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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oh,no. Bono!

I supposed it had to happen. If one leaves one's mouth open too much, sooner or later an errant foot will enter it. So... in a post I wrote," I mean, asking business people about free markets is a lot like asking a rock star about Darfur." Bono is not happy. I shall have to go on Letterman and eat humble pie.

Big Blue Blues

I have been upset recently, viewing the utter chaos in Iraq. As much as I have been opposed to the war, I have always hoped that our men would be safe and we could leave the country having done some lasting good. I wish the President could have spoken to someone like Colin Powell. The entire world was united behind our effort in Afghanistan in 2001. The President needed someone to tell him, to remind him that (1) war is hell, and (2) even the best laid plans do not always succeed, not to mention poorly laid plans. War is like that; one never knows what's going to happen, other than bloodshed. A long time ago I read a story in a magazine. It was this time of year, just before Christmas. I was sitting on a couch in my parents' frontroom, the empty boxes of Christmas preparations strewn about me like the aftermath of a joyous burst of enthusiasm. It was a story about world events just before Christmas. It scared me. This was the height of the Cold War. In the story, the nations of the world are at each others' throats and a war to end war - if not to end the world - is imminent. The leaders of all the nations of the world gather at the UN seeking one last time to find a way out of the deadly impasse short of nuclear war. In the story, there had been developed a super-computer, perhaps like Big Blue of IBM, and it was decided that, since every land in the world had chosen up sides, there was no impartial observer left to head negotitations and, thus, the delegates agreed to let "Big Blue" decided what course events should take to prevent war. All the nations agreed to abided by the decision of Big Blue. All pertinent data, present and past, was fed into Big Blue. There must have been some sort of extraordinary negotiating software to process the mountains of data. All this input took some time. Then Big Blue started processing the data. This took more time, perhaps a number of days. The delegates stood morosely about the UN waiting for some indication that an answer had been reached. The rest of the world went about their mundane tasks, looking forward to a Christmas with more fear than joy. At work, people ducked into the washrooms to cry. Some people bought nothing, not even food, and slowly starved from their depression. Some people went on an end of time buying spree, eating, drinking and being merry, since tomorrow we die. If not tomorrow, then soon. Everyone prayed and hoped that Big Blue would have an answer. Finally, the notification came that Big Blue had finished its deliberations over the state of the world and had a definite answer. The delegates of the nations of the world filed into the General Assembly of the UN and waited to hear. The Secretary General mounted the podium and addressed them, saying that the long awaited answer - and here he held aloft a sealed enveloped containing the printout from Big Blue - had come. The Secretary General lowered the envelope and opened it. Everyone tensely waited. The Secretary General read the paper and was quiet. He stood silent for a minute, then minutes. The delegates began to wonder when he would read it. The Secretary General let the paper fall to the podium and walked out of the assembly hall. After a momentary pause, the rest of the delegates rushed forward to see it. The US ambassador to the UN secured the paper and called for silence. Silence took a few minutes to regain control of the hall. Then he read the paper aloud: "Love One Another." He too let fall the paper and walked over to the window where the Secretary General stood. The sky was grey and it was beginning to snow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Spooky Prayers

I have wondered in this blog exactly what Tucker Carlson is. He has no apparent knowledge of anything, so he's not a specialist. He is shallow, uninformed, pretentious, pontificating...hmmm. He should have his OWN BLOG! Anyway, I could not let this nonsense pass by; an excerpt from a TC ( the exact opposite of PC ...or any-kind-of-C, for that matter) interview about Muslims praying in an airline terminal: CARLSON: Oh, what a -- that's such a crock. I mean that is -- I fly -- you know, I fly more than anybody I know, practically. There are always people from south Asia and the Middle East on planes I fly. Nobody says anything. These guys were praying, standing up praying, and it freaked people out. I'm not defending that. I'm merely saying it's not just that they were brown or looked Muslim, they were doing something other people didn't understand, and it spooked the other people. I mean, don't you understand how that could happen? Firstly, I admire Tucker's use of the concept "crock". I could never quite get it right. Secondly, it is well known that potential suicide bombers and airplane hijackers have a ritual which they go through to attract attention to themselves. It consists on standing up and speaking something incomprehensible and ensure that other people will call the cops. Thirdly, I guess I have to agree with TC that praying in public is spooky. If you live in a society that many of it citizens consider Christian, or Judaeo-Christian, or some other hyphenated combination of Greek and Latin words, to observe prayer is to be spooked! No doubt about it. In fact, I have written a screenplay for Eli Roth to direct called "Thanksgiving" ( soon to be followed by "Thanksgiving: the Sequel" ) wherein all sorts of spooky mayhem occurs centered around the public saying of grace at Thanksgiving. I shiver to think of it. Ooooh...what if those scary Muslims had prayed in public on Halloween? Brrrr...

The Virgin, The Pope, And The Amazons

Diana of Ephesus

I have been asked a question about my view of the blessed Virgin Mary and I am working on it. This will take a few days since I have just finished the outdoor lights, set up the tree, put the tree lights on it, went down to the vault to get the decorations and put them on.

It was a good Christmas so far; only two red faced arguments which is pretty much below the national average. Now I have to go and replicate everything at my parents. They have no computer, no internet access. My mother seems to have become a latter-day Luddite who takes pride in her firm stance anti-e. Two weeks ago I bought a printer/copier for them to be used as a copy machine. It cost $ 20 on sale and rebate and had to be purchased. My wife thought its copies were not good, but I insisted on giving it to them, because it only had 3 control buttons, one of which was on/off!
No bewildering array to befuddle them...or me, for that matter.

