Kirsten Anderberg: Journalism, Health & History


Check out all of the places that have cited Kirsten's writings or bought Kirsten's books for their institutional collections at

The Right to Church Asylum, Circa 1772
In light of the worldwide discussions going on regarding refugees and immigrants, I find the Catholic Church's 1772 Papal Bull on this subject to be of interest. I stumbled on this document, in a book published in 1912 about the CA missions, while I was doing research for a book I am writing about the San Fernando Mission. The San Fernando Mission, located in northern Los Angeles County, and founded in 1797, welcomed visitors and asylum seekers using its own discretion, while also holding down a fortress-like industrial complex at the edge of civilization in the Wild West under the long arm of Spain. Bandits were common in this area, and large, thick wooden doors at the front entrance of the mission were used to both keep people out, and let people in. ...

Certainly part of the problem regarding asylum now is also in being able to tell who is the enemy. In the Vietnam War, American soldiers were told "a dead Vietnamese is a dead VietCong…" There was a problem in that American military could not tell the difference between a South Vietnamese citizen they were supposed to be protecting and a North Vietnamese citizen who was supposedly the enemy, so very often American soldiers shot and killed people we were supposed to be protecting due to misidentification. So, the military brass told them that once they are dead, the U.S. would just list them as dead North Viet Cong rebels…regardless of who they really were. This bred intense hatred of American troops among both the South and North Vietnamese and made recruiting South Vietnamese citizens to act against the U.S., aiding North Vietnamese enemies of the U.S. in a fight which supposedly pitted us as defendants of the South Vietnamese against the North Vietnamese but the whole affair ended in Vietnam sick and tired of the U.S. and the U.S. pulling out of Saigon in utter shame. And this is happening today too. Too many Europeans and white Americans seem to be viewing all dead Muslims as dead terrorists…in many ways - akin to Vietnam. If we applied the Papal Bull for asylum from 1772 to modern day Muslim people seeking asylum, how would that look? (Read more...)

I love this bike sharing/rental website - wrote an article entitled "Bikes for the Poor", back in 2004, with a similar concept in mind...

"Give me a sharp sense of understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally. Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm. Point out the beginning, direct the progress, help in the completion." - St. Thomas Aquinas

I have posted a new video of the Olivas Adobe! The Olivas Adobe dates back to the mid-1800's-early 1900's, the "Californio" era...the site is owned by the City of Ventura now, but it still offers a step back in history for visitors. Visit this historic home for free! It has an enclosed courtyard, historic eucalyptus trees, an herb garden, old farming equipment, a bell tower, outdoor kitchen equipment, a rose garden, a fountain, and more. It is located along the Santa Clara River, and has an assortment of birds, dragonflies, hummingbirds and lizards on the site. Usually there are few folks there, so you can spend some quiet time really reflecting on past times. I also made a webpage about the Olivas Adobe.

(Gerd Kettel and Kirsten Anderberg busking in Santa Cruz, CA 1983) I was a busker for many decades. I believe busking has many virtues. I dislike alcohol, so busking offers a venue for performers where they are not merely whores for the alcohol industry as it feels working in bars, I like that busking has no age limit, I like that busking has no cover charge, I like that you pay after you see the show, rather than before it in busking, I wish that everybody had to pass their hat for pay, I like that people have to figure out if they like a performance based on their own minds when encountering buskers as opposed to being told what is good or not by critics, ratings or studio profits, I like the lack of corporate sponsorship and thus lack of censorship available to buskers, I like the power of street performance to influence people to dream outside the industrial model, and I like how buskers challenge the status quo, I have enjoyed meeting other buskers...all in all, I have learned a lot earning my "graduate degree" in busking.

“The power of a bold idea uttered publicly in defiance of dominant opinion cannot be easily measured. Those special people who speak out in such a way as to shake up not only the self-assurance of their enemies, but the complacency of their friends, are precious catalysts for change.” Howard Zinn, "You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times"

Abby the Spoon Lady

Women Buskers Project Interviews #4: A Woman Saw Player and Woman Spoon Player!
Read interviews with NYC's Natalia "Saw Lady" Paruz and also Abby the Spoon Lady, from the US...(Read More...)


Yva Las Vegass

Women Buskers Project Interviews #2: Seattle Women Buskers!!
Read interviews with Seattle women buskers Yva Las Vegass, Pamela Suzanne Burdwell and Christine Gunn...(Read More...)


