Friday, September 23, 2005

Adieu Yahoo

Since I first heard the story about Shi Tao, I've had an uneasy feeling about Yahoo and other multinational companies who are doing business in countries like China, where human rights are restricted to oppressive levels.

Many of you know about Shi Tao. For those who don't, he is a Chinese reporter who will be spending ten years in prison for sending an email to foreign media that outlined the Chinese government's clamp down on information related to the Anniversary of Tiananmen Square.

Yahoo, provided the details about the journalist's identity to Chinese officials.

I fully understand that Yahoo MIGHT have been legally required under Chinese law to deliver Shi Tao to the lions, but now every time I see their logo I only think about that individual who is being punished for trying to broaden human rights - while Yahoo, in an effort to gain even more market share, allows those rights to remain oppressed and restricted.

What if China were pro-slavery? Would that be ok? How much will we tolerate? Will there be a rally to pull out of China as there was in South Africa? Unlikely that it will ever happen. China represents a far too crucial emerging market. What a foolish choice it would be for an American company like Yahoo to operate on principles that value human rights and risk being locked out of all that potential revenue! It won't happen.

I am not in favor of strong-arming democracy into other cultures that haven't invited it in. I don't think we should storm into ANY country and say here's how to do it. (We often don't get it quite right ourselves) But I when there are clear injustices I would hope we, and the companies we own, manage and patronize, take every opportunity to say - hey, here's another way that might be worth exploring. Or even, take a firm stand when called for and say: This is wrong. We're not going to play here with cowardly bullies.

Anyway. We all make the choices that are right for us. Today I chose to cancel my Yahoo membership, including reluctantly unsubscribing from the artistamp list which I totally enjoyed and will miss.

The righter choice for me is to not support an American company I feel traded a chance to take a stand toward making the world a more livable place - worldwide - essentially for money. The world has become too small - when injustices occur across the globe, it feels like it could be happening in Ohio. Yahoo was critical in shrinking the world through communication - it should be instrumental in forging a planet of common decency.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Finally, an update

I've been swamped with client work plus personal projects so there's been little time to update my site or blog - or even breathe - but that doesn't matter much since I can't breathe anyway with this killer cold that my abundantly generous husband bestowed upon me. It's a doozy! Hopefully it won't linger.

I've recieved so much great mail art in the past weeks and did get to put up some up tonight (

Happy autumn. My absolutely favorite season.

Friday, September 16, 2005

How I See It

Great Shirt Design
This is the shirt that my whole family and all my friends are getting for Christmas this year. I think it adequately hushes the debate.

I originally designed it as a t-shirt, without the stamp border, and it's available at

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Wow. It's been four years.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Star Six Nine

On two separate occasions this week, days apart, I misdialed the phone number for my local health clinic - mistakenly calling a different number each time. The buttons on cell phones are FAR too small.

Anyway, two hours after the first misdial on Tuesday, I answered my phone and a woman's voice demanded to know "Who is this?"

Of course I asked, "Who is asking?"

"You called me." she said.

"No, you called me." I corrected her.

"You called me" she insisted, "two hours ago. Your number is on my caller ID."

"Oh, I'm sorry. That was by mistake."

"Oh." She seemed disappointed. She said good-bye and did what ever the cell phone equivalent of hanging up is. (Flipped me off?)

Then, on Thursday my phone rang again and basically a similar conversation took place, this time for a call I had placed in error the day before.

"What did you want?" She asked.

"I'm sorry, I dialed incorrectly." I answered. "I didn't mean to call you."

"Well who were you calling?"

At that point I tilted my head and held the phone in front of my face where I could see it, thinking, "This is progress?" I probably scowled. I said good-bye.

I like technology, but I must say it would never occur to me to call a number simply because it showed up on caller ID. Could it be I'm weird?

But I've since thought about it and am ready if I should I ever dial a wrong number again, I will respond with stuff like "I was calling on behlalf of the Prize Patrol, but you weren't available so we had to go to the next name on the list."

I welcome any ideas you might have!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Help for New Orleans - The Original Version

People have begun using the stamp on their mail art. (I received my first mailing containing it today!) It's been downloaded a lot so I'm hoping it crosses the globe a few times.

I've been asked to put a link to this version, which was the original version, as well. Shortly after posting it originally, I changed the design a little because I was unhappy with how the small type printed within the black area. But I have since seen other prints of it, perhaps off a laser printer, where it looked pretty good. So now you have a choice.

Feel free to use, spread and share this design. Click on this link to go to a 300dpi jpg file that you can download.

Monday, September 05, 2005

New Stamp

I designed this stamp to go on all of my mail until the Gulf Coast gets back on its feet. I've been asked to make the art available for others to use. Gladly! Anyone who is a member of the AML list on Yahoo will find various formats in the Files section under Fat Red Ant. Or click on this image and you'll go to a 300dpi JPG file you can download.

If you would like it in some other format, drop me a note.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Help for Hurricane Katrina Victims

In working out my own personal anger and frustration over the situation in the south, particularly in New Orleans, I designed this postcard and sent it to our President.

But that was not enough. I am so disgusted by the lack of leadership during this crisis that I then designed other cards which I am selling as T-shirts with ALL proceeds going directly to victim relief organizations in Louisiana and Mississippi. Every cent. Buy a shirt today!

Click here to order yours!

Please forward this link to everyone you know! And if you care to - link it from your blog or web site!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Suicide Six

Today marks the sixth anniversary of my father's suicide. Unlike the last couple years when I got through this period with only expected sadness, this year I was caught totally off gaurd by an under current of overwhelming grief. For the last several days I felt as though I was reliving every moment of the days leading up to September 2, 1999 and was painfully powerless to do anything about it. Again. I'm a reasonably strong woman, but it's been a fragile couple of days.

Angst over feeling helpless to do anything about all the displaced people suffering with loss in the resulting chaos of Hurricane Katrina added to my state of mind. Seeing all those people struggling in unspeakable conditions added to my sense of powerlessness.

This was not a stellar week -

The Antagonist’s Daughters

One Thursday night
he stands up and shatters himself
into a thousand pieces.

Early the next morning
the phone starts screaming

Mother first
demanding an explanation
as if I keep an atlas of his brain tucked in my bra.

I just keep on sweeping him up
and tell her. “I don’t know. But I’m sure it will all work out.”
These lies never bother me; I tell them all the time.

I hear the reprimanding anthem of my upbringing
squeeze through her teeth:
You’re just like him, just like your father.
Again I am responsible for the mistake she once made
loving such a dangerous man. She doesn’t say it
but she suspects somewhere I’ve hidden the blueprints
For all their failed inventions.

Later comes the call
from his name sake and arch enemy.
Wow. yeah. Sad. yeah. Gun? yeah. Bye. yeah.
Another call from a phone booth, I assume,
without enough change. I hang up too.

By the time baby-sister arrives
I’m putting away the mop and pail,
rummaging to make room in the broom closet for
The rumors and legends that
we’ll mail out with our holiday cards
to the cousins next Christmas

Without fanfare she drops an unopened jar of peanut butter
onto the kitchen table, alongside the permission to eat it
entirely, if we choose,
with our fingers.