I have an olive tree in a terra cotta pot, where lives a winter spider named Dante Anansazi.
Here he lives, plotting world domination and spinning his webs of intrigue...a sort of Dr. Mabuse die Spinne instead of der Spione.
Some of his stories are at http://peace-weaving.blogspot.com
"If anyone stray even a little from the straight and narrow way, it is a small matter whether he wander to the right hand or to the left. The great matter is that he hath lost the way."
Liber I Commentary, The Anglican Breviary
Paying attention only to the dead, not the quick...or not-so-quick anymore, the Hamas rockets killed 1 person in the past week, whereas the IDF has killed about 315 up to tea time this afternoon.
This gives us a ratio of 315 to 1, or 315: 1.
It answers the question: what's a Palestinian worth?
It is good to know that we Americans, who cannot run our own country in such a way as to secure the lives and welfare of our own citizens, are putting our great minds and souls behind this effort.
It is not the food that we have planned for ourselves and bought for ourselves and eaten for our own sustenance that puts the pounds on during the holidays. Rather , it is the excess food that we find ourselves compelled to eat, because those for whom we bought it have seen fit not to eat.
Why is it that when you invite friends over for a get-together, friends you know perfectly well eat like wild boars and drink like fish, suddenly show up and have apparently joined Weight-Watchers as well as having become tea-totallers, showing an abstemious nature even beyond that of the Womens' Christian Temperance Union? I mean, exactly what am I to do with all that bloody beer they did not drink? Since I do not drink, it will be there until next Xmas. And the rum! I bought the smallest pequenino-piglet bottle of rum there is, something so small it was fit for a miniature doll house built on the theme of Little Nell, or The Drunkard's Folly; a Dickensian dollhouse like those Xmas village houses. I do not have a shot glass or jigger to measure careful drams of painful exactitude, and thus I promote a cavalier, swashbuckling approach to pouring drinks with large noggins filled to the brim!
The one confirmed Rum-and-Coke-meister was even joined by one or two other people, of whom I had never heard a propensity to drink rums and cokes, but there they were. Good. They barely put a dent in that blasted bottle! No! I looked at it when the party was winding down, and it was no more than a quarter down, even though I know there had been a constant parade to the bar area and back. It was like the goblet from which Thor drank at the giant's feast; a goblet which, unknown to Thor, was connected to the great Ocean, and try as he might, Thor could barely drain the cup.
And then the food. They ate like trenchermen and trencherwomen, but there were yet a few wheels of cheese and a jeroboam or two of rare wines, and enough of the Widow Clicquot to start a major nunnery. I am putting a dent in the cheese. She-who-must-be-obeyed suggests that I befriend a drinker or two for the winter. I warned her about this. I mean, do you actually want to be forced to purchase another refrigerator, since the one you already have is quite filled with beer, wine, and other toxic holiday fare.
At this point, I am almost ready to invite my family and relatives over just to sop things up! The only thing I truly miss is the egg nog. I use it mostly as a carrier or delivery system for nutmeg, an herb to which I am addicted. Nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon...and ginger: ginger fresh, ginger candied, ginger dried, chunks or cut thin as a gothic rose window. We used to make egg nog from the ground up back in the days before the salmonella-in-the-eggs craze. It was thickened with egg whites beaten and whipped cream of the heavy cream type, the heavy cream that could almost stand to attention before the stroke of the whisk. Heavy Holidays to one and all!
My nephews have been found, and not in Brazil as expected. The e-ticket debris was a red herring to throw me off the trail.
New Year's Greetings from San Diego !!
signed: Austin, Aloysius, Ayden...and someone named Linda (!?)
I came across a blog of Judith Apter Klinghoffer in the site of History News Network.
I saw this:
The Maccabees DaredYes, they dared say no to a powerful Syrian tyrant. They got rid of the idols and rededicated the temple in Jerusalem in those days at this time. Bellow[sic] you can see the Israeli army promising to chase away the darkness .
Die Tzionistische Medina has struck Gaza.
250 are reported killed.
This far exceeds Israeli killed or injured in the time leading up to these strikes.
Of course, the Kadima and the Likud and their allies do not consider Arab lives worth as much as Israeli lives.
Am I mistaken? I make judgements based on actions, not on the sweet words of tyrants trying to hide their bloody hands.
December 28, 2008
1030 Zulu time
The temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind is gusting up to 30 mph or more. Power lines are exploding in the distance, and the sky fills with blue to light green as they go up.