WATER FOOTPRINTS: Hidden Water Costs for Products

"Water footprint" is a term used to define all the hidden water consumption required to produce a product. According to the National Geographic Magazine/April 2010 (, it takes 1,857 gallons of fresh water to serve one pound of beef as food, when you add up the water the animal drinks, the water used to grow its food and the water used to clean its waste. Coffee takes 37 gallons of water to produce every cup of coffee. Although our planet is covered with water, 97% of the water is salty and 2% of our fresh water is locked up as snow and ice, which leaves 1% of our planet's fresh water for all our current water uses, which range from crop irrigation and industrial production to cooling nuclear reactors, sewers and drinking/bathing/recreational uses ( Referred to as "blue gold" or "the next oil," competition for fresh water is growing all over the world as we pollute and use more fresh water than is replenished, overdrawing our environmental bank account...(Read More...)

Woods on Vashon Island, WA (Photo: K. Anderberg 2004)

"Do yourself a favor, educate your mind..." - Stevie Wonder


Thank you to all the clergy who have stood up in Ferguson and on streets around the nation, to start truly bringing this issue of police accountability to the forefront of issues. It is long overdue and most certainly is a matter of spirit, as well as justice.

While Ferguson is primarily black, the police force is predominantly white...and I am starting to gain hope that TECHNOLOGY and INDY MEDIA EDUCATION have actually pushed cops into accountability beyond their control. I remember when I had my first digital camera at a protest in 2003, but now EVERYONE has a camera via their phones! Now cops know EVERYONE is filming them! Look how many people have phones up and filming in this pic of a Ferguson protest this year. I am so sick of police NOT serving and protecting us that I applaud all of the people putting heat on police for accountability and keep it coming, is my cheer! This has gone on WAYYYY too long, from the depths of "In the Heat of the Night," to current U.S. police shooting after police shooting of unarmed black males! This picture says it all. WHO IS THIS COP WITH THE SNARLING COP DOG PROTECTING AND SERVING???? THEMSELVES is the only answer I can come up with.

Check out my new Zine Blog!! The Urban Dictionary defines "Zine" as ""Zine" is short for fanzine. For all intensive purposes, a zine is a cheaply-made, cheaply-priced publication, often in black and white, which is mass-produced via photocopier and bound with staples. Most zines revolve around a music scene of some sort, but others are dedicated to artwork, poetry, cartoons, editorials and short stories. Because zines do not have any sort of corporate backing, they are very rugged, individualized, and much more charismatic than larger, more popular magazines whose content is often dictated by their advertisers."

Wikipedia defines "zine" as "most commonly a small circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images usually reproduced via photocopier. A popular definition includes that circulation must be 1,000 or fewer, although in practice the majority are produced in editions of less than 100, and profit is not the primary intent of publication. They are informed by anarchopunk and DIY ethos. Zines are written in a variety of formats, from desktop published text to comics to handwritten text (an example being the hardcore punk zine Cometbus). Print remains the most popular zine format, usually photocopied with a small circulation. Topics covered are broad, including fanfiction, politics, art and design, ephemera, personal journals, social theory, riot grrrl and intersectional feminism, single topic obsession, or sexual content far enough outside of the mainstream to be prohibitive of inclusion in more traditional media. The time and materials necessary to create a zine are seldom matched by revenue from sale of zines. Small circulation zines are often not explicitly copyrighted and there is a strong belief among many zine creators that the material within should be freely distributed. In recent years a number of photocopied zines have risen to prominence or professional status and have found wide bookstore and online distribution."


N'est-ce pas? This is just such a perfect metaphor for LIFE! LOL! You may not escape in heels! I have never worn a pair of high heels nor do I intend ever to. It is just too close to foot binding to make sense to me. My feet do not come to a POINT in the MIDDLE, thank you!


Every now and then I go out on the internet to see what is happening with my articles, etc. and I see there are some new places citing my work out there...I have a webpage which lists some of the places my work is cited, in professional journals, etc. at I see that recently I was cited in a University of Oregon paper entitled "Denial of Universal Human Material Needs and Aversion to the Homeless," by Naomi Zack, and my book about homelessness is also recommended by Seattle University's "Faith and Family Homelessness Project". I wrote a book review a decade ago, of "The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam," a book sent to me by a magazine to read and review, which I did, but that review is currently posted on "Islam Daily". It amazes me how long the lifespan is of things I write. I see I am also listed on the "Seattle Radical Timeline" website, for being part of the "Morningtown Pizza Collective," (scroll down to the date 4-1-1969, April Fool's Day). Morningtown Pizza was the most anarchist thing I have ever experienced and it shaped the heights of my dreams to date. Here is an article from the now defunct "Seattle Sun" about Morningtown. That place will forever be in my blood. This article is from 1977, which is when I first stumbled upon Morningtown, before I worked there. I was a homeless teen, and wandered into Morningtown one rainy night somehow...and met a guy who was a manager of an apt. building in the U District nearby and he let me and my high school runaway friend with me live rent free in one of the apts that was not rented out...I began to sing and play guitar in exchange for free food at Morningtown in approx. 1978 at the behest of Stan Ivarson, whom I remained friends with until his passing.