Sunday past my mother called me to beseech me to give them the clue to starting a DVD in the DVD player. We had had this discussion before. She said that when one put in the DVD there was sound, pix, blah-blah, then there were parts of the film, only they repeated over and over forever. I said that somewhere on the screen you would see the word "PLAY" and you were supposed to depress a control button labelled "play" somewhere in the immediate neighborhood of the DVD machine.
Well, she denied this.
She said she had never seen the word "play", it did not show up, and obviously my brother OR his son, my electronic nephew, Electro, (a different nephew...not one of the infamous gang of three) would have to be contacted. I called a huff and went off in it.
So I called back Sunday and she had indeed started the DVD by using the "play" button on the DVD itself. The Universal Remote/Translator she had purchased from an intinerant salesman from Andromeda did not work. Now as I prepare myself to go and do Xmas thingeys, I know she thinks she will divert me into programming universal remotes. However, in my opinion, remotes are meant to be remote. The remoter, the better.

By the way, the "X" in Xmas is the greek "chi" which is the first letter in "christos". There seems to be a bit of a mental lacunae among "cultural warriors" about that.
Now, having mentioned the Virgin somewhere in the above, we swing into Pope Benedict. Not literally, of course. We are not actually taking a poke at his nibs. It is a metaphor I use to indicate that I have come back off an exasperating tangent.
The Pope visits Turkey. On the papal schedule, as I read it on the BBC, I see: 29 November Goes to Ephesus to say mass at site where Virgin Mary believed to have died.
I was amazed, no, shocked. I mean...really. Ephesus was the site of the famous temple of Diana - Artemis in Greek - and was of enormous importance in the pagan day. (I seem to recall St. Paul was kicked out of the city, but I'm not sure. He was kicked out of so many.)

Well, well, well. Let me wonder about the connection between Ephesus and the Virgin Mary for awhile. Oh, and Amazon is a Greek word usually interpreted as "without (a) breast", meaning one was missing - an interpretation which is fairly ludicrous, although it seems to hold the field in the philology jousts. The root word is "mazon" meaning "breast" and "a-" a privative meaning "without".
 However, "a-" can also be an intensifier and mean "many-", "greatly-" and generally intensify the meaning of the root word to which it is affixed. Hence, "amazon" could mean "many breasted", "big breasted", and generally take the notion of breast and kick it up a notch. Now, if you have ever seen the ancient statue of Diana of Ephesus that has about twenty to thirty breasts, then you suddenly realize that Diana was "a - mazon" in this depiction; she was "great breasted" and a potent symbol of Nurture.

Well, well, well. Sorry, Got to go.


Monday, November 27, 2006

A Sense Of The Macabre

What is macabre - or ghastly - in this post is the fact that I am going to start it off by saying, "I do not usually like to beat a dead horse, but...". So, here goes: IRAQ I do not usually like to beat a dead horse, but it seems to me that armed militias that kill civilians are the same thing as death squads. Armed militias are a large problem right now. Vice President Richard Cheney suggested the use of just such Death Squads - in the same manner in which they were used in El Salvador in the past - in 2004. What do you want to bet that the administration aided in the setting up some of these groups? Land o' Goshen! 2008 So much for Condoleeza Rice as Pres. in 2008. The Second Bush Inauguration I had a sudden memory image of the Bush 40 million dollar second inauguration party. At first, it was all BU$H. Then it transformed and took on a macabre resemblance to Beetlejuice.

Borat Shmorat

The film Borat was troubling. I like things that make other people look ridiculous. In fact, my opinions of other people - if my opinions could be viewed by you - would resemble pictures from the fun house mirrors: a great panoply of grotesqueries. However, I found Borat troubling. It sort of limped along in parts. Even now, as I view trailers on TV, I notice there are scenes which I do not remember at all from the film. I must have been asleep. The overt anti-semitism surprised me. Anti-semitism is still anti-semitism even if the author or director be Jewish. It was pointed out to me that Mr. Cohen was concerned about the rise of anti-semitism in Europe and wished to make some point or other. Make the film in Europe, then. The early Nazis had a favorite philosopher, Alfred Rosenberg by name. If it be found that the Protocols of the Elders had been written by an old Jew, it would not become a suitable gift at a Bar Mitzvah.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Now For Palestinians

After the episode of the Palestinian Grandmother suicide-bomber it became apparent that I should now say something about the Palestinian side of the dispute. Well, what is there to say anymore? I mean, I had a post about Palestinian olives before and if olives are the best I can do, I should be silent. It has been almost 60 years. Israel and Palestine will find a way. Ir kent undz dermordn, tiranen. Naye kemfer vet brengen di tsayt; Un mir kemfn, mir kemfn biz vanen Di gantse velt vet vern bafrayt.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Coming Apart

While we were having the Thanksgiving feast, 202 Iraqis were killed in bomb blasts in Sadr City. There were other blasts in other cities.
The neo-conservative dream of the mighty American Empire is a whirlpool of death and violence spun out of control. What is our goal?

I happened to see Chris Matthews interviewing a retired general Batiste. The general said this Iraq thing was the first step in a long, expensive war against jihadists. Mr. Matthews tried to pin the general down on which factions within Iraq were jihadists.
There was some twisting and squirming, but it became apparent that the general had no idea what he was saying. He had been put on the TV and his mouth was moving and that was enough, thank you. The days of empty rhetoric lay strewn behind us on this particular road to ruin.

