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Meteor Blades (UID #6)

I would use the word 'radical' but the word has been demolished by bad press.

So, chalk me up as a Popular Front Democrat: way way left on economics; libertarian on the Bill of Rights and drugs; rightwing on the 2nd Amendment; ultra-liberal on social issues - including reproductive rights (except I like the idea of gender-segregated schools for secondary students); democratic socialist on health care; off the charts on  nationalism and the environment.

Or this?

Every time I see the name I get a flashing image of a warrior skating powerfully through the stars in the galaxy.  In the dark of outer space, the blades on his feet are shooting off sparks, shaving off small pieces of asteroids that fall to the earth in recognition of his passing.  He's going somewhere, a look of determination on his face, his long black hair flowing behind him, a golden bow on his back--some strange vision of art from old picture books of constellations, myths and fantasies.  Frazetta should paint him.

And the name? For those who've missed his explanations in the past, here's a recent one:

Several years ago, after I left the Los Angeles Times, I started a one-man business acquiring and selling antique keris and Indonesian textiles to private clients. Keris are daggers, most ceremonial but some (especially in Bali) actually designed for fighting. Because a few of royal keris were made from meteor iron, the perception is that all keris have meteor iron (high nickel content) in them. The patterns on many keris blades tend to enhance this perception. It's not true, of course, because there are no more meteorites in Indonesia than anywhere else.

At any rate, I called the business Meteor Blades.

Keris, by the way, are used to "protect" homes and slay enemies, including demon enemies in the other world. Typically, they are passed down from generation to generation and hang near entryways. They are said to be able to leave the house at night and track down enemies. Also, if you stick one in a foe's footprint, bad things will happen to her or him.

Keris, unlike Japanese swords, are notoriously hard to date. They vary in form from island to island in the Indonesian archipelago.

Last year, after five years, I shut down the business. It never made much money, but it did get me to Bali, Java, Madura, Lombok and other islands of the archipelago two or three times a year.

His political life, in brief

I stumbled onto Daily Kos just before I left on a trip to Bali at the time of the disco bombing in October 2002. I think there were maybe 500 people visiting the site each day then. In September 2003, Kos asked me and DHinMI to be guest posters on the Front Page, a "job" I held until November 2004.

My first political "experience" was listening to my Seminole grandfather, the first Native American regional organizer for the United Mine Workers discuss union politics, racism, and the need to always question authority, although he didn't say it that way. In 1964, I decided to join Freedom Summer and was trained in Ohio to help register black voters in Mississippi along with hundreds of other young people - black and white. In late 1964 I was in my first anti-Vietnam War protest, a silent line of 22 women and men with one sign, which said: Stay out of Vietnam.

Over the next decades, I joined SDS, the American Indian Movement, and numerous local groups, plus environmental groups and became a journalist, engaging in one three-year stint as an alternative investigative reporter. I spent months reporting from Central America in the bloody 1980s, witnessing war and the aftermath of genocide.

I was born in Georgia, lived for 29 years in Colorado and will have lived for 20 years in Los Angeles come next February. I believe in and fight for peace, justice and the American Way as its most idealistic, not its most greedy, practitioners interpret it.

His diaries are too rich and too diverse to sum up adequately. They can be mordantly funny:

My New Government Job

Read This Quick, I'm on the Lam   (if you've ever wondered why some folks call us Kogs)

They can remind of history we ought to know or that we cannot dare forget:

Palling Around with Terrorists

My Hero: Dyed-in-the-Wool, Life-long Republican

They can reflect on good and bad journalism:

Nine Days of Silence from the Willing Accomplices

Of muckrakers, blograkers, and future investigations

Or deal with any of a wide range of policy issues or other concerns:

Global Warming Walk: Five Qs&As with Bill McKibben

Dear President-Elect Obama

Congress Prepares to Pulverize 70 Years of New Deal Protections

A Nobel Bush Won't Love

If They'd Listened Then, They Wouldn't Need to Impeach Now

Even his comments are often more meaty than a large fraction of diaries, and can lead to more valuable discussion as well. Just a small sample ---

The point is not that the sexes are


The Energize America 2020 team has

Though he called it Not a Diary, Merely a Poem about My Childhood, this drew out our community reflections at their deepest.

His diaries

And why a happy birthday diary for him on Thanksgiving? That story is here: How I Learned to Savor Thanksgiving, [this link is currently borked, and we are trying to fix it] and one of the things I am thankful for today is Meteor Blades' wisdom, courage, commitment and wit. Happy Birthday! I hope folks will add their Meteor Blades moments in the comments.

If you would like to mark his birthday with a present, consider a donation to Native American Rights Fund. He has mentioned their work with warmth in the past.

This is a lightly edited reprise of an earlier happy birthday diary for Meteor Blades. In light of his recent travails, it seemed a good time to repost it.

Originally posted to Wee Thoughts on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 06:01 AM PST.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

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