10 July 2009

Libations Friday! 10 July 2009

Featured today: Video of how astronauts drink coffee from an open mug in space and a short essay about the CIA on why it is important to write in order to change the world as you know it, plus a couple of great quotes.

Coffee Photo by once and future @ flickr

Astronauts Drinking Coffee from Unusual Mug in Weightless Space

From Denny: With this video who needs a coffee recipe this week? This was so unique I just had to share it with you!

Did you see this video yet? An astronaut sips coffee from an unusually designed mug to accommodate weightlessness in space. He explains how the mug works to enable an astronaut to drink coffee without resorting to the old school way of sipping out of a plastic bag. They use this mug design for rocket fuel tanks too. Really interesting; take a listen!

On to the writing portion of Libations Friday:

From Denny: While I have the CIA on the brain because of the latest news, let me tell you a little bit of what it was like growing up in that extreme sport atmosphere of the intelligence community. Every country has an intelligence community, many far worse than America’s, some a bit more benign.

Generally? The intelligence community is one of prolonged sustained high stress levels that cause people to get out of balance. Because they say and do so many things contrary to good character and just plain common sense – all in the name of saving the country – they often turn to addictive substances to sleep at night. There is a high rate of alcoholism in both the military and the intelligence community. That should tell you they are off course on a lot of issues. It should also tell you that human beings are simply not hard-wired for long-term stress.

What’s more, as in the military community but with more destructive consequences, there is the culture of “How dare you tell me I’m wrong, I will never apologize, I’m above the law so I can do what I want because I will never be held accountable” and “You are not allowed to question or challenge me.” This goes for the CIA officers as well as their families. Routinely, when CIA wives try to divorce they are screwed over by the CIA as they will not verify income and so the wife and children get nothing unless the husband is willing to do right by them. That’s just one little peek into the world of living with these abusive people.

How well I could write if I were not here!Image by Esther_G via Flickr

When CIA officers beat their kids or their wives, again, there is nowhere to go for help. The law is useless and - unless you have built up your own personal network among unrelated groups of people in case of an emergency - you are basically toast out in the field with your parents. What is not discussed or released to the news media is who and how many wives and children of CIA officers are killed in foreign countries while the husband is on assignment there. What they also don’t tell you is how foreign powers as well as American Presidents - to a man they are always Republican - use the families of CIA officers as pawns and cannon fodder in their creepy power games. One side kills the families to provoke the other side and the innocents never see it coming. So much for believing they are patriots. Patriots don’t kill the innocent and their young.

So, with this small amount of back story in mind you will better understand the following short essay written for an online writing group when they started a thread asking other writers what motivates them to write. When I saw that thread the immediate thought that went through my head was, “Are you kidding?!”

Why I Write

It's like breathing - because you can. Of course, it helps the breathing when someone you never met suddenly pops up in your little corner of the world and tells you something you wrote meant a lot to them. Then you're left wondering as to how you managed to be a catalyst for someone to gain a new awareness or just plain feel better about themselves. That's when it crosses over from the internal dialogue, jumping over the imaginary boundaries so many people erect for self-protection and into the world of others with similar internal dialogues humming in mass cacophony.

Sure, like others here, there were those teenage years. I grew up in the intelligence community where meanness, abuse and lying became their indelible trademark and I challenged them on it continually at great personal risk. Well, I'm still here.

Their life philosophy was diametrically opposed to mine. They believed the sword was mightier than the pen; I declared the pen was mightier than the sword. I drove them crazy, as relentless as they were to break my spirit I just pushed back harder to wear them down. I always figured the honorable are obligated to stand against the dishonorable; it's a gatekeeper mentality. Why allow truth to become a casualty in this world? Not while I still breathe. Besides, it's the artists and writers who sculpt the world into meaningfulness for the greatest power is in transforming mindsets.

My father stole and then burned my teenage writings, especially the ones written at age eleven when my mother died. The writing convicted him of his heavy guilt, as he was guilty of much, both what he did for a living, my mother's untimely death by his hand and his choice to throw away everything about good character his parents had taught him in exchange for a world of illusion that only brought pain to others. Those writings weren't written to him or about him. Just goes to prove the point: The pen really is mightier than the sword.

I keep breathing - because I can.

Denny Lyon
Copyright 12 June 2008
All Rights Reserved

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