I don't think anyone knows what they are doing, other than waiting for James Baker to make a report. Then, the report having been made, we can watch more talking heads talk about Iraq while thousands die. Is there anybody in charge anymore? Are we actually adrift as badly as it seems to me? What Congress may do is limited. The President and the Vice President indicate they will resist anything from Congress, then point their fingers at the Democrats saying, "See! They are are witless and empty-headed as we are!"

We retreat into the insularity of our twin feasts of consumerism: Thanksgiving and Christmas. We stuff more food into our faces and spend more and more on useless gee-gaws. The PlayStation 3 garners more interest than the disasters accumulating on our doorstep. There were some retailers open on Thanksgiving day! That must have been great for the employees. They were paid triple time and no doubt hired a caterer to do their own Thanksgiving dinners. We have all been exhausted by the elections and the failure of our government in Iraq. We choose not to see anything but turkey and mistletoe, bright lights and glitter. Who could blame us?

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I see people using the concept of "Meme" all the time. I do not like the concept "Meme". It is based on analogies with genetic behavior. Ever heard of the "selfish" gene? Mind is the history of God's creation to grow above the selfish gene level. "Meme" attempts to explicate the greater by the lower, and lower Mind to the level of the selfish gene.

More On Free Markets

In the post I made some comments about free markets. There is a large segment of the population which has childish notions of free markets and this segment is not at all used to being talked to and told to stand in the corner. Free markets are emergent behaviors. It is a complex resulting from the activities of the participants, one of those activities being Ethical acts or beliefs. The notion that free markets are beyond morality is nonsense. They are based upon morality - or the lack thereof - of the market participants. I have heard utter balderdash. Business people should remain business people, not economists or philosophers. I mean, asking business people about free markets is a lot like asking a rock star about Darfur.

Thanksgiving Faith and Thanksgiving Reason

Thanksgiving Faith reminds me to get up at 5:00 a.m. and start doing the things I need to do, even though today is a holiday. Thanksgiving Reason tells me I can accomplish the same things by getting up a little later and leaving out that second cup of morning tea. I get up. Reason has led me through the planning of the previous 2 weeks; who is in and who is out? how many pounds per person? we need a 16 pound turkey. do you people know what you are doing? that is not my turkey. if we have 2 kinds of stuffing, then there will be no room in the oven… Faith leads me through the execution of it all with a devotion to the cause and a sense of service and humility ( why should I have to do all the work?!). Reason leads us to the feast of thanks and love. Faith puts it all together and is the culmination. Footnote I could go on about this, but I think this is just enough. I have mentioned how unsatisfactory is the experience of reading about religion these days. I intend to write more here on the topic. My thrust is Reason and Faith are different. Bad men may abuse either and we see terrible things done by Science or Religion. Furthermore, they need not be reconciled, for they are never apart, appearances to the contrary. They could only be called "apart" if they were supposed to have been "conjoined" in the first place. They are in us like Taste and Smell, different yet dependent on each other.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

News From Radio Free Europe

"Les sanglots longues...blessent mon coeur d'un langueur monotone." Je repete, "Les sanglots longues..." I am sending you news from outside your borders. You are Heurtebise listening to your radio in Cocteau's "Orphee". These news items have not yet been cleared by official American News companies for domestic consumption. The American News Media are complying with the Ministry of Information, or Mini-Truth as we call it in OrwellVille. 1 The Israeli group Peace Now has issued a report stating that more than a third of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank are built on privately owned Palestinian land. Of course, such settlements would be illegal under the Geneva Convention. The official argument against this is an embarrassment since it is learned pleading in the support of theft. I checked the NY Times and all I could find today was: Israeli Map Says West Bank Posts Sit on Arab Land which does not appear to be quite the same. However, it is the same story. My entire intro is a bit, shall we say, nonsensical. (Now it is time to write about DeQuincey's Nonsense Considered As A Fine Art.) 2 There was a BBC TV special yesterday on the presence of the CIA at Robert Kennedy's assassination. I wonder when we will see that. I remember some years ago, many years actually, seeing a special on JFK and his brothers while I was in Canada. I was stunned. It was the first mention ever of the Marilyn Monroe connection. I stared at the screen, wondering who had produced this documentary and from where had it come. I knew it could not be American. At the time, American news did not report on the sexual mores of the political elite from the eastern seaboard. Congressmen from Ohio were fair game, however. I had never seen this type of reporting. It was a BBC documentary. I had to be in Canada to see it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Eerie Synchronicity Or...Not

Posted today in First they came for the Mashichists, but I wasn’t a Mashicist so I didn’t speak up… Eeriely (eerieielly?? does one spell the adverb of "eerie"?) like my own post last week... I guess given the same situation, the probability is high that many will use the same conceptual structure. Why are there so many similar situations, then? That is, situations of governments wreaking violence? In the same Blog there is a section entitled Mishegaas. I have not read nor spoken Yiddish in a long time -" long time" being 35 years of more for me, "middle term" being 15 to 34 years and "just yesterday" being anything up to 15 years. However, since I live in Michigan, the home of the US Automotive geniuses, I am tempted to state that the name "michigan" does not come from the Native American for "big water" or "makes big water", but from mishegaas. It would explain a lot.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Credit Problems