Stan Ivarson at Morningtown, 1977
I sang at Morningtown for food for many years, then in approximately 1983, I began to work at M'town was a life experience in communal living I am not soon to forget.


“We cannot afford to be angry. It costs us too much of energy and nerve and self-control; and it costs us too much in reputation, character and social standing. It unfits us for every pleasure, unmans us for skillful labor and embarrasses us in every kind of business. It becomes a weakness that disgusts our friends, pleases our worst enemies, and lowers us in our own estimation. It is unreasonable, impolitic and demoralizing. It confuses the judgment, entangles the spirit and leaves us prostrate before the meanest antagonist. It really unfits us for life’s duties, debauches every manly instinct and shortens life. Every time a man becomes “white” or “red” with anger, he is in danger of his life. The heart and brain are the organs most affected when fits of passion are indulged in. Not only does anger cause partial paralysis of the small blood vessels, but the heart’s actions become intermittent; that is, every now and then it drops a beat, much the same thing as is experienced by excessive smokers.” – L.A.Times, March 1899

I agree with this assessment published in 1899 in the Los Angeles Times about anger. I have been a great fan of not raising one's voice in anger and not being quick to anger as I age. I agree that getting angry wastes nerve energy and other things. It makes sense to not allow anger to wind its way through one's circuitry and to also avoid people who tend to behave with a lack of integrity. Sometimes all one can do is move away from proximity to those lacking integrity, but such moves are worth the effort...more than anger and conflict. I did an independent study class at the University of WA, on the ways anger has been defined and how it is used as a word, and when...and it was fascinating. Most often, when people called others "angry," it was to somehow taint them, as a slur, almost. Yet righteous anger, such as Rosa Parks' anger on the bus, are things that historic change is based on. It is interesting to study "good" and "bad" anger, the way society has juxtaposed it...but in reality, "anger" is very vague, really, when it comes down to it. It depends on positionality, for sure.


Fairness Study with Monkeys Shows A Lot...

Frans de Waal's TED Talk about an experiment using Capuchin monkeys is one of great importance, I believe. The experiment was later done with other animals, such as dogs, birds, etc. and the result is always the same. The idea is they put two monkeys in adjoining cages and usually feed the monkeys, as a reward for a task, cucumbers, which they like and are happy to be fed. But the experiment mixes things up by letting one monkey SEE the other monkey get a food they prefer, grapes, to the everyday cucumbers...and it is not only hilarious, but quite moving, to see the monkey's quick reaction to this "unfairness." For me, this immediately reflected the frustrations I feel, personally, over class divisions in the U.S. as I experience them. When I was on Facebook (which I am clean and sober of for months now, you should try it), it also showed me the huge class differences that exist in society and part of what made me laugh was there is a class distinction in reaction to this experiment. I found that most middle class people I knew took this experiment to be about JEALOUSY and said the monkey that was pissed was showing a lowly emotion of jealousy but most people I know who are poor interpretted it as being about FAIRNESS and said it represented the concept that poor people are not dumb, they KNOW they are getting the unfair end of the stick! It is all about POWER.


I have been looking for a way to use sewing to help poor people, especially women. I like the goals of this organization and think it is a good idea. provides cloth menstrual pads for women in poor countries. I can only imagine how much something like that would help, especially in countries with menstruation taboos. I also am interested in the Dress a Girl Around the World Organization, though I am a little more hesitant to work with them due to their heavy emphasis on Christianity. I do not like the idea of forcing theology on people in return for "giving" them things they need. I feel it taints the "giving" if you force them to listen to your religious beliefs in that way. But I am interested in volunteerism, and I am low-income...perhaps sewing is a way I can help others...


Disney's 1929 "Silly Symphony" cartoon, "The Dancing Skeletons," is perfect for the Halloween season!


Virginia Davis played "Alice" in the 1920's Disney short films...

In 1922, Walt Disney formed "Laugh-O-Gram Films." That company had troubles, and in 1923, Disney was able to sell his Alice series of 6 short films for $1,500 each, getting Walt back on his feet. The Alice movies feature a little girl, Virginia Davis, and her exploits, such as the 1924 "Alice's Wild West Show." Disney made several cartoons before Mickey Mouse found popularity, but they were there right as films began to have sound and thus Disney's use of sound began to revolutionize the before silent cartoon world. The "Silent Era" lasted from 1894-1929, approximately. Learn more about the history of animation by following my Animation Blog!


"Norman in the Clouds," my newest book is now on sale!

Aug. 22, 2014: My newest book, "Norman in the Clouds," is now available on Amazon!! I wrote and illustrated it myself, and it is my first children's fiction book and also the first book I have illustrated! You can now purchase this fun, new book at!


A page from my newest book, "Norman in the Clouds."

