December 14, 2012

#55: The Connecticut Shooting - A Look in the Mirror

Let us dare to read, speak, think and write. -John Adams

I wonder... I wonder if you had a morning like mine. I woke up, I made up the bed, I tucked in my sheets and I even collected a little laundry. I dressed, did my hair, looked in the mirror and I went on with my day.

A bowl of cereal. A few bills paid. Some tidying here and some tidying there before I settled down, before my desk, to start my day of work. Emails checked, phone checked... ah, Facebook... not yet checked.

All is well I see. A friend has a new job opportunity, another has a new skiing photo and another... has a post... about Connecticut? About assault weapons?  And then another post, and another, and another and... I immediately jump over to the BBC to see what is going on.

And there it is. A single headline. 27 dead. Kindgarden. Kids. School. Dead. in Connecticut.

I wonder... did you feel like me when you heard? Did your insides drip fire, blood and water down its insides and did your skin go cold? and numb? And did your brain freeze? Freeze with disbelief and belief all at once?

Because you know you've been here before. We've been here before. Always. And did the crossroads fill you? Did you feel the trap closing in around you as I did? "We've been here before... We've been here before."

And we will be here again.

For nothing, you are suddenly so incredibly aware, nothing has changed. Nothing. It's as if you can see the book twenty pages ahead... the candlelight vigils, the weeping mothers, the debates on the screen filled with nothing but the angry buzz of interruption and bullying and interference with each others sides. Bickering. Nagging. Seeping...

Can you already hear them, the raised voices, in your heads? The biting, the chaos and the pre-adolescent hand slapping fights that we have settled on for the term "public debate"? And can you see the news four weeks from now, six weeks from now, with side reports of autopsies, of 'his' Facebook page, of the warning signs, of what his hobbies were and of what he did on the social networks, in school, in life... and you've heard it before and could write it now. Page, after page, after empty page.

Can you see it now before you? Can you taste the dust and the debris of the hopelessness already in your mouth?

And did you, like me, turn to the news stations for answers, for the mirroring of your soul, and pain, for clues to help you process? How did it feel, when they did nothing but slip the pre-warmed syringe into the vein of your arm, lulling you to sleep with words of our president's "tears," and "emotion" and the governor's political two stepping... "we did our best to be prepared but you can never be prepared" speeches? Did the disconnect and the void of neutrality in their eyes dull you as well? Did it lull you back to sleep? Did it convince you, once again, that the Second Amendment will once again, as before, be debated and, once again, will make all of "this" nuisance of a recurrence "null-and-void" and old news?

And I wonder, how many of you turned off the screen like me? Seeing no solace, no anger, no answers and most definitely, no leadership. Did your body fill with the mist-like-grey that comes... feather light, with no weight, and you suddenly know that you are alone? That nothing but burnt soil and bits of black on ashen plains surround you for miles? That the fight within you, that the justice that pounds behind the right of your heart... is not echoed? It's not real? It's not true? And it's not right??? "How can that be?" you wonder. "How can that be?"

I wonder. I wonder if you are like me.

I am mad. I am furious. I am doubtful and I am faithless. I see, with the channels and the flickering and the news and the media... all I see is the emaciated skeleton of what once was. I see the leaders and the fury and the justice and righteousness of those that came before us... I see the fury in their eyes!!!

I see their eyes fixed upon the blood of the children that flows past each of our feet... I see them looking down, while the cameras of today do nothing but look up and zoom in on the tears.. of the wiping of the sadness... of the "emotion." I hear the media of today saying "look! look to your leaders! they are weeping! they are... sad!!!"

But I do not see them. I do not focus on the shed of a tear... I only see the fire. I see the fire of our forefathers, the fire of the children we have lost and I see the fingers of those we have lost before and I see the fighters of our freedom with their arms raised, forward, straight and powerful and full of accusation and knowledge. They are pointing, they are pointing... their arms are raised and they are pointing... to the ancient and the new blood of the innocent that flows upon our feet, that empties from our bowels and that rains upon our hands and that we? We do nothing.

They know that we do nothing. They know that we are numb and content to be numb! That we want that syringe and we want that "emotion" and that all we want are the candlelight vigils and the mourning and the sorrow and perhaps, most likely, that glass of wine that we shall sip and sip and sip and sip until we feel no more. They know that we don't want to fight. We've forgotten how to fight. They see our hands, and they see they are soft and supple and free of worry, war and care.

Oh, yes. We shall make memorials. We shall. But if we look inside, we know that they are the memorials that will stand...  that will stand and will surely and knowingly see the blood come again. It most certainly and most definitely will, as we all know, flow again. And we are content with that. We are satisfied with that. We have chosen again and again and again the bickering over the thinking, the drama over the true feeling, the cover-ups and shams that replace our true justice and true knowledge of what is out there.