A good deal of coverage nowadays on the credit problems of young people. Hee-hee! Wait 'til the Bush National Debt catches up to them! My nephews were wondering the other day that if you put, oh, say, about 300 Republican Representatives and Senators in room with a like number of typewriters, and then went away for, say, 100 years, what is the probability that they would have written the works of Charles Bukowski AND the recent revisions on the law of personal bankruptcy. Chance were pretty good for the second alternative. Refresh your memories now. The revisions in personal bankruptcy were bought and paid for by the Credit Card Companies. Oh, yes they were. There is no doubt about that. Even Rush Limbaugh would not argue the contra side on this moot. I will not go on about the atrocious law. I will observe that it treats those least able to pay enormous interest in a distinctly non-Judaeo-Christian way. Judaeism and Christianity and Islam all have obligations to the poor and those burdened by debts. WE do not. We do not, because we are not Christian, Jewish, nor Muslim. At best, we are fellow travellers of the above mentioned faiths. I was sitting with some frien ... acquaintances a while back. (Almost said "friends". Don't do the "friendship" thing. Yuuuck!) I said that our society was populated with monsters. I was talking in re: killing middle easterners. He, my acquaintance, corrected me and said that I could not really say that most of the populace were monsters. Most were good people. Surely. I was abashed and said yeah, I guess. Shucks. Nonsense. We are monsters of complicity and acquiescence. If you think that it is quite enough to go to church and pray before dinner and feel a pang of remorse when some broken Iraqi kid is hoisted up to a prying camera on the TV, you are crazy. Crazy Monsters! Now you see why I do not do the friendship thing. Imagine sitting with me at a restaurant and have me go into this type of rant. Imagine me contradicting everything you say. You'd run, too. So, it's monsters...check the friendship thing at the door...and try to remember to pray to God, not the credit card company. It's hard. It may take awhile, but it will be better in the end.


I have a lot to be thankful for. 1) there are health problems, but so far so good. 2) we do not live in Anbar province 3) we do not have any debt 4) the country may get its head out of its...sand after the recent election 5) we do not live in Falluja ... and so on. I could probably go on for quite a while. It's hard to gauge the Thanksgiving crowd sometimes. My mother has reports of nieces and nephews being spotted coming in on NORAD with great, hungry appetites. Then the radar blips just disappear in a haze of "other plans" or "a better offer". My elder brother was in, then out. This means I need not replenish the stock of products distilled from potatoes in Poland. My younger brother may receive an offer from the County today to kindly accept its hospitality for the Thanksgiving feast, as well as a few more months of dinners. It's hard to tell how many will be there. The number doesn't matter. Just be somewhere where there's love.

Trial And Verdict

I suppose now I must look forward to hearing such monumentally profound observations on the order of "The death sentence against Saddam Hussein is right. He was a really, really bad guy." and "The world's a better place now that he's gone." Perhaps. However, even Saddam Hussein in his most megalomaniacal never caused the deaths of 600,000 of his fellows. (Lancet estimate.) Where am I going with this line of thinking, you say? No where. I know where I live and the age in which I live. 600,000 lives of some Middle Easterners is chump change for us. Like General Dyer at Jallian Walla Bagh, we have a point to make and we will bloody well make it. Human Rights Watch ( has stated: Iraq: Dujail Trial Fundamentally Flawed Court Should Overturn Verdict and Death Penalty The trial of Saddam Hussein and seven other defendants before the Iraqi High Tribunal for crimes against humanity was marred by so many procedural and substantive flaws that the verdict is unsound. So now the "Really, really bad guy" group will argue against the "Fundamentally flawed" group. It is not my responsibility to try Saddam Hussein nor to condemn him to death nor to carry out the sentence. My government has tried to distance itself from the process by turning the trial over to Iraqi lawyers who have been out of the international circuit, particularly out of the international crimes against human rights circuit, for a number of years. So we provide ...advice to them. And we have the sentence read...just before the November elections. This trial, given its importance, should have been a perfect example of the use of international law. Instead it was a jimmy-legged, jerry-rigged mess. But what does one expect nowadays? I refuse to have this man's blood on my hands. I have acquiesced in enough killing in the Middle East. What answer will I have for St. Peter at heaven's gate? St. Pete:"What about this slaughter in Iraq...and, for that matter, Palestine?" Me: "I didn't do any killing. I wuz following orders, anywho." St. Pete: "......Riiiiight. "

Sunday, November 19, 2006


The title pretty well sums it up. I do not wish to lose my father. He has an abdominal aneurysm and the medics are debating whether to operate based on the strength of his heart. Based on the size of the aneurysm, there should be an operation. It has been a long two years. Last year he was so sick from pneumonia he could not walk to my car to be driven to the hospital. Well, he recovered well and we were soon laughing about jet-age diuretics and how fast they work. My mother had an angioplasty and a stent procedure. Afterwards I told her that she had too much food around with trans fats. She laughed and said, "It's his lungs, not his heart, that's the problem." "It's not dad I'm talking about." I said. So Thanksgiving approaches. There's a jar of gravy with partially hydrogenated molecules waiting for me. I'm picking up the turkey on Wednesday, taking it to their place 60 miles north and going to the doctor's with my father. Will return Thursday early to pop turkey into oven. And I will worry. I will have to rely on my mother until I return on Thursday. Last year when cleaning the recessed lighting in the kitchen I discovered what looked like minute pieces of beef jerky on the ceiling. Well, they were indeed beef. My mother's pressure cooker exploded some months before. She no longer uses it. I do not wish to lose them. We have faced death before. They have been ill. I have been ill. My daughter had been ill many times in the past, God willing, not so in the present and future. When we first brushed up against Death, he cut us to the quick with a scowl and we huddled in bed, grasping each other like we'd never let go again and crying ourselves to exhaustion. I guess one never gets used to it, but you become bolder and less fearful. I do not wish to lose them. We've only gotten to like each other the last few weeks. We are more like old friends. (Old crotchety friends, true.) Death has no dominion in the kingdom of Faith.


I have been reading some stuff about Eurabia. This is the notion of some dark, future dystopia where Muslims have become the majority in Europe. Back in the day we had the yellow peril. That seems to have disappeared into a more gentlemanly fear of China, Inc. The hordes of Asia have always instilled fear into certain intellectuals of Europe. It is probably some memory that stretches back to Genghis Khan. It dawns on me that I have a beard. I see many with beards. I heard from my daughter that a friend of hers is growing a beard. Pretty soon we will look like a bunch of mullahs sitting around a internet hookah. I do say things like, "God willing." Hmmm. I have dreamed about the nightmares of Marcus Aurelius. For many years, this philosopher emperor could not sleep through the night for fear of nocturnal images of slaves and Orientals and peoples from the Levant overwhelming the Roman Empire with their reies novae of outlandish Middle Eastern religious mumbo-jumbo. Christianity was the religion of the outcasts. They met in underground caverns for their services. Repressed into the darkness. They were metaphorically Monsters from the Id for old Marcus A. Same thing happened to the Krell on Altair IV. From the Id come forth Monsters or Saints. It is up to us to choose. Scary stuff.


There are some good blogs I like and to which I do not link because...I do not know how to do it! So there. Like the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) and Butch Cassidy(Paul Newman). Sundance Kid "I can't link !" Butch Cassidy ( laughing ) "Are you crazy? The Blog Help section'll probably kill ya!"

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Our Stories 2

I heard from a gent who could not believe that I was not a fan of the Left Behind series.

Furthermore, although I might not be a fan, surely I could realize the value of the books.

I had to tell him that I do not.
Our stories are what we are and we are our stories. Our lives are history; a narrative of a being whose cognitive system allowed him to experience the Holy. If I choose to allow violence, death, and disaster, then my story will reflect this fact.

I once spoke of Defoe's pamphlet On Murder Being Considered As A Fine Art. Even murder may be an art form if enough people say it is.
Murder is an art form now, in fact.
We have an entire genre of literature and cinema devoted to artful depictions of violent degradations of humanity. Martin Scorsese is a master of the form. He has a new film called The Departed and people flock to see it. These same people will probably discuss its merits afterwards.

I was recently asked if I had seen it. I replied that Martin Scorsese and I have...issues, issues going all the way back to Taxi Driver.

Our stories are built upon these choices. In the realm of Faith, the common sense distinction between the world of Image and Reality disappears, for we experience the Holy in fear and trembling, but when we return to the everyday world, we must tell of our experience using words and figures of speech with which we are familiar. If we are familiar with the glorification of violent disaster, we shall use the language of Left Behind. We are limited beings.
We cannot comprehend the Holy. We can feel it, taste it. Then we try to describe it. If our vocabulary is that of Violence and Discord, so shall our picture of the Holy be. If our words are formed by the Sermon on the Mount, so shall our story of God.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Our Stories

"These are our stories. They tell us who we are." Lieutenant Whorf

I have no stories that tell me who I am.

I used to have them when I was a child, but we have put away the things of children. I have never felt so estranged from the country of my birth as I have for the past 3 years. Now we hope that it will begin to mend. I do not think we will always agree. I do not think that one bit. And we will still act like swine to each other.

But I hope the strange gods have been put away; the dark gods of passion akin to madness that speak in whispers and goad men on to acts of unjust war. Remember I said once that I considered that the United States and the Soviet Union together had effected one of the greatest moral victories in the history of mankind: the avoidance of Nuclear War. Men are still capable of great things.

I have heard it said that modern man has no myths; that he needs myths - stories - to help him understand his place in the universe. We do have stories that tell us what we are. We have the stories of Jesus, the stories of Muhammad, the stories of Moses, the stories of the Buddha... Each of these stories says it will tell us what we are and what we may become.

We have all the myths and stories we need. We choose to ignore them.

One of the biggest selling novels has been the Left Behind series. I have said that I consider stories of death and destruction - even those wrapped in biblical parchments - to be diseased myths of a age of man that is sick unto death and fascinated by the image of its own destruction; an age of mankind so self-centered that it must grasp for everything, even disaster. The Sermon on the Mount is a story that tells us who we are and what we should be and what we may become.

Fuseli Dreams of Richard Perle

Fuseli painted "The Nightmare". The title is an apt description of the neo-conservative nightmare through which we have come. I was listening to an interview with Richard Perle on NPR two days ago. Mr. Perle still believes Saddam Hussein's Iraq was hand-in-glove with Al Qaida. This is eminently taking a page from the Cheney handbook or the Karl Rove handbook. Mr. Rove in an NPR interview before the election said he saw many, many more polls than did his interlocutor. Thus he, Mr. Rove, was more well informed regarding the coming Republican victory. Mr. Perle has seen more documentation regarding Saddam Hussein's relationship with Al Qaida and so it goes in the neo-conservative cloud-cuckoo-land where they have so much more knowledge than we do. I find it totally beyond my understanding why - if the neo-cons use the faulty intelligence alibi to excuse their horrendous blunder into Iraq - the same neo-cons are sold on the infallibility of their mystery documents. The most outstanding stupidity of Mr. Perle and company is their naive assumption that a total authoritarian dictator like Saddam Hussein would ever have tolerated the presence of another power base in Iraq. To think that Hussein would allow Al Qaida to set up even a meager shop within the borders of Iraq flies in the face of dictatorial reason. Good riddance to those fools.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Deja Vu

Massacre in Gaza Then they came for the Palestinians, but I did not say anything for I was not a Palestinian. And then they came for me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Holocaust

So I am reading Elie Wiesel. And I agree with him. (I have been criticized (attacked?) for things I have said about Israel. That is too bad. Never again will I describe myself as a friend of so-and-so or such-and-such. All Humanity will eventually fail your inflated vision of them. In my youth, I received only one side of the Middle East conflict, resulting in a vision of Israel as the Land of Milk and Honey and a paradise on earth. So I find it isn't. Then I say it isn't. Criticize away, fellows!) Anyway, I'm reading Elie Wiesel about the Holocaust. Mr. Wiesel states that Auschwitz is as important as Sinai. He see the Holocaust as a theological event. I would agree, since I see many things as theological events. The point about the Holocaust is that it leads directly to the state of Israel and this leads to the present state of affairs. The theological event may not have come to a close. Or, if the Holocaust is to be defined as having come to a close in the 1940's, then what theological occurence do we view today? God is not sleeping. What is it we see today? What is the theology behind the present day's actions? What theological event shall we call the Diaspora of the Palestinians from their homelands? The historian Amos Funkelstein once wrote, "...that the extermination of the Jews of Europe ought to arrest the attention of theologians seems obvious. " The extermination of any and all peoples arrests the attention, whether they be Jews or Palestinians. This seems obvious.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Muses Take a Dive

We saw Borat Saturday past. Very sketchy. It was like being in a part of town where there's a lot of junk clogging the side streets, so that it looks weird and funny, but you look for an escape route. The local Opera had their last performance of Porgy and Bess, so we went and got mixed in with the football traffic. High five, George G! ( ......sort of like Ali G....who was Sascha Cohen...of Borat.) I guess I never read the story before, nor saw the opera, nor saw the films. I did not like the opera one bit. I found the story thin and the characters one dimensional. Even so, this one dimension seemed suspiciously too close to racial stereotypes to be comfortable. I mean, what in the world motivates Bess? Other than the obvious which I will not mention here. If nothing other than the obvious is in Bess, I could stay at home and watch commercials about crack cocaine laboratories being bad for your health. The performers were very good, but the music -other than the famous songs-was uninteresting. Even the well known songs seemed to flash by too quickly to inspire a feeling of reverence. The characters were also so uninteresting that I finally came to admire Crown, the bad guy of the piece, for at least seeming to have some sort of personality. When Crown goes to save Clara, he takes on more meaning than Porgy ever comes close to. It became so bad that I dreaded the inception of another scene. I was in such pain that I didn't know whether to cry or yell or run screaming from the theater. I considered talking back at the stage, something like "Have mercy, Porgy. Cut it short!" Then the audience would either applaud me with enormous relief, or they would turn against me like lions. Either way, it would be a relief. What happened is not clear to me. If this piece of music and drama is as bad as it appeared to me, what could possibly explain its endurance?

Lies Economists Told Us

It does one good to get up early on an autumn morning, have a good breakfast, then go sit in the shooting blind with a thermos filled with hot coffee and bag a brace of nonsensical ideas. I consider myself conservative. However, this does not mean stupid or credulous. I wuz reading (sorry about that slip.) the Ludwig von Mieses Institute site and came across an article which is entitled Congress Forces Gambling Off Line. Why? This article references a book that can sum this all up: Power and Market author: Rothbard The book is sold on site and is introduced by: What can government do to enhance social and economic well being? Nothing, says Murray N. Rothbard. Power and Market contains the proof. It will inoculate the reader against the even the slightest temptation to invoke the state as a solution to any social or economic problem. Now as a Conservative I should be taking this bait hook, line, and sinker. Right? Well, my initial problem with the arguments about "intervention" is that the same arguments which apply to on-line gambling apply to child pornography. If one truly believed these notions, one should argue for the restoration of child pornography on the internet using the exact same arguments. Perhaps it is a quaint Victorian reticence that holds them back. All societies establish norms for right and wrong. If your take an immediate confrontational view of government ( and - in truth - the government is very confrontational ) then we feel we must resist its intrusion. However, if we conceive of government as the will of the governed, we have a slightly different outlook. If the common good is administered to by our government which we have freely elected and if that government has expressed our will in the form of laws banning on-line gambling and child pornography, then the fact that a group of low-lives will have recourse to a black-market in such items does not constitute an intelligent reason for us to re-consider our actions. And stop talking about Prohibition. The problem with Prohibition is that we were a society in which a majority of people abused alcohol. If - at some point in the future - the majority of society were to clamor for the legitimization of child pornography, would that mean we should restore free market kiddy porn - just as we restored booze to the households of America? Consider this quote: A government measure that might induce more saving and less consumption is then no less subject to criticism than one that would lead to more consumption and less saving. To say differently is to criticize free-market choices and implicitly to advocate governmental measures to force more savings upon the public. This type of analysis commingles moral acts with acts which are not subject to morality per se. Believe it or not, I consider gambling to be immoral and do not see why I would mix it up in a discussion about household savings and consumption. This analysis sets up a criterion of value which supersedes all other criteria, including your precious religious beliefs. Those religious trinkets will hold only so long as the free market allows. To bring this to its utterly stupid conclusion, if the free market were to choose illegal immigrants, slave labor, indenture, etc. then who are we to quibble? If free markets were to choose goods and services outrageous to social mores, shall we accept them? I do not believe the proponents of such arguments are stupid. Therefore, they must be pernicious and desirous of destroying morality. By their very nature, these arguments deny the existence of anything beyond the free market structure; morality is some vague, never-never-land idea that is the stuff of children. Free Markets are mindless automata which function as the servants of the society in which they exist. The men and women of that society set the standards and ethics and morality by which those markets must function, not the other way round. To believe otherwise is to deny our political and religious heritage going back thousands of years.

Tech Bubble Heads

Seen at Longtail Venture capitalist David Hornik does a great job in summarizing... The basic idea is that incredible advances in technology have driven the cost of things like transistors, storage, bandwidth, to zero. And when the elements that make up a business are sufficiently abundant as to approach free, companies appropriately should view their businesses differently than when resources were scarce (the Economy of Scarcity). They should use those resources with abandon, without concern for waste. That is the overriding attitude of the Economy of Abundance -- don't do one thing, do it all; don't sell one piece of content, sell it all; don't store one piece of data, store it all. The Economy of Abundance is about doing everything and throwing away the stuff that doesn't work. In the Economy of Abundance you can have it all . All I can say is Hallelujah! Away with all that eco-friendly, recycle nonsense; just exploit the world and let the chips fall where they may ! Possible Irrational Exuberance Ahead. addendum: There is the problem of hazardous elements in e-waste. It will become a huge problem, like everything becomes when you have the above attitude towards the world. If you incorporate the husbandry of taking care of the stuff you are throwing away - recycling, for example- you are no longer within the joyous abandon of the Economy of Abundance. You are in the Economy of Good Stewardship. link to e-waste article:

Moral Monsters

To my daughter: Never support Moral Monsters who exploit and kill. Most of my life I have listened to the lies told by some of our leaders, lobbyists, and interest groups. I have become a monster of complicity myself. There is no difference between me and a dutiful German citizen during World War II who closed their eyes to atrocity. There is a component of the morally monstrous in our support of Israel. It derives from a component of the Israeli body itself which is a monster. The people of Israel are a brave and good people. It seems that now the monsters have come to power. This has paralleled the rise to power of the monstrous within our own country. They have fired upon the women of Bait Hanoun. We have destroyed Iraq in the name of our Democracy. Now Avigdor Lieberman, the deputy prime minister, proposes a Cyprus model for the partition of the land into a Palestinian state and Israel. He states that minorities are the biggest problem in the world. I do not need to draw parallels with monsters from the past. It is too obvious. These statements - if they are accepted - go back to the founding of the State of Israel and what was said and what was done at that time. If you cannot live in harmony with others, they must be destroyed...unless we may build a wall...unless we may divide the land... Our god is not big enough. The God of Abraham worshipped by Jews and Muslims and Christians is not big enough. If Jacob were to wrestle with God, the God, that is, that we believe in, God would give up. God would back off. Let the man do whatever the man wants. The terrorism of today is but a little terror compared to the Big Terror being dreamed up by the Monsters in power.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Iz Dis Fer Real?

"You've got to be ..... kidding ! "
David Clennon as Palmer in The Thing ( dir. John Carpenter)  
I was reading the account of the old Iraqi nuclear research. The army had captured old documents from the days when Saddam Hussein did actually have atomic research. In order to defend the Republican Indefensible, GOP people asked that this out-of-date material be posted on the Internet, apparently to create some sort of illusion among the voters apparently too stupid to be able to distinguish what was important from what wasn't.

The problem was that the documents, being in Arabic and no one in our government being able to read them, provided a pretty good tutorial for building an atomic bomb. I believe the documents were up since March. It may have been March of 2005, I forget. They were removed this week past. Someone asked me whether I would look for work as a translator with the government since I am studying Arabic. I told them I do not think our government is serious about anything except lining their pockets. The sad part is I'm serious.

The Vice President was in Colorado: "It may not be popular with the public. It doesn't matter, in the sense that we have to continue what we think is right," Cheney said. "That's exactly what we're doing. We're not running for office. We're doing what we think is right."

My problem is I do not have the slightest idea what we are doing. We did invade and we won that war - mission accomplished. Now what are we doing? I think that after 3 years if an occupying force cannot even claim to have control over the capital city where their headquarters are located this is not a good sign. But what are we doing? What is the goal?
I do not want any long term high sounding crap like spreading Democracy. What are we doing this week to stop the deaths of Iraqis and our soldiers? What, Mr. Vice President?  

In closing, let me remind President Bush and Ehud Olmert that I think I have gotten my tax dollars worth many times over with dead Palestinians. The shooting of 2 women in Bait Hanoun was a topper.
Thank you, George and Ehud. Thank you for dipping your hands in the blood and wiping it on our faces.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Bush Years

Interesting article on interrogations. Thank you, Mr. President.

The Virgin Mary

Mary, the mother of Jesus, figures prominently in the second surah of the Quran, The Family of Imran, in case you did not know. I have always had a tender spot in my heart for Mary. I hope she feels likewise. However, the portrayals of Mary in literature and film is not the way I see her. In the Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson, she is the usual wailing woman, full of ululations and despair. (The Passion was violence-pornography to me. Murder can be considered as a fine art, and as well can it be considered as religion. The loving depictions of the pain of Jesus do not lead us to share in his pain - that was not the intent of that sacrifice-but to indulge in our self-centered and sadistic narcissism. And as far as the accusations that the film was anti-Semitic, we know that was nonsense.) Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Virgin, Theotokos, fights for her beloved children with all the passion in the universe. If we believe in her role as intercessor with her son, then I know she pleads the case with all the vigor and tenacity of a well trained lawyer in the heavenly courts. She files motion after motion, she objects and argues, she wears down the legalists in defense of us, her clients. Mary is a vigorous champion of the down-trodden: " He casts the mighty from their thrones." Mary is a force for radical change for living the way we are supposed to be living. Mary is not the shy and demure pre-teen as we usually see her depicted. She is wise and canny and committed to the welfare of her children. Mary is a Force to be reckoned with. She is an icon made up of every strong mother keeping her family together in the face of despair. Mary is not demure in the cause of us, her family. She will fight with every bit of her great passion for rectitude. As a proponent for her children, Mary to me resembles the women warriors of the past more than certain females of today who write and speak the spite and ire of their perversity into the willing ears of dupes. In short, rather than seeing a painting of a pasty-faced woman wearing a tiara standing upon the globe, I'd much rather say that Mary rulz!

Election 2006

How will one vote? Well, I think the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to be a law which could have been written after the burning of the Reichstag in 1933. Show the film Red Dawn one more time.

Kicking the TV Habit

If Election Day were every month, I could totally kick the TV habit. What I mean is, my apprehension at turning on the tube of boobs and being inundated by a tsunami of fairly puerile political ads is so great that I will not watch TV until after the election; I won't watch until about 72 hours after the election. And do not political ads really remind you of some type of nasty footballers after practice snapping towels at each other in the locker room? I'll grab a few Everybody Loves Raymond and Cedric the Entertainer when he's on, but nothing else. When Cable TV began, there were no commercials. It was assumed that the cable fee was the revenue for the cable company. Revenues have increased and the programming is pretty awful. The economic theory is that quality should get better. So much for theory. The theory is get all you can. Then die. The commercials are everywhere and they are stupid. There are even commercials in movie theaters. The ones I've seen are for Stella Artois beer and these are so good they are frequently better than the film I've gone to view. I went to see The Aristocrats with a friend and walked out after 15 minutes. This was considered ...what? I mean, what was that film considered to be so that some reviewers said that people should actually debase themselves by viewing it? I heard yesterday from a friend in Toronto that he saw a commercial on a Buffalo, New York channel that showed a toilet bowl with excrement, said excrement being the focus of the advertisement, the product being -naturally enough-toilet bowl cleaner. Why? I asked. I mean, if I were to be in the market for bowl cleaner, one assumes that I already had a pretty good bird's eye view of the state of the porcelain, so to speak. I do not, repeat: DO NOT, require digital representations, thank you. After this, my friend waxed eloquent on the history of the representation of toilets in the cinema, he being an entity who views Reality at 24 frames per second. The first depiction of a toilet in modern cinema occurs in Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock. It is in the scenes of Janet Leigh in the motel. Before this, the Hayes code forbade such sights. Then I said that even though Hitch had broken the fetters of the code which had held us back from the brave new world of copro-propinquity, still Hitch had to shoot a toilet which was sparkling. It looked as if Mr. Sparkle himself had scoured it. Send dirt to land of ghosts. And the motel was a cheap motel. There is no way such a toilet exists or existed in a motel of that caliber. I have had the unfortunate experience to view porcelain which was cleaned with steel wool, or so it appeared. Then we drifted into TV again. He doesn't like CSI. Neither do I. I mean, I like the lab stuff. I do not like the Abu Ghraib touches, the Falluja-esque scenes, the H.P. Ashcroftian moments of eldritch sex. Switching to present day cinema, I told him that I had seen The Queen. She-who-must-be-obeyed had compiled a list of films to be viewed; Marie Antoinette was on the list as well as a number of others. I do not really subscribe to the list...not even the newletter. I mean, I do not really remember the films on the list...except, of course, around birthday time and anniversary time, at which times one should really scour the lists as well as any archives available. Otherwise, when we go to the movies, my opinion is not recorded. (I have had some bad moments - cinematically speaking- over the past few years. I have developed a rash and a phobia caused by films with Morgan Freeman doing voice over or playing a sort-of-as-it-were Greek chorus sidelines character who does commentary and voice over - the film with Hilary Swank and Clint Eastwood and boxing comes to mind.) So I was told to direct the car to the sole movie house in the area which shows films other than Spiderman and was told were we going to see The Queen. Of course, I think we will see that Marie Antoinette period piece and my visual cortical taste buds are primed for Louis XVI, Versailles, and aristocratic romps in the hay or arbor or pergola or what-not. Imagine my surprise at seeing Queen Elizabeth in the opening scenes. For the next - oh - 20 seconds I have to wonder how we are setting the scene for Marie Antoinette. The connection between the ill-starred Austrian princess and the House of Windsor is not...shall we say...obvious. Since my wife is sitting next to me and not reacting to the opening scenes with consternation, I have to assume we are in the right theater and watching the correct film. It is a very good film, too, by the way.