I have stayed away from such topics before. Now I cannot.
In the world of pro-life, the woman is a chattel and a slave to the procreation policies of society.
In the world of pro-choice, the unborn child is a slave and a thing denied any vestige of human dignity.
I say: take your pick and fight it out!
As usual in present American society, we are fighting to see who can be more degraded and debased, and who can inflict more pain and suffering on innocents.
You would think that having inflicted the present pain on ourselves, we would begin to wake up and see what we have wrought.
In the world of The Greatest Generation and their offspring, The Boomers, every situation is zero-sum: either someone dies, or someone is radically marginalized; there is no creative solution wherein all win.
The sainted Bernie Mac was speaking on his TV show about teen-aged girls, and he thought they should be seen and not heard, and - if seen - might best be covered by a burqa ( or, more correctly, a burqu' ).
"The Taliban had it right....", he said.
I found it funny...and still do, because in all my experience of the word "Taliban", I had never experienced it in this context.
I spoke briefly with a young man who is working with an energy company. He informs me that the energy industry is rapidly backing away from Hydrogen Fuel Cells, since oil is becoming so cheap.
That is the kiss of death.
The Hydrogen Fuel Cell would create a revolution similar to that of the compute by offering a clean and renewable source of energy on a massive scale.
By abandoning HFC, we abandon the future.
We shall be like Rome: the water stills flows in the aqueducts, but we are already dead and the barbarians are at the gates.
I do have faith that Obama will encourage Hydrogen.
I am beginning to understand how my point of view differs from that of many people. Christmas has come and gone, and not once have I set foot in a church for services. I am rather rabid in my avoidance of the holy precincts.
Usually we attempt to attend Pastor Eberhard's German language service in Advent at the Lutheran church, but we did not this year. Instead, I tolled the beads of a rosary, having issued an invite to one and all within earshot to join.
Well, do not send to ask who with me the beads do toll...
Their names were Nemo, Personne, and No Man. I tolled alone.
Some years ago I studied for an important placement exam. I was studying hard and for long hours.
I was worried about the exam and my future and my family.
One night something happened; perhaps I fell asleep, perhaps not.
A holy presence walked forward and told me that I had no need to fear, for I would literally ace the exam.
Short version: I woke up relieved from all fear, and went on to ace said exam, something to the tune of 99.9th percentile.
The point of this is that over the years I forgot this happened. Then my wife reminded a few years ago.
(...and there have been other events along the way...)
I did not stop and obsess about "speaking to God" or seeing angels. I kept on going. No holy presence said "Here I am. Stop here and worship forever!!". Some presence - it may have been an image of Jesus, actually - talked to me about an exam and said I'd ace it. That's all there is to that.
I spend time praying each and every day.
From a childish and pubertal obsession with God-the-Father or God-the-Avenger or God-who-loves-America-above-all-nations or all that other nonsense and gibberish beaten into our young heads, I have come to a place where I feel quite comfortable with the Holy.
This is not to say I am overly familiar and satisfied with the divine. The weather of God changes dramatically, and one must always strive to be on the qui vive theologically, so to speak.
Now I have said here that I do not hold with the notion of talking to God, for this could very well lead to a fine madness on my part. I still hold this to be true and valid.
If I had to describe Prayer now, I would be forced to use a metaphor of Stephen King's and say that Prayer is a Shining.
Not a Shining quite like in his novel, but a wordless quiescence or turbulence, being at peace or wrestling, a warmth and cold, a great moving and a million years of solitude.............
I have struggled to understand God and myself every day of my life.
That is how my point of view differs. It is not better than someone else's, but it allows me to say: you must be student every day!
And herein I guess is my problem with churches. Whenever I have walked with God, I never found a place of absolute stasis: God always continued walking to and fro throughout the universe, not stopping in one spot and one spot alone to bask in the fevered "hosannas" of a singular people at one idiosyncratic time.
God never stops.
If you like to think God defines, He never stops defining Himself nor the Universe. God is changing all the time in my consciousness, because my consciousness is so limited, it requires an infinite time to experience God. So I feel this ongoing tumult as change. Whether God Himself changes or not is up to Himself.
So...the best way to describe Prayer may be to go walk-about with the Holy. See if you can keep up for a bit.
Send me a post card.
I built a Christmas village, wherein all mankind
of goodwill could live and dwell together.
It cost a lot, but it was worth it.
Mostly people came who had lost their houses to the
periodic and cyclical destruction of people inherent in
our present way of life.