The rage. Oh! The rage I see burning in the hearts of those that penned our first words!!! The words of our nation have been corrupted to the point of blasphemous infamy. I can see their accusations and I know that they are right. They are so very very right. "We?" "We the people?" I hear them mock. "We the people???" I hear them accuse... "You are not a people anymore."

"You are heathens and you are greedy and you are weak and your hands have no work upon them..." Oh, do I hear them behind me... I hear their skin crackle like the fire that first lit their hearts.

Do you really believe, my people? Do you really believe that our forefathers, the ones who fought and the ones who thought and the ones who showed bravery that the likes of history has rarely seen.... do you really think they would let the blood of children stand? Is that what we really are content to believe???

Do you think that when they wrote their words, that when they wrote their Constitution and their Amendments... do you really think their main goal and purpose was to create some holy scripture that none of us could question or deny? That we were to go on as a people, unthinking and uncompromising and uncaring? Do you really think they wanted us to believe that? Do you really think we could EVER stand before the high court of their judgments and of their minds and find them happy? Content? Proud? of our decisions to stand by some old relic they created for a different time and a different purpose???

As if! As if they thought life was unchanging... as if they thought revolution was a thing to be abhorred... as if they thought that their way was the only way for all time and all creation???

Shame! Shame upon our nation and upon our heads and upon our hearts for believing the most unthinking and most corrupt media to ever ever grace the planet of this earth and the weakest, the weakest of all governments on this planet, that has so quickly and so suddenly fallen from its great heights of only a generation or so ago... Shame! that all now fight for one thing and one thing only! To be "heard." To be "popular." To be "Nice. Right. Kind." That perfect, playing soundbite. Worthless.

We have become a nation of worthless thoughts and of worthless deeds when the blood of our fallen soldiers and the blood of other nations is bantered about like some rodeo rally under the banner of "entertainment," while the blood of our own innocent children flows past our feet and I hear... oh yes, I hear them crying out from that blood... "Why?"

I think you can hear them too.... "Why?"

"Why?" they ask, "are you allowing us to die?"

I wonder if you are like me. I wonder if you are really content with what we have been given? I wonder if you are like me. If you are sick of repetition with no action?

And I really do wonder??? Are you really like me? Are you willing to fight? Are you willing to speak? Are you willing to set axe to bone? To fight for our kids, our lives and fight for real change? Fight for truth and justice and what really happened out there?

Are you like me? Do you really want to look into the mirror? Do you really want to look into the faces of our lost and fallen and do you, like me, feel willing and free and able to turn your eyes away from the sick, flacid and nameless lenses of the cameras and "perspectives" that our medias give voice to... to look down?

To look down at the blood? To hear their names, one by one, as they pass across our feet... and say, "we are sorry. We have failed you. We shall take your names upon our hearts and we shall etch them in our minds and we shall not stand for what others want for us, but we shall stand for you."

Will you join with me, in unison? In voice? In real, true and heady reaction? Asking the question, "when is enough, enough?" Did your heart split in two and cry, "it is finished?" Did you know the end had come? Did you know this must be stopped? Did you feel your foot plant firmly in the ground at the news... and know that the time has now come? The foundation must now shift?

I know that reason does not prevail anymore. I know that reporting no longer exists either. I know that the days are gone when we can turn on our televisions and see an older, wiser and solemn face looking back at us and saying, "This is the line. It shall never again be crossed." When we knew that there would be action to make it so.

Those days are so far gone... they no longer exist. We can't even remember the taste of them. We suckle at the teat of mindless neutral words that do anything but inspire us to fight, feel, heal and most of all... take action.

"We the people."

Are you like me? Will you join me? Will you turn off your screens, tweets and feeds and remove the feeding tube of apathy from your throats. Will you fight back? Will you flood congress? Will you flood your legislature? Will you flood the social networks, your newspapers, your communities... will you vote with  your justice and your minds and your hearts... and will you write? Write in your journals and in your families and in your corners and in your harsh realities?

Will you, like me, choose to think freely, think clearly, and admit all of our wrongs and all of our past rights and finally... finally... choose what is right. What is sane. What is true. And what would make our forefathers and our fallen innocents proud.

Will you?

From one soul in agony to my beloved kindred hearts across the globe...
Katherine Eastvold
Excerpt from Weekly WCS Note #55.

December 06, 2012

#53: The Church of Jordan and Tatiana

Today's Competitive
WCS Community:
Church or Cult?

Weekly Note #53
Unless you become more watchful in your states and check the spirit of monopoly, you will, in the end, find that the control over your dearest interests has passed into the hands of these corporations.

-Andrew Jackson

While putting together Setting Dancers Free, my first collection of Weekly WCS Notes, added discussion questions for my Word groups to nearly twenty Notes. That included the infamous Weekly Note #9: The Results are IN!, where I gave my own scores for the US Open's Classic Division, along with a breakdown of how and why I came to those scores.

This Note proved a uniquely difficult one to write discussion questions for. So much hate had been violently poured out in an effort to silence people after it was released that the memory of it made it difficult for me to encourage people to speak... speak their own thoughts and their own minds. I knew that if they did so publicly, not just in their groups, that they would face horrific and immediate harassment.

But freedom is freedom, and in the end I succeeded. The questions ended up becoming some of my favorite discussion questions ever.

But there was one that shocked me... yes, me! You writers out there know that you can stand back sometimes and go, "What in the world did I just write!?!" And this question was one of those moments:
Discussion Question #5:
Right before the US Open (2011) I was told that the Open, and the WCS community that attended it, was The Church of Jordan and Tatiana. In what ways does that title fit? Do you feel that you are a part of that church? What do you think your duties as a member of that church are?
Yeah. Quite a question, isn't it? I so dearly wish I could be there for some of those discussions, because I can think of some of my own answers from personal experience. My, oh, my.

And then, shortly after I wrote that question, the US Open released an announcement proclaiming a "new" anniversary tape. "In celebration of our thirtieth year," it said, "we have created a compilation of the last ten years (2002 thru 2011) Classic and Showcase winners."

"What the heck???" I thought. "Are they TRYING to sell my books for me???"

Because, as anyone who has read me over the last two years knows, I've said a whole darn lotta things about the last ten years. And now they are putting out a new "tape" of the last ten years just to prove it. Cool.

But if you don't wanna spend the $40 buckaroos to watch the same people dance swing and then, slowly but surely, unravel and stop dancing swing, then go ahead and let me not only recap "The Next Ten Years" as they call it, but also break it down a bit for those of you who weren't around at the time.


Okay, so I put 12 years up there for you, not just 10, but aren't you glad I did? I hope you really paid attention to my notes. On the years that they did not win, did you see why? Either they didn't compete, or messed up so badly with a new routine that they stopped and turned bright red. But even then the judges worried incessantly that they'd made some huge mistake, just because they didn't have Jordan and Tatiana in first.

And did you notice something else? Benji has never lost a US Open since he stopped competing against Jordan and Tatiana, and Matt and Meagan, for that matter.

And the names of those who won in his absence, or in the only three years Jordan and Tatiana did not reign for various reasons? Nothing's changed much up there in the last 10 years, just like I've said in everything I've written.

If you watch the tape of the first 20 years of the Open, you'll see some names repeated, like Lance Shermoen, but they don't tell you how he placed or competed in the years he didn't win. Both Robert Royston and Lance Shermoen placed 6th the year before or after their wins... it really was a competition back then.

So thanks again to the Open for putting out that new tape of the last decade. The first time I didn't have to publish proof on my own! How very sweet. And by all means, go ahead and get the tape if you want, just know what you're getting- a total 180 from the previous tape, and a total monopoly...

by the Church of Jordan and Tatiana.


PS- If you want to know who founded this Church, and who keeps it running, just take a look at the WSDC (World Swing Dance Council). Jordan didn't start winning till he joined the GSTDA (the owner of which is one of the founding members of the Council), and the Open is owned by a GSTDA instructor. And even though, as Jordan told me in 2011, "I haven't taught that stuff in over 5 years," and that his teaching is "completely different now," ("split weight is a higher form of movement," anyone?), the GSTDA still promotes them, hires them and says they still do everything the GSTDA teaches, despite all evidence to the contrary... complaints from students, video proof of workshops and obvious 'on the floor' proof. (Just try to count that "Rolling Count" while watching any routine in the last five years... shoot, just try to count Rolling Count to the music they've chosen! I can't believe people are still drinking the spiked Kool Aid.)

The head of the Council? "LOVES Tatiana," I was told, "and does anything she asks." Including trying to get a non-GSTDA judge (Mario Robau Jr., who isn't a Georgia Peach either- not a fan of growing a community, freedom of thought or considering anyone to be his equal, but does still teach swing and handles himself quite a bit more professionally than anyone in The Ten) off of the Classic Division panels. When lobbying for the judging panel these two wanted, they both went directly to the head of the Council. It was the head of the Council alone who did all that pressuring of the head judges,  of Mario and of the event directors. No one else. Just the head of the Council.


Is this why the WSDC refers to these 30 year olds as "kids" still? I don't hear anyone else but their parents still calling them kids. And yes, as you can probably tell from the chart above, Benji is also called one of their "kids" too. Why so narrow in their choice of favorites? Do they really think anointing these few chosen ones will establish their eternity? Despite the fact that their "kids" have not only left the fold, but have waged war against it? At the cost of the dance, ethics, soberness and fraud? Hmmm... you'll hear me expand on that later...

