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In the middle of the vacant lot behind our southern California apartment complex sat a rock about the size of a huddled hog. The shortcut path to my elementary school through the goat head thorn infested vacant lot passed around it. I'm not sure how the idea took root in my mind, but I became increasingly focused on that isolated desert rock.

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After school I'd go dumpster-diving behind the apartments, pulling out empty condiment bottles. They were all glass in those days, and no matter how carefully you scraped out the dregs there were always remnants inside. An empty ketchup bottle hurled at the rock yielded a satisfying explosion of glass and left a red starburst against its side. Another trip to the dumpster and I added layers of mustard yellow and mayonnaise white. The smashed glass made its own mosaic of colors around the base as I thrilled to the sounds of breakage. Smucker's Orange Marmalade -- smash! The dark glass of Mrs. Butterworth's Pancake syrup-- crash! The shattering of a green pickle relish jar -- yes!

Day after day, smash after crash, I created layer upon layer of colored shards and blooming stains. I'd stomp down the bigger shards of glass. I'd circle the rock, studying the palette, deciding where the next burst of color should land. Once an overly full bottle of soy sauce transformed half the rock into the dark side of the moon, but a bit of sour cream in a tub whitewashed the error so I could start anew.

I never felt angry while smashing things against the rock, never screamed or cried or felt any particular emotional release. But years later when recalling that apartment complex my dominant memory was of my parents yelling and fighting with an unchecked, alcohol-fueled anger that destroyed our family, raging through the endless cycles of recrimination and regret before their marriage hardened into charged silences and long absences. They still fought back then as if things mattered or could be changed. I stayed outside until dark and climbed into the dumpster and smashed the hell out of everything breakable I could find, trying to turn those dregs into patterns pleasing to the eye and the ear.

Anger is the energy of change. Anger is the upwards rush of energy that gives us the power to say enough of this, I can't take it any more; the energy that breaks things apart so the new pattern can emerge. Anger is the energy of the seed that's been dormant underground all winter, the force that unfurls the seedling and pushes upwards, hard against the blanket of heavy earth. That seed has to get mad to push against what's holding it down. Anger is the triumph of that new shoot pushing up out of the ground, fulfilling its destiny to become what it was designed to be. When carefully and creatively aimed and channeled, anger is the energy of growth.

Whether to create or destroy with that potential energy is up to each of us, but channel it we must.

February 13, 2013

Thanks to tonight's Top Comments contributors! Let us hear from YOU
when you find that proficient comment.

from gchaucer2 from last night:

Good evening folks -- I'd like to offer my biggest guffaw of the evening during Jed's liveblogged State of the Union when Rubio had just taken a big gulp of water during his major SOTU rebuttal. biloxiblues' instant observation: He's no Bobby Jindal. 
from Noddy:
In order to find out what gchaucer2 doesn't have, you must first read elmo's comment  in mckennamiller's diary, "Dear POTUS: Why do I have to be someone's daughter for you to think I deserve rights?"
from politic:
The Bard's got nuthin' on our very own Onomastic, who waxes poetic in kos' "space" diary.
from Melanie in IA:
In kos' The Hagel Flail, quaoar imagined Lindsey Graham would threaten to filibuster himself if nominated, and Mother Mags noted the consequences of such an action.
from Youffraita:
SilentBrook had the Top Reply to Dale regarding Bible-thumping in ReversethePolarity's diary, Krugman Takes a Dump on Our Petty Sense of Humor.
by Thomasina: (who beat me to it!)
In today's * NEW DAY - Aren't 80 years of the Redskin slur enough?, host Meteor Blades started a great discussion of inappropriate and offensive sports team names. Read the thread that ensued after DerAmi suggested a potential new name for the horribly named Washington team.
from LinSea:
and also referencing the New Day diary above, MeteorBlades educates us about team mascots and nicknames and how they remove Native Americans' cultural and ethnic identity.

February 12, 2013

(excluding Tip Jars and first comments)

*Got mik!

  1) Hey.  I learned to type on a manual. by zenbassoon — 449
  2) It's like the double tap at the end of a sentence! by detroitmechworks — 212
  3) going for the water was better than... by Glen The Plumber — 125
  4) He looks like a predator Chris Hansen just caught by Trix — 115
  5) I'll let Charles Blow speak for me by Vita Brevis — 104
  6) LOL by joanneleon — 98
  7) Would someone remind of the time of the service? by llbear — 96
  8) It was as if he maintained eye contact, by mama jo — 94
  9) Twitter is exploding. by Eileen B — 91
10) Here's something to share by Dustin Mineau — 86
11) Obamacare saved me by TriSec — 85
12) T&R for facts by BOHICA — 85
13) It appears that by gchaucer2 — 84
14) Absolutely ... by A Siegel — 84
15) Few watched the speech but EVERYONE will see... by MazeDancer — 83
16) Friday, 3pm EST. by commonmass — 83
17) The Internet is becoming too important by Mannie — 81
18) He looked uncomfortable from the second he... by Hey338Too — 77
19) For your social networks... by Dustin Mineau — 77
20) I was practically BEGGING him to by Muskegon Critic — 76
21) A repeat from a previous thread. by TigerMom — 76
22) Right, like he'd sneak it in. by joe from Lowell — 75
23) I learned to type by Noddy — 75
24) I've seen this law make widows cry by mph2005 — 74
25) SNL is already locked in on Rubio's water bottle by crystal eyes — 74
26) Facts are funny things... by Dale — 70
27) AND on top of all of your other points.... by Floyd Blue — 70
28) one more difference for you by Keith930 — 69
29) For those of us who learned  to type by StellaRay — 69
30) Or paused by joanneleon — 67
31) Ask True Blue Majority, Wee Mama (both preists) by commonmass — 67
32) You turned out to right the last time, by blueoregon — 67

February 12, 2013

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