Aug. 13, 2014: I have written a new children's book entitled, "Norman in the Clouds." I illustrated it myself using Photoshop and it is my first fiction, my first children's book and my first attempt at illustration, so this is a lot of firsts! I am waiting for the proof now to see if it is ready to go or needs something else. I have a few more children's books I have written and need to still illustrate. I like the idea of writing fiction, I just have not really done that before so that is something new I am learning about and enjoying.


I have been involved with activism to help stop homelessness for decades. The following is an article I wrote on the topic a few years back...

(Photo taken by K. Anderberg, Downtown Seattle, WA., 2007)

Homelessness and the Privilege of Privacy
When I've been homeless, the hardest part has been the lack of privacy. The *privilege of privacy* is something many take for granted, but for those of us who have experienced homelessness firsthand, privacy becomes a mindset, rather than a physical reality. And that fortress of privacy within one's *mind* adds to the wide chasm between the housed and the homeless, often making homeless people seem "crazy" to housed folks. And when one has been forced to make *mental* doors that shut, since physical doors to shut for safety are nonexistent, it is as if there is a change to one's soul. (Read More...)


Discipline and Punishment in Prisons, Schools, and Labor
Foucault details how torture was previously based on physical fear and "collective horror," with images branded upon the psyches of all the spectators to torture. The progression Foucault describes in punishment was a move to punishment now being based on a "lesson," and legally prescribed punishments for crimes with elemental standards. Foucault then also says this "gentler" punishment would then make possible "in society an inversion of the traditional discourse of crime," meaning there needed to be a proactive move to "extinguish the dubious glory of the criminal." (It is interesting to look at modern society's current glorification of "thug life," and "gangsta rap," as well as old school classics such as Ice-T's "Cop Killer" in this context.) Foucault says the discipline movement wanted to "silence the adventures of the great criminals celebrated in the almanacs, broadsheets, and popular tales," and that these then must be replaced in the public conscience by the recording and publicity of the punishment of these criminals so "the crime can no longer appear as anything but misfortune and the criminal as an enemy who must be re-educated into social life." (Read More...)


Miriamma Carson, Amazing Midwife

Rogue Midwifery
Women helping other women deliver babies is as old as humanity. It makes sense. So why do mainstream doctors and hospitals act like midwifery is some radical, dangerous, medically-irresponsible quackery? In Scandanavia, the UK, and the Netherlands, female midwifery is a thriving occupation. Yet in America, it has been constructively outlawed as a profession, for 100 years. While I was in labor, during my home birth, I actually asked the midwives, "Are you sure this is okay to do at home, and not in a hospital?" They said, "Kirsten, think about it. THIS is the way women birthed for thousands of years before doctors and hospitals." That made sense, but I had to ask, due to my years of American medical brainwashing. (Read More...)


Nettles have many medicinal uses...

Nettles, Nettles, Everywhere!
Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) grow like weeds in the woods where I live in the Pacific Northwest (Washington State, USA). Spring is the time to collect the top 6-8 inches of stinging nettles before they flower. You can dry them for later use, or make fresh oil or vinegar infusions, tinctures, hair tonics, herbal drinks, etc. Nettles have been used for centuries in medicines, cosmetics, dyes, teas, and also as an edible, calcium-rich green, like spinach. (Read More...)


Women Street Performers and Sexual Safety
Everyone agrees street performing, or "busking," is hard work. Someone once said about acting, that they do not pay you for the acting, they pay you for the waiting around. That is true in busking, too. Performing talent is about 30% of a good street act. The ability to persevere under harsh conditions, to battle police and merchants over air space, to assert free speech rights at every corner as they are questioned, to spontaneously gather and hold a crowd, and to keep up with hecklers, makes the profession a die-hard one, at best. You spend little time on musical rehearsal, as compared to holding your place in line for a good spot, or "pitch," and then defending that pitch from police when they show up to shut you down. Street performing is not for the weak. And being a solo woman street performer has extra unseen entanglements, due to societal gender stereotypes. (Read More...)

To learn something - you must seek it out.
To know something - you must write it.
To master something - you must teach it.

This sculpture of adult and child whales at Seattle Center artfully uses the lawn as the sea...

"I don't know what weapons will be used in WWIII, but I do know WWIV will be fought with spears and clubs!" - Albert Einstein

American "Insane Asylum" History: Giving Names To Numbered Graves
In 1997, an ex-mental hospital patient and activist, Pat Deegan, was walking her dog on the property of the then closed Danvers State Mental Hospital, located 30 minutes north of Boston. (Danvers State Hospital opened in 1878, and has been closed since the early 1990's). She came upon an overgrown, abandoned cemetery, with only numbers on small round markers. Soon she found a second overgrown cemetery of numbered markers. (It was estimated there was about 40 years of overgrowth covering the cemeteries). Pat soon began facilitating slide shows of what she had seen, as well as organizing ex-patients for field trips and action. (Read More...)

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"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein