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Monday, April 30, 2007

Gianni Schicchi At The Met

Allessandro Corbelli as Gianni Schicchi
She who must be obeyed and I went to the Live Transmission of the Metropolitan Opera of New York to see Il Trittico, the opera of which Gianni Schicchi forms the last third. She went because she loves the music of Gianni Schicchi, forming, as it does, the soundtrack of A Room With A View. I went because I thought that Gianni was the Gianni of Everybody Loves Raymond and Robert might be on stage, saying "Everybody loves Raymond."

She who must be obeyed was surprised to find that the source of her favorite music was an comic opera about a rascal. I found out that Gianni did not go to Nemo's Pizza Parlor to hang out. Gianni Schicchi is a form of the Trickster Image from our history. He is similar to Coyote, or Raven, or Kokopelli, or Legba; any number of similar figures who are cunning and use their intelligence to pull capers and pranks. Prometheus' theft of fire from Olympus was essentially a scam, a prank, a wheeze he pulled on the gods and for the benefit of humanity.
Odysseus was cunning, he was a man of turns and tricks, he was the go-to guy for the Achaeans, because, truth be told, the Achaeans were fighters, not thinkers.
Think of the tales of the Viking beserkers; that is what Ajax was like at Troy. That is what Achilles was like in the heat of battle, not some precious Brad Pitt figure who uses martial arts. These guys went beserk in battle.

It wasn't pretty.
Steam rolled off their bodies at the end of a battle.
In fact, it took a good deal of effort to get these guys down from their slaughter high after a battle. This has always been a problem for soldiers: getting them back into some semblance of sanity after they have waged a pitched battle.
The trickster was an entirely different figure from Ajax and Achilles. Odysseus was a trickster. He used his head. That's why he endured. (Of course, sometimes the scheme of the trickster backfires.)
Gianni is a trickster. He tricks the greedy relatives of poor old Buoso Donati.
I remember telling you Don Imus was a trickster and should be back on the airwaves.
We have had enough of the Best and the Brightest.
Give me Odysseus.
Give me Imus.
Give me Gianni Schicchi!

The Shadow of the Vampire: 1

“…the inadequacy of our plans,our contingencies, every missed train, the failed picnics, every lie to a child.” John Malkovich as F.W.Murnau in The Shadow of the Vampire.

On Mothers’ Day we couldn’t go to my mother’s because of her dogs and my daughter’s allergy. Ditto Fathers’ Day. We used to have picnics with our dearest friends on Fathers’ Day. The fathers would play tennis. The mothers minded the children and laid out the picnic. We don’t do that anymore. We rarely see them. We’ve graduated to the one page enclosure within the Christmas card. The failed picnics…and our contingencies.

Note: my nephews wanted to add a picture to this old post. They consider it...poignant.

The Forest of Pongracz where the SS murdered my friendships.

Oh, well. Life goes on.

History Of The Future: 1 Georgei Dzhu Bushvili

Georgei Dzhu Bushvili was the President of the nation state we call the USA in the first years of the 21st century. He is better known by his nickname Dubya, meaning "pone" in Russian. There is a nonsensical topic in the Realm of Blog referred to as Bush Derangement Syndrome. It appears to be used by people on the right who fancy themselves perceptive. They apply it to lefties who, in their own myopia, call Bush mad or deranged. Any fool can tell that George Bush is not insane. He is all too sane, all to cunning, all to ready to sweep you into his hegemonic web. Georgei Dzhu Bushvili is remembered for his institution of a State of Constant War, which was a godsend for American Capitalism, and his suspension of Habeas Corpus, reversing a tradition of English Law going back to the Magna Carta in 1215.

Michigan Needs Mugabe!

My Nephews are paying for this Public Service Message.
This message represents a serious effort on the part of various citizens of the State of Michigan to attempt to resolve their present dilemma: a beautiful state in extremis once more.We will not point fingers; we only have ten apiece. It would require many more than that. We have reached a point where anything is better than the present continuation of the inane policies of the past: policies of the government, the corporations, the unions, the individual citizens. All stand now ready to reap the harvest of the past. Zimbabwe has Mugabe. Some say he is destroying the country of Zimbabwe. Mr. Mugabe at least has a plan of the direction he wishes to follow. We feel that it is this type of vision we need. The Detroit News recently had a headline article story that recovery may take 10 years. That is the death warrant.Of course, the poeple who made these predictions have been wrong at every long term prediction. However, there is very little optimism. My Mother-in-law used to say "When all else fails, welcome haws!"This was a reference to hawberries which were small, not very desirable berries growing on the thorny plants of the apple family in the Ottawa River Valley in Quebec. These could have been the barberry- leaved haw, the dotted haw, the biltmore haw or Lange's Thorn, the poplar-leaved haw, or the scarlet haw. These are augmented by the thorns, the red-fruited thorn, Arnold's Thorn, and so on.No one paid the slightest attention to hawberries, at least until the other berries -straw, blue, logan, mul - failed to appear.Then everyone made hawberry preserves, hawberry pies, and hawberry dowdy. So, when all else fails, Welcome Mr. Mugabe!

Snobbery In The Bloggery

My nephews "liked" my post about the Club of Ariminium and Caesena. (In case you missed it- and there is a good chance of that- the club measured our approach to military dictatorship in terms of steps closer to the Rubicon, upon whose ancient banks stood the towns of Ariminium and Caesena. Caesar crossed the Rubicon on the way to destroy the Roman Republic. There. All clear?) This is not about that appreciation, however. It is about Snobbery in the Bloggery, or a certain need for Bloggers to demonstrate that they know more than their insipid readers. I don't. I just write. I do not know more, but I can do the old three-ring circus type of writing better than most...a true spectacle all gathered under one tent: elephants ( who are symbolic of my weighty thoughts), high wire acts (who are symbolic of my flights of fancy), clowns in a small car (symbolic of people who disagree with me), and the bearded lady (symbolic of Hanaan down at the diner). I used to insanely imagine that folks that used Latin in their writings actually knew Latin, and this implied they were of a certain type, and they would tend to be rather "Frasier-esque", though not nearly so OTT ( over the top). Well, like all insane imaginations, this one proved false. Don't they all. (Consider the dreams for world peace. Remember the Peace Spring when the USSR bit the dust. All gone like the snows of winter...ou sont les neiges d'antan? Or, as Yossarian would have it, where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?) I wuz reading a posting by a person whose Blog cognomen incorporated large chunks of the good old Lingo of Latium. He posed a question. In fact, it wuz a question about History and the Past and Memory...a whole sweet assortment of Proustian madeleines. I commented a brief comment expressing a possible interpretation. He thanked me, disagreed, and proceeded to say that my "premises" were faulty!!!!! I wonder, is that person some sort of Educational Type Manque that feels the need to end everything he says with " the way, your premises are faulty." I had a suggestion, not a bloody treatise. Buffa! Vita e buffa!

The Defining Issue Of Our Times

The issue which defines us and the future is: since the USA has become the world's only superpower, how will it use that power? Certain elites of this country are strenuously active in giving their answer. Their answer is to plant a massive footprint on the face of the globe - in the manner and concept of hegemons of the past- and exploit the world for their advantage. They have their running dogs and stooges in the Media to feed you their News and spoon you a mindless pastiche of E!-tainment and talk and argue ceaselessly behind a mask of Political debate. There is no Politics; there is only a vile machination as to how to deprive you of your rights. The Christian heritage of the USA is being interpreted as an iconography of divinely drunken warlord of heaven, mounted on a steed snorting flames. No wonder the pictures of the Apocalypse are so fitting for us; their Durer depiction of the divine translated into a present of insatiable lust, desire, and violence. Of the Prince of Peace little remains except to be fodder for the poor.

News From The Asia Times

A very good source of news and opinion and commentary, good, that is, if you are tired of the usual parochial and embedded stuff from the compliant American media. 1 In the trenches of the new cold war excerpt: "...But the Russians point out that ever since December 13, 2001, when President George W Bush announced that the US was unilaterally pulling out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, Washington has followed a consistent pattern of deploying along Russian borders radars capable of spotting missile launches and sending targeting data to interceptors. (The first such radar, code-named Have Stare, was stationed in Norway.) " This article deals with the Government efforts to extend the Cold War, to create the state of constant war. 2 The Middle East road to impeachment " impeachment bill introduced by Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Consisting of three articles of impeachment, the proposed bill faults Cheney for (a) his distortions of facts about Iraq's possession of WMD and triggering an unprovoked war on Iraq based on those lies, (b) Cheney's lies about Saddam Hussein's ties to al-Qaeda, and (c) Cheney's quest to take the United States into another war against Iran through similar lies. " This is about impeaching Dick Cheney. 3 The world and Virginia Tech "...Despite the negligible coverage of overseas opinion about this event in the mainstream US media, there did appear one comprehensive overview of how foreigners reacted to the killings - a Molly Moore piece in the Washington Post. "Nowhere, perhaps," Moore wrote, "were foreign reactions to the Virginia shooting more impassioned than in Iraq, where many residents blame the United States for the daily killings in their schools, streets and markets. 'It is a little incident if we compare it with the disasters that have happened in Iraq,' said Ranya Riyad, 19, a college student in Baghdad. 'We are dying every day.' "

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Club Of Ariminium And Caesena 1

Ariminium and Caesena were towns on the Rubican River, the river which Caesar crossed to overthrow the Roman Republic. This post deals with the Defense Authorization Act of 2006, another step towards a dictatorship, which was ignored by the compliant Media and elected representatives. The Club of Ariminium and Caesena is a play on The Club of Rome, which keeps track of the time remaining before nuclear annihilation.

I believe I wrote about this bit of monstrous arrogance when it was being voted on, or soon thereafter. You may read about it again. Notice particularly that the Compliant Media, the officially embedded mentality of the observers of (1) the obvious, and (2) the trashy, did not give much space to it when it was being committed. April 23, 2007 IssueCopyright © 2007 The American Conservative  
Working for the Clampdown 
 What might the president do with his new power to declare martial law?
by James Bovard excerpt:  
" The Defense Authorization Act of 2006, passed on Sept. 30, empowers President George W. Bush to impose martial law in the event of a terrorist “incident,” if he or other federal officials perceive a shortfall of “public order,” or even in response to antiwar protests that get unruly as a result of government provocations. The media and most of Capitol Hill ignored or cheered on this grant of nearly boundless power. But now that the president’s arsenal of authority is swollen and consecrated, a few voices of complaint are being heard. Even the New York Times recently condemned the new law for “making martial law easier.”

Next, along the same lines, April 23, 2007 IssueCopyright © 2007 The American Conservative  
Sic Semper Tyrannis
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. excerpt:
 "And yet, from his own writings, the president in his vision of the Constitution is nothing more than a hired manager with few powers, and those not trivial are subject to the legislature. If he abuses power, he goes to the gallows in the republican fashion: he is impeached. How does this contrast with the view of the Bush administration? It is opposite in every respect. Consider the claim of John Yoo, author of The Powers of War and Peace, the bible of the Bush administration’s claim of totalitarian powers in war, and the reputed author of most of the Bush administration’s torture policies. Yoo’s book is a twisted mess, an attempt to justify reading the founding period in an opposite way from its historical reality. It’s like arguing that King Lear is a comedy, that Beethoven was second rate, or that the Bible endorses Satanism. There is always someone around to make any crazy claim you want, and if you are the ruling party, intellectuals will crawl out of the woodwork to say what you want them to say. "
The issues that try men's souls are not what they appear. The issues that try the Republic are not the incivility of public discourse. It is not Democrats and Republicans not working together. The issue is the undermining of the Republic by those powerful enough to do so. They are straining now in Politics, in Government, in the Media, in Business to overthrow the American Republic. 

Julius Caesar

It is like the Club of Rome: we are the Club of Ariminum and Caesena- present day Rimini and Cesena- within the final 100 steps (centum passus) to the Rubicon, and are now standing at the 95th; we are 5 steps (quinque passus) from entering the river to cross it and overthrow the Republic.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Virginia Tech 3: The Bonfire of the Inanities

It has been said that IF the students and lecturers of Virignia Tech had been thoughtfully supplied with their own guns, they would have shot the gun man soon after his opening salvo. Unfortunately for a definite conclusion ( yet fortunately for sweet sanity) the following observation also has equal validity: If the student body and staff were heavily armed, then the possibility of more shootings by students and staff increases. In fact, the shooting might have taken place pre-2007, given the armed tension of finals week in 2005. It all hinges on whether we with our magnificent insight can spot the future perpetrator. Given our history ( "he was the nicest guy on the block.", "so-and-so was a scout master, he always helped out. I can't believe he'd do such a thing!" etc., etc., etc.), this is doubtful. If we can spot the future perpetrator, then all we have to do is deny fire power to the perp. However, if we deny fire power to the perp, then the rest of the population has no need for fire power to defend themselves from the powerless potential perpetrator. Hmmmm.... I give up. Say, did they ever find out who was the father ( or..."perpetrator") of Anna Nichole Smith's baby?

Memo From The Desk Of Colonel Blimp 1

Recently there has been put forth a proposal for a House of Lords that would be entirely subject to an electoral process. This makes nonsense of the name House of "Lords", the appellation thereafter surviving merely as a sobriquet. The vote for a House of Lords that is totally elected will create an institution that will rival and challenge the authority of Commons. Shame!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


My blog settings were inimical to comments. I do not know how that happened. Not many people care. I think I have remedied it. I shall await the tsunami of text written in the Active Outrageous Tense.

Role Models And The Cult Of Celebrity

I have had occassion to read a couple thousand papers about life role models, written by elementary school children. It does become rather redundant. However, it could be worse. I could be forced to watched cable TV. My favorite experience has always been getting my interest piqued highly, only to be interrupted by a long parade of commercials. So what is there about role models for elementary school children that is similar to the celebrities spewed forth by the celebrity-spewing industry? I hope to find out in the future...when I get some bloody time! (O.K. One obvious difference between the two notions is that of moral responsibility. Role Models are understood to have responsibility for their behavior lest it give scandal. Celebrities operate under no such constraints.)

Imus And Me

It seems that the Democratic Establishment, along with others, are making waves to get the I-man re-instated. Perhaps I shall withdraw my support. Or shall I continue to live with the early morning news, syrupy and saccharine, and fully compliant to the requirements of the brain-challenged.

I'm Right, You're Wrong Revisited

The infantile right-wing of the lands lieing on the Tropic of Blog have an expression called Global Warmism. This is their contribution to Climate Change. It is not insubstantial. It is parallel to their contributions to the Unpleasantness in Iraq. However, I shall not argue pro or con about whether climate change is real, nor whether it is a threat, nor anything else about it. I did say previously that, regardless whether it exists or not, climate change will happen fast, much faster than anyone predicts. That is my point: I shall not judge whether the phenomenon is real. However, I do maintain that it is going to take your breathe away with its fleet-footed progress. Case in point: An island made by global warming The map of Greenland will have to be redrawn. A new island has appeared off its coast, suddenly separated from the mainland by the melting of Greenland's enormous ice sheet, a development that is being seen as the most alarming sign of global warming. ... But it is only one more example of the disintegration of the Greenland Ice Sheet, that scientists have begun to realise, only very recently, is proceeding far more rapidly than anyone thought. This rapidity has been attested to over 30 years. Mothers, get your kids off the streets!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Virginia Tech 2: Rampage!

Rampage: The Social Roots Of School Shootings is the title of a book by Katherine Newman, published in 2005. No one paid too much attention to it, for obvious reasons. Those reasons are that it speaks about ourselves, and we always find that an uncomfortable topic. It is a topic we only trot out after the outrages and rampages that punctuate our lives social. Then we forget it all. I excerpt from a website that references a book review no longer available to me:
From these premises Newman forwards five necessary conditions for rampages. First, the shooter must see himself as marginal to his immediate social worlds, and as having lowly status in peer hierarchies. Some were victims of bullying and ridicule, but often they simply felt socially isolated, resentful, and desperate. Second, they suffer from a host of individual vulnerabilities that magnify the impact of this marginality, i.e. shooters' deteriorating mental states worsened their sense of isolation and paranoia. Rather than being impulsive or suddenly erratic, the shooters' great common fault was to ruminate and obsess over their social difficulties. Most had at least once attempted suicide. Third, all shooters had access to 'cultural scripts' that glorify armed attack. By venerating social blueprints that connect manhood to violence, guns, domination, and the thrill of terrifying the innocent, would-be shooters understood that outward aggression would somehow reinstate their status. In their own minds, these scripts offered a 'masculine exit' from social subordination. Fourth, local surveillance systems failed to provide warnings. Most shooters were doing moderately well in school, and most lacked extensive histories of criminality. Yet, Newman argued that enough warning signs were present in each case. Shooters usually uttered threats leading to their rampages, but were not heard beyond their peers, or were ignored by adults. These would-be killers thus fell under the radar screen of adult networks.
Due to a lack of official coordination between schools, law enforcement, and mental health agencies, no one individual had access to all the relevant information that would allow them to piece together the many warning signals that existed across the disparate spheres of school, family, or neighbourhood. Finally, each shooter had access to guns, the plentiful availability of guns in rural areas made them easily accessible to troubled youth. The paragraphing is mine. I have difficulty reading ( always have) and need to spread things out a bit. Read this before it is out of the public eye and American Idol returns !

Virginia Tech

I have heard discussions about the gun man. I have heard that he was a loner, that he indulged in fantasies of violence, that he made violent videos, that his language was intemperate, and so on. Why could we have not done something earlier? Especially since all of the above are obviously signs of severe mental disturbance? If these are signs of mental disturbance, what about our society and its own sub-culture of violence? What about our fascination with violent films? What about our fascination with guns? What about our myths of the wild West? What about our own intemperate language? Why is it so easy for us to spot a disturbed individual after the fact, when we cannot see our general sickness at any time? What general sickness, you ask? I shall not be specific, but I shall point to one aspect of it: you will continue to condemn the people of Iraq to violence and destruction while you fiddle and dance your way to 2008, and look forward to another $4 million dollar presidential inauguration with stars in your eyes and sequins on your shoes.

We Need Imus

I got up this morning. I discovered Don Imus is still not on. I have seen a number of his guests in various venues: David Gregory on MSNBC in the same time slot, Jon Meachum on Sunday morning... These are all intelligent individuals. However, they are not particularly interesting. David Grgeory in a conversation with the I-man can be quite witty. On his own he is...professional. Don Imus was an entertainer of a shocking nature. Do we need to be shocked? Unfortunately, I think we do. We were shocked into action on 9/11. However, we were not sufficiently shocked subsequently to dissuade us from our trek to disaster in Iraq. We desperately needed questioners and shockers all along the way to make us stop and think. We had Phil Donahue. Fired him. We had Bill Maher. Took him off the TV. In the middle ages, the king extended a latitude to the jesters to say things no one else in the kingdom could say; the jesters could mock the kings. We need these jesters. We need people who will shock us with humor. They may misfire badly, as did Don Imus, but this should not be sufficient to remove them, unless they demonstrate a consistent pattern of frequent abuse and intolerance. Otherwise we are left with the professionals. These never questioned the war. The Rev. Al Sharpton may step forward as our conscience, but this has inherent difficulties. He is not a comic and cannot say the outrageous things Imus could say. Furthermore, he is black. Like it or not, this country would probably only accept a scourge who was white. Blacks are viewed as having an agenda: getting out of poverty, trying to keep the young men out of prison. At this point, I no longer watch TV in the mornings. Why, indeed, should I? I have no taste for infommercials. Since most of the TV fare is appalling, interspersed with endless commercials, we are thinking of reducing our commitment to mindless entertainment to an absolute minimum, or abolishing it altogether.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Don Imus And The Blackboard Of My Heart

"My tears have washed 'I love you'
from the blackboard of my heart,
It's too late to clean the slate
and make another start..."
Don Imus has made a very offensive remark and has been fired. The remark was appalling and atrocious.
(When I first heard of this, I immediately suspected that his co-hort, Bernard McGurk, was somehow behind it. It turns out that the remark was made in a bit of tasteless repartee between Imus and McGurk. Bernard has been an outrage waiting to explode for a long time.I have turned the show off a number of times. I watched it in the early morning watches, usually on a treadmill running the obligatory 6 per hour. I distinctly remember reaching up and slapping the OFF button and running in silence for 10 minutes or so. When I turned it on again, if the storm had not passed, I slapped it off again.When the coast was clear, everything was fine.)
The Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were involved in the Imus dismissal.
I shall tell you what I think of these gentlemen, not holding back anything.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson I remember speaking at the Democratic National Convention and I recall being spell bound by his words. I thought it was one of the finest speeches I had ever heard.
The Rev. Al Sharpton my family and I awaited one bright, sunny, New York afternoon. We were on the grounds of the old City Hall and were waiting for Al Sharpton to lead a demonstration across a bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan.It turns out the Rev. Sharpton wasn't in the demonstration. It was some other leader. The demonstration was getting a very late start, so we left. We had wanted to hear Mr. Sharpton.
I have heard the words "shock jock". I have no idea what that means. I thought it meant disc jockeys who did outrageous stunts and yelled a lot. It apparently does not.
(Mr. Daniel Schorr spoke of the imbroglio in terms of "shock jock". I have enormous respect for Mr. deep is the ocean, how wide is the sea type notion here.)
I shall not defend Don Imus.
The remark was indefensible.
What I shall do is write about what Imus means to me.

I Come Across Imus
I never heard of Imus until late in my brother-in-law Billy's cancer.
Billy had trouble getting to sleep, and he fell asleep finally on the couch with the TV blaring.
We were visiting him in Quebec. I would come downstairs in the morning and there would be Imus and Billy.
Interesting, I thought.
No, Bill, I never listened to Imus.
It turns out Bill had listened to him forever, going back scads of years.
We were with Bill for two weeks, then, so I had a fortnight of Imus in the morning. As I listened, I became more interested, for I began to hear things I had never heard before.
Here was someone openly dismissive of the war in Iraq !

Here was someone calling the Vice President a war criminal.
Here was someone who had the courage to give speech to the things which frustrated my silence.
For the first time on radio and TV, I was watching and listening to someone speak their mind, and their mind was not the rear piece of a pantomime horse costume.
Oh, there was indeed a lot of trash that went with it, and my interior demons and interior parsons battled whether I should laugh openly or be disapproving, but it was such a feeling of freedom.
For indeed that is what I felt. I did not watch the American TV news anymore, for they had been usurped, embedded, and purchased by the powers that be and their war:
All of us were watching with slavering delight as our President beamed a cosmic smile upon the flight deck of an aircraft carrier and found delight in wearing U.S. Army paraphernalia...he, the son of a President who waged war, finding delight...just as did the son of Germanicus, little Caligula, who loved the Roman Army boots, the caligae, and loved to dance about in little copies, caligulae, of them.
The radio was a vast wasteground of raving lunatics who fancied themselves Conservatives, obviously judging Conservatism to be a scorched earth policy of launching tirades.
The liberals were only of value when I needed a Heimlich manoeuvre and no one was around.
Imus the Destroyer of the Establishment!
Imus the Deconstructor of Structure!
What was going on? I asked myself, what is the role Imus plays? The other people on TV and Radio usually have some hideous agenda, filled with the little hedged scribblings of their minds, jotted down by their talons on a tattered napkin, and their purpose is to support the established way, support the established religions, support the accepted morality.
Some of them even traipse about in the clothes of psychiatrists and insinuate their teachings into the minds hungry for succor, beguiling us, bewitching us
One often feels that the talking heads are surrogates for Sauron's ring: one agenda to rule them all, one mind to find them, one establishment to bring them all, and in the darkness BIND them!
Well, so Imus was my little bit of the Shire. True, there were a lot of rough edges. True, I found myself censoring the show. I found myself shaking my head with disapproval, and muttering to myself "Imus, you've finally gone toooooo far!"
I felt freedom in each escape of air from my lungs as I guffawed. I felt license as I whipped my head around in disbelief, gaping at the TV screen.

Imus As The Trickster
Imus to me was Coyote in the Tricksters myths; he destroyed structure.
The Trickster is Amoral, not Immoral.
The devil and evil are immoral. These we should avoid.
Paul Radin writes:

Trickster is at one and the same time creator and destroyer,...,he who dupes others and is duped himself...He knows neither good nor evil yet he is responsible for both. He possesses no values, moral or social...yet through his actions all values come into being.

(Please keep in mind at this time I am delineating the Trickster god of myth, not Imus yet!)
Ezra Pound asks "What is a god?", then answers that god is an eternal state of mind.
To the Trickster nothing is eternal.
Lewis Hyde writes:
"When he [Trickster] lies and steals, is isn't so much to get away with something or get rich as to disturb the established categories of truth and property and, by doing so, open the road to possible new worlds."
Heady stuff. All it means here is that Imus constantly pecked away at the official rationale for your war, all of you that bought into it. He pecked away at the structure of the official line. Believe me, there were a lot of people that hated his guts.
Senator Clinton hates his guts. She was positively dancing twinkle-toes when she was interviewed about him.
The Trickster, the shape-shifter, makes the world out of whatever is at hand. He does not have the Power that comes with established structure, so he must lurk on the periphery and aim his barbs from there, a guerilla type warfare with the Establishment.
The Zulu trickster Thlokunyana is like a small man yet animal. Thlokunyana is cunning and steals bait from the traps set by man for other animals.
Thlokunyana obstructs, obviates, the power of the trap.
Trickster's cunning create new situations which, by the force of things, sometimes turn out badly for him.

Remember that our intelligence creates truth as well as falsehood.
Our intelligence and cunning led us to victory in WW II and to discomfiture in the Iraq debacle. 

Intelligence works both ways, it is great success and the tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive;i.e., use intelligence to tell a lie.
Trickster often ends up sitting on a dung heap because his cunning has undone him.
How does Imus fit into this pattern?
He is a destroyer of the established order.
He has often poked at the accepted official racism that exists in the USA. (For example, after Huriicane Katrina, he stated that the dilatory response of the federal government was due to the fact that most of the stranded victims were black, not merely because they were poor.)
He supported various African-Americans in their bid for office.
His charity works never discriminated on the basis of race.
So now old Don Imus gets into trouble. His common sense tells him that he's a heck of a guy, tells the truth about racism, and has black friends.
Next thing you know he's running off at the mouth...and he's stuck to a gum pole in the middle of an angry farmer's watermelon field...and the farmer has a gun

Racism and racism
The last racist joke I heard was one recounted by an insurance salesman of the evangelical persuasion.
The joke was "Why is an aspirin white?" The punch line should be obvious. I won't repeat it. I did not laugh.
However, I DID get the joke. I understood the punch line. It crept up on me, all unaware, and I only managed to control my expulsion of breath, as it were.
At this second I realized that I would always get the joke. I may not laugh, but I would always get the punch line. All the stereotypes and caricatures that go with racial relations were deep within my mind, and I did not see how they could be expunged.

We learn racism from birth.
We may not be Racists, but we are racists; we shall always get the joke.
And those Punch Lines are all over the place! The country side is littered with them! They lurk everywhere, waiting to spring out at us, make us laugh, or cry, or turn red with anger, and make us make fools of ourselves...and end up sitting on a dung pile!

The punch lines of racial jokes are in the very air we breathe.
The description Imus used is everywhere on the music airwaves. Since the music serves the purpose of making money, it is tolerated.
But it's out there waiting to spring on us
The " N " word is around the corner. I know a teacher who wouldn't say the "n" word in teaching a piece of literature written with it. So a young black lady wrote a letter charging the teacher with insensitivity, if not racism.
Thus, the teacher was caught in a Catch-22: say it, you're sacked; don't say it, your insensitive...or whatever is in the air of academe that day

I respect the Rev. Jackson.
I respect the Rev. Sharpton.
I respect the accomplishments of the Rutger's Women's Basketball team.
I have never met Imus.
I consider him Don Imus my friend. Maybe not a role model, but a man I respect. "We shall need a new Coyote, a new Thlokunyana, a new Legba, or a new Raven to peck away at the rich and it with mind-snaring humor, be outrageous, make us shake our heads...make us make a new world from the scattered pieces of the old. Lee Iacocca is in there swinging, writing in his new book: "Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, 'Stay the course.' " I think as a surrogate, we allow ourselves to get angry at the words, but we cannot bring ourselves to attack the disease.

The illness is not saying nasty things; it is DOING nasty things. I believe Don Imus, more than anyone else in the media, went the long mile to try and get people mad about this mess. Now he's gone. Don Imus is my friend.


Mr. Conservative April 13, 2007

Pat Buchanan's article on Imus:
The Imus lynch party

Neoconservative University?

Paul Wolfowitz is in the soup. He gave his paramour or partner, a Ms. Shaha Riz , a hefty pay raise at the World Bank to what the board considers an outrageous salary totally out of line with anything in the history of the World Bank. Mr. Wolfowitz was a neoconservative member of the USA State Department. He was appointed by President Bush, who also pushed for Harriet Myers to be on the Supreme Court, to be the head of the World Bank, and was accepted as such. From the BBC: In an editorial, Britain's Financial Times newspaper called for Wolfowitz to step down. "If the president stays, (the World Bank) risks becoming an object not of respect, but of scorn, and its campaign in favour of good governance not a believable struggle, but blatant hypocrisy," it said. Ms Riza had been a high-ranking communications employee at the bank working in the Middle East section. I am certainly no better than Wolfie in any moral sense, nor do I wish to judge. However, there is a certain familiar refrain: Mr Wolfowitz - a former US deputy secretary of defence - at first denied that he was involved in the decision about Ms Riza's salary, but later admitted: "I made a mistake, for which I am sorry." I guess they all matriculated at Tangled Web U.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The War Party

This article in The American Conservative would be worth a look: Twilight Zone Pass through the portal to the alternate reality of the War Party’s propagandists. excerpt: "...A very odd pattern of statements by prominent supporters and members of the Bush administration suggests that we may have some truly unusual visitors—literally out-of-this-world. You see, the president and his associates keep referring to historical events that never happened, at least not as they did in the fields we know. And they keep referring to the same ahistorical events. Over and over, the secretary of state and the (now former) secretary of defense have referred to guerrilla warfare in Germany after the Nazi surrender. But there just wasn’t any. You can’t find it in the history books or in the memories of people who were there at the time. My uncle was in Bavaria in the summer of 1945: no trouble. Secretary Rumsfeld repeatedly talked about the similarities between today’s Iraq and America after the Revolutionary War, but again, I’m pretty sure that there aren’t any. I don’t believe we found tortured corpses in the streets of Philadelphia every morning back in 1784. And why does President Bush keep saying that Saddam refused to admit those UN arms inspectors back in 2002 and early 2003? Why did Condoleezza Rice, in 2000, say that Iran was probably backing the Taliban, when in fact the two had almost gone to war in 1998? "

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Death Swamps More about the wonderful lives of the Palestinians. I remember one guy who wrote somewhere that the Palestinians asked for what they got. I asked him if the Jews of Europe asked for what they got. The guy got mad. Good.

How I Spend My Time

My father is recovering from the major surgery he underwent for the abdominal aneurysm.
The staples have been removed. He's up and moving about well.

I had some crazed notion that he was going to look at all this as a gift of life from God, a second chance, and change his life and do things that really made some difference to the world, even if it were only planning and planting a real garden. His gardens recently have born more resemblance to the Sahara than to those lush pleasure palaces of old where Alph the sacred river ran.
So far, there has been no sign of it.

The garden is being planned, but it is in that chaotic way, a pepper here, some tomatoes there, the water flows uphill, the cat has his plant...

It is not catnip as one might think. It is some odd little blemish that my mother took a fancy to, and thus one day in her moment of joy for the day she called it Moochie's plant. As far as I can tell, the cat, Mooch,  has no use for the bloom. He would like catnip. That would augment his day of wandering from feeding bowl to feeding bowl just right.
He has two feeding bowls: one on the main floor, the other in the basement. When everyone is on the main floor, he feeds there. After his morning meal, my father gives him a hearty "Well done!" and fishes out a hand full of treats to celebrate the feeding. When they go into the basement, the food bowl there must be filled, lest Moochie need to haul his large tummy up the stairs.
Treats abound. Normal "treats" have become so commonplace that my mother has begun searching for some sort of "super" treat, although the exact nature of this hyperreality remains obscure, even to her. She told me about it the other day. I was riding with her. She was driving. I was tired. Even though my wife says that letting my mother drive is enough to turn my grey hair brown, I was too tired to drive.

So she drove. When she came to a stoplight, she talked to it, something like "Why is there a stoplight here?" and "Why does this light takes so long?" Well, she must have been talking to the light. She could not have talking to me. I do not live in Port Desespoir. Even in the hamlet I do inhabit, I know very little about stoplights.
Where I live, the DOT has managed to increase the number of possible permutations of red, yellow, and green lights as well as red, yellow, and green arrows, combined with variations in the settings, such as is the advance green before the red at street x and is it after the red at street y ( who can tell? you just have to drive up to it and find out.) and various signs which instead of helping are rendered ambiguous or downright pernicious by faulty writing, being slightly turned so that the lane of traffic to which their message is directed is unclear and flummoxing.

It is an art, not a science.
Cat treats. Or cat treat-treats. Hyper treats. Like some insane hierarchy of obese felinity.
"Just use the same treats and speak of them in the meta-language." I said. "Chessie will understand."

Now you might possibly wonder why we have different names for the cat. Why, indeed, do my parents call him one thing, Mooch, whereas I call him another, Chessie?
Wonder on. So last Sunday I called my brother, the sheepish fellow with a black hue. I had been monitoring him for a few days. He had suddenly found it hard to breathe. He could no walk the 60 feet from the restaurant to his front stoop. The 24 stairs could not be climbed without 3 stops for rest. And it was getting worse.

My wife and I had gone to see Blades of Glory Saturday night. It was wonderful 8th grade humor and plenty of it. It was so good that I thought it had been an unusually short film, for I had the feeling that time went by very fast. We went out with friends afterwards. A friend ordered a beer, a Stella Artois, pronouncing it something like "Stella Artis..uh."
I immediately said one should not drink beers one could not pronounce.
My wife observed later that I was insulting and a difficult fellow.
I objected. I knew the guy, and he was indulging in his parochial disdain for foreign languages, as do all American men.

I called my brother when we returned home. Did not sound good. So I said I'd call in the morning.
You may wonder that, since I am not a licensed practitioner, why I was monitoring his health. He refused to go to the ER. So I was stalking him, ready to intervene when he collapsed.

In the morning, he asked how long I would be getting there. Since he knew our goal was the ER, I sensed the urgency. I flew to Port Desespoir as fast as my little 1991 Mercury Marquis would take me.
The Marquis is quite the car. It makes an eggbeater noise at start-up, but only briefly. It roars with all the outrage of an aged bull elephant as I wait for it to warm up, which is no mean feat ever since Achmed the Egyptian mechanic turned the thermostat setting down and I never corrected it.

The Marquis relays a sense of quondam gentility. The Marquis! Not some menial, distasteful thing like a Probe! Not reeking of hormones and horn butting contests, like a Dodge Ram. Not some jeune daydream like Navigator (" the boy stood on the burning deck..."). Marquis is a real House of Lords cognomen.

I must admit I feel a bit like a Tennessee Williams play driving it. A touch of the Blanche Dubois. I often imagine myself breaking down and freezing by the side of the road, but no such luck. I always survive to live another day. And the corrosion-on-wheels keeps on running.

Is there anything more poignant and painful than a onetime regal car fallen on bad times? A queen of the road living on the wrong side of the tracks? Our lives are filled with allegories, aren't they?
We shall end here and continue the story of the thrilling trip to the Port Desespoir Hospital tomorrow. Not many people in Port Desespoir read other languages. That is good. One of the major benefactors of the Hospital was a Dante buff, and over the entry way to the ER is a cut stone stele emblazoned with "Lasciate ogni speranza..."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Divinity Fer Dummiez

In a previous post, I had speculated upon what the great Avoir du Poids, Mr. Rush Limbaugh, might say about John Edwards and his wife after their press conference.

Of course, I was not disappointed.

The Large Panjandrum of the Longer Wave Lengths delivered a pithy judgement and a BOOST for God! (Boost fer God! Boooooost fer Gawd!) He delivered this boost for God- a turning from the things of the world and a meditation upon the changeless realms-with all the intelligence and enthusiasm of a Midwesterner talking about the new sewer separation system recently completed.
He actually seemed to think that Gawd wants people to go into some sort of seclusion when they find they have cancer, and spend their time either meditating or singing "Nearer, My God, To Thee." All for the good so far.

Then, for emphasis, we see Rush cannot get a break. After his subtlety in re Edwards, Mr. Tony Snow, a fine man on the Conservative side of the aisle, has his own tragic news. And it is too late for the Panjandrum to recall those words spoken in haste...they are gone...on their fragile little wings of lace...chirping in the distance...beating their leathern wings against the air...looking for a herd of cattle to draw blood from...seeking a cave filled with guano where they may digest the night blood........

In closing, All Blessings to brave men and women who endure! All Confusion upon the heads of the Fools!


Satire And Enrony

The literature subcommittee of the Greybeards, meeting at Jenny's Coffee Clutch, under the mirthless eye of Hanaan, the destroyer of delights and subverter of digestion, has put forward a recommendation: Hence forward, all references to Enron, encompassing coziness with politicians at the city, state , and federal level, combined with a total lack of responsibility to the public weal, AND spiced with the notion that the only thing we did wrong was to be caught in the act will be referenced under the rubric of Enrony. Henceforward, "enrony" is no longer to be capitalized. Example: Isn't it enronic that Haliburton got all the plum contracts in Iraq?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

La Traversee Arctique

source: Le Soir en ligne
The cross Arctic trek of deux (2) aventuriers belgiques.

How Sweet It Is!

From better known as Bob's Links and Rants The NY Times has an article today about long-term care insurance bought by the elderly to prepare for the day when they can no longer care for themselves. Unfortunately, when they can no longer care for themselves, they generally can no longer pursue, or even remember, the insurance coverage they have paid for for years. ... thousands of policyholders say they have received only excuses about why insurers will not pay. Interviews by The New York Times and confidential depositions indicate that some long-term-care insurers have developed procedures that make it difficult--if not impossible--for policyholders to get paid. A review of more than 400 of the thousands of grievances and lawsuits filed in recent years shows elderly policyholders confronting unnecessary delays and overwhelming bureaucracies. When my mother was suffering from dementia, she often couldn't remember her own name--much less any long-term-care policies she may have purchased. The bureaucratic nonsense is simply intimidation of a population very easily intimidated. All of this relates back to the fact that evil acts done unintentionally still have evil consequences. Once this is brought to someone's attention, the inability to amend renders null the status of non volens and - manslaughter becomes homicide, as it were.

Impeachment For RICO Violations?

Some time ago, I remarked in my usual smarmy way that if the President were to be impeached, it might very well be under the provisions of the RICO act.

The Administration is becoming very embarrassing in their inability to recall salient points. It is beginning to remind me of all those televised hearings we used to see- a long time ago before any of you were born and which we no longer have, for the obvious reason that we wiped out crime a long time ago also.

The Kefauver hearings were the first I remember. Guys with their fedoras and mouthpieces, being grilled in a Capitol room, sweating, fidgeting, and swearing they could not recall....

Fast forwarding to the present, Mr. I. Lewis Libby, aka Scooter, could not recall. Alberto Gonzalez can not recall. And now:  
Panel Asks Rove for Information on '08 Election Presentation  
"The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sought more information yesterday about a presentation by a White House aide given to political appointees at the General Services Administration that discussed targeting 20 Democratic congressional candidates in the next election." "...Waxman said the presentation and follow-up remarks allegedly made by agency chief Lurita Alexis Doan may have violated the Hatch Act, a law that restricts federal agencies and employees from using their positions for political purposes." "During the hearing, Doan said at least 10 times that she does not recall asking employees to help the GOP or does not recall details about the presentation.

This may explain what happened to the WMDs.