I shall be writing more about how the Church was established, how it was ingrained and how it has become, literally, a cult, in my third book, One Word at a Time. Knowing really is half the battle.


March 2014 Update: 

This piece was written for a Weekly Note all the way back in December 2012. So much has changed since then. The most powerful founder of the church has passed away. The so-called cardinals and bishops of the church still remain, but they have been exposed - called out into the open. Scandal, treachery and bribes have been shoved into the light. 

I have done some of this, yes, but not all of it. Members of the church itself are doing it. Oh my. Now, don't get me wrong. The church still stands, and quite frankly, I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon. But this time things are very, very different. All the players may be the same... but... as you may have heard... some of the players have... well... changed

Look, I talk about this a bit in The Monopoly and even in the BBB Exposes, but these people who I'm about to discuss down below are not people I watched from far away. I was there. We were the young ones. We only knew each other. I did not hate any of them. I just witnessed everything. But I didn't understand the consequences at the time, and left to open my studio just after the church was established. 

Looking back, I realize why opening a studio was so easy for me. I didn't miss the world the Swing Dance Council was creating. I missed the people, but not the dancing - it had already changed too much. I just hadn't put a finger on it yet.

But the point of this update is to also clarify something: I don't think Jordan and Tatiana set out to set up a church. I don't even think they played integral parts in its foundation. I remember Mario once wrote that when he attended dance events he was "treated like a god," which was wonderful and addicting, but that the dance life meant that he'd missed out on time with his boys. 

This is the piece of the pie I know Jordan always wanted. He never lied about the fact that he wanted 1st place and 1st place only pretty darn bad. It was kind of a cute joke at the time - we all knew it and he always admitted it. Wink-wink-nudge-nudge... but that was when Jordan didn't always get 1st. A long, long looooong time ago.

Now, a reader reminded me that a church follows a set of beliefs, but a that a cult follows a person. And while Jordan was a Nissy back in the day (we giggled about how he couldn't pass a mirror without looking in it) he certainty wasn't the worst of the day. He could be cruel when the pressure was on, but, let's face it, that's not Jordan today. And he isn't a sociopath. He isn't a psychopath. Nor did he introduce the drugs into our community. But others did.

So when I talk about the Church of Jordan and Tatiana here, it is not a huge finger pointed at them. Oh, I think they may love it, just as Mario did, but this cult was family built. Quite mafia-esque. Others did the heavy lifting when it came to building this church/cult. The cardinals and bishops of this church literally moved heaven and earth to make sure that everything you are about to read below came to pass. 

I know J&T knew some of it, but I also know they didn't know all of it. They have made some bad choices and Jordan has ushered in a completely new dance, wiping out the "old" one in his wake. Well, I still love him. I sure as hell don't worship him. But I don't hate him. And I love Tatiana. I want to kick his shins, and I cry sometimes, looking at what he's done, and sometimes I look at the ugliness that comes out online under his regime and I never want to talk to him again...

...but what you are about to read could not ever be without the vast amount of money, resources and politicking that was done behind the scenes by head members of the World Swing Dance Council and The Ten. And others. I'm sure you could name them. They don't judge themselves, after all. Or run every event. Or pick out the lights, sound or music at an event... this church is HUGE and it's world-wide and it's powerful.

Just remember, as we look back, that my most recent Notes have said that Annie Hirsch, Skippy Blair, Sarah Vann Drake and Deborah Szekely had, in one way or another, by the time J&T won their first US Open, already established a regime of fear, terror, drugs and blackmail. The competitive (points) community had already separated from its roots by then. 

The LA Swing Dance Club, the San Diego Swing Dance Club and other clubs that still remain today... that are highly active and dance much much much MUCH more than any of the rest of us ever do, had split away by then... not liking what they saw coming. There was a time we all danced in the same halls - when they attended events with us and we could see, in one single room, every single generation of swing dancer that ever walked the earth. No longer. And not because of J&T themselves.

My point is that it is now two years after I published this Note.  Certain people have recently made certain "new" choices. They want better things for the community. They want to undo what they have done. They are not the majority now, but since they are the ones who matter, the writing is on the wall for the future of WCS. The Revolution has gone above-ground. And we are winning.

(Note: the PS section at the very bottom was not included in the original Note, but added a few months later when it was posted on this blog)

December 01, 2012

Sneak a Peek

Great News! Amazon's "LOOK INSIDE!" Feature is now up on both books! Feel free to browse through both Telling the Truth and Setting Dancers Free with just a few clicks of the mouse! Here are the links:

Look Inside: Telling the Truth
Look Inside: Setting Dancers Free