidding aside, this brief piece from The E&P Pub, titled "No Torture Needed -- Cookies Did the Job", says a lot:
Fascinating piece coming in tomorrow's TIME magazine. Reporter Bobby Ghosh writes, “The most successful interrogation of an al-Qaeda operative by U.S. officials required no sleep deprivation, no slapping or ‘walling’ and no waterboarding. All it took to soften up Abu Jandal, who had been closer to Osama bin Laden than any other terrorist ever captured, was a handful of sugar-free cookies.”
Former interrogator/member of the FBI Ali Soufan, who testified to Congress last month, tells TIME: “He was a diabetic ... We had showed him respect, and we had done this nice thing for him .... So he started talking to us instead of giving us lectures.” Ghosh points out, “Defenders of the Bush program, most notably Cheney, say the use of waterboarding produced actionable intelligence that helped the U.S. disrupt terrorist plots. But the experiences of officials like Soufan suggest that the utility of torture is limited at best and counterproductive at worst.”
She started to die as she bent over the cat-toy basket, pawing through the stuff of feline play for a ping pong ball.
With a sudden loud belch, and a strangled cough, out popped the ping pong ball, slightly dented, and she was dying no more! Her pride was similarly dented, however, so she stared at her human, anticipating the mandatory post-near-death-experience ear-scritching with what she considered an admirable level of patience, under such trying circumstances. After said level of patience was finally exhausted, she stood, arched her back, and heaved once more.
Her owner exclaimed in loud protest until she noticed that the cat was expelling diamonds from her mouth.
"Pussy Galore!", her human cried. "You've come home!"
I was going to say ... You know you're seriously middle aged when you lose your glasses. When you seriously lose your glasses and they're the only pair you've got 'cause you sat on your backup pair last week and haven't gotten around to replacing them yet; when you can't do sh*t without 'em; when you resign yourself to tearing up the house for them and end up semi-squashing them with your hand while you lean on a raised cat bed to creak your way down to your knees in order to look under the back of the couch.
I'm thinking about Mother's Day, so it might appear strange that I would head this post with a photograph of two men embracing. But the feeling this photo invokes in me is that of being mothered...and of mothering. Of simply being tender with another ... of tending and being tended ... embracing, heartfully containing ...
I don't know who the ecstatic gentleman is in the patterned shirt ... The man wearing glasses is my friend Joe, who was one of the most deliberately gentle souls I've ever had the grace to meet. Joe and my cousin G~ were wed for about eight years; these two men were and are mothers, through and through. Joe died in his bed, beside his sleeping mate and their dog, in a state of tendresse...*
What do I mean by that ... that men can be mothers?
About six years ago, I had lunch with another man, who is a professor of religion, a devout student of Tibetan Buddhism, and a goofy, gracious and gentle friend. R~ spoke of a core belief in his spirit's tradition -- that we all have been one another's mothers (and one another's children!) during the multitude of lives we have lived. When R~ said that, everything in me hushed ... I instantly sensed a truth in the statement. By extension, R~ said, we all have an innate capacity to be mothering.
My Sweet Man is a mothering person; in fact, he's more mothering than I am. That's just the way it is. By his example and relational choices, I have learned and aborbed so much about cherishment ...
Another man I was once in love with and had a year-long allurement with via phone -- he lived on another continent and we met only once, at my younger brother's wedding, but the once was enough -- told me that Making love is making a cup of tea for someone because you want to ...
((( melt )))
Dear mothering men of the world ... You are cherished ...
* Once upon a time, I wrote down a quotation -- a translation into English -- by Czeslaw Milosz: his understanding of tendresse, which appears to have no equivalent in English ... I can't find the quotation anywhere online or -off ... If anyone knows what I'm referring to and can lead me to what I've lost, many thanks! ... In the meantime, tendresse (pronounced, roughly, "tawn-dress") is the state of feeling that Joe lived, loved, and died in ...
Sometimes I am clumsy, even in grace; I broke the gold raku bowl your Nana gave you today 'cause it was in my way as I shot across the coffee table after Aja, or was it a fly. But dammit, I'm cute,sez Vida, the Naughtiest of Naughties, as she moves on to commit the mischief of Scriptus Interruptus on her word-nerdy, constantly inward-bound lady-human.
Vida gets in my face ... in G~'s face ... in little Aja's face. Vida gets into all things strawberry and ice cream, and watching her make paper 'n' cracker mince out of a bag of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish is like seeing a Maserati go from 0 to 60 in a flash. Vida bawls constantly for her favourite game: Humans Whizzing and Flicking Little Balls of Paper Up and Down the Hall. Vida and her bro have smashed to smithereens several of their humans' long-loved pieces of pottery, and they are deconstructing our Guy Chair (G~'s overstuffed movie-watching command center, and my get-lost-in-a-book nook), one thread or blob of foam at a time. We say Will you look at that and Get out the vacuum, honey and ~sigh~, I'll miss that piece and Oh, well,and then we clean up the mess and stuff the chair-bits back into the chair and consider our humble abode and our naughty kittones, and we love every moment of our lives.
Vida reminds me to do this ... to love every moment of my life. Vida's a grand teacher, 'cause she's in my face (on the counter, in the tub, on the bed when I'm trying to make it, on my lap when I'm on the loo) pretty much all day long.
If I had it to do all over again, I'd become a plumber.
(Albert Einstein ~ !)
I found this quotation at Trinity Stores (http://www.trinitystores.com/) ... along with the iconic picture you see. The words of the master had me doubled over with laughter last night ... You see, our little apartment needs a plumber in the worst way. We have a leak under the kitchen sink ... our toilet's a cranky old thing ... and water shoots every which way from the kitchen faucet. I have no doubt that dear old Albert would have made an ace plumber.
Take a boo at the blog; you'll find me there, in one of three guises: Pushing Fifty Gently... is where I sass, opine, and worship my cats. The Quoteable I Ching is here to honour a wisdom tradition that I follow and revere ... and A Post-Cynical Seer chronicles one soul's deeper currents and journeys. Otherwise, I'm likely to be upending my home in search of my glasses, tripping over cats as I go, and spilling my tea. I'm no longer pushing fifty ... Fifty's pushing me!