This is my house in the village.
Merry Christmas from Montag
Today is Monday, the 22nd.
The cold and snow have quite bowled me over, as Lord Marchmain used to say.
Back in October, I said that the winter of 2008-2009 will be the Bush Winter. It is not that I blame him directly for the winter, but it is a fact that as Bush leaves office, we are being deluged by the Ironies of Circumstance that follow in his wake:
we wage a war in such an outrageous fashion that only total arrogance allows us to justify to ourselves the illegality of the procedure.......and it blows up in our faces!
we strut about as recently as 2 years ago, and pompously declaim that History is no more! History is but a footnote to the American Empire! - long may it reign!......and no ones sees the enormous banana peel Economic downturn on the sidewalk just in front of us!
........the list goes on and on, but I'm sure you get the picture.
Therefore, since Bush famously has questioned Global Climate Change, has appointed political hacks to posts in science agencies who have sabotaged research into the causes of climate change, and generally said Nix! to the international community trying to do something.......it only stands to reason that this winter is going to be a doozy! We have already run out of places to put the snow...and winter is 24 hours old.
As I mentioned, I have some comments from some very kind people.
I am quite bowled over, as Lord Marchmain used to say.
I shall take a look at them Tuesday. Today is Monday and I have to go to my parents 65 miles north of here and help them get ready for their Xmas bash. This is usually accomplished by writing notes for my mother to remind her that (1) the stove is probably set on high...again!, and (2) you probably have forgotten about that sauce pan you popped on the high burner.
Did I tell you the story of when I was cleaning their kitchen ceiling and discovered shreds of what appeared to be beef jerky in the recessed lighting?
It was beef.
It was all about a pressure cooker that was left unattended.
Anyway, I shall let the comments go, because I do not have time to answer, and nice things from nice people create sort of a fire storm of emotion in my breast, sort of like a maelstrom of pleasure and longing, and I'd rather not waste it on a 65 mile drive through the snow; one runs the risk of mixing the feeling of joy and the feeling of being-pissed-off-at-driving, and that really makes no sense.
My nephews said they could not devise a way to look at the comments.
They are as cunning as foxes, and only switch to the innocence of lambs when it suits their purposes.
[Sniff..( wipes away a tear)] I guess they take after me.
I am just getting started now, having been on vacation, as it were, shovelling snow and dealing with being unemployed and arguing with fellow board members of the homeowners association of a semi-failed housing community.
Sometimes we feel as if we are all poster kids for Disaster America, but it passes.
I shall be getting to my comments. In my absence, 3 comments have accumulated, which number is a bloody tsunami for me. Most of my old school chums that read the blog apparently have taken vows of silence, only giving voice to a few syllables when they stumbled into choir of an early morning in Xmastide, and sing "IerusalemGaude!"
My first order of business is to set the tone.
Notice I have removed the picture of the ancien regime rejoicing in the removal of habeascorpus that used to grace the right sidebar, along with a quote from Cromwell. No more about that bunch. After all, the torture was for our well being and welfare. And I say, if a little torture may make the US of A a safer place, we are certainly worth it.
I was reading the NY Times Book Review from last week about the number of slaughters of the innocents committed in Vietnam; many, many, many, not just a few "bad cookies" or "rotten apples" having a My Lai bash, but an absolute flood of abuse.
It is not for us to judge, nor condemn, for we have no conception of Right and Wrong. I mean, if present day American society had the merest glimmer of the meaning of Right and Wrong, would we be where we are today? Economically? Spiritually? Department of Defensively?
There will probably be no official inquiries of a serious nature into war crimes under the new administration, and this is probably due to an effort to soothe the political emotions of the nation.
However, there will never be accountability for anything anymore, because the USA does not have the stomach for facing its moral corruption: it does not know Right from Wrong, Good from Evil.
The only evil that exists today is some focus of obsession; for the right wing, it appears to be abortion; for the left wing, it used to be Bush.
How convenient to wrap up evil into such a small package - a mere bagatelle! - and be done with it.
In Bloomberg today, we read:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aDjmuEpDoctc&refer=usSaving Capitalism No Sure Thing as Statism Undermines Economy
By Simon Kennedy, Matthew Benjamin and Rich Miller"... Even Bush, who ran for the U.S. presidency espousing smaller government, agrees. He told a CNN interviewer last week he has “abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.”
Thecontradiction of abandoning free market principles to save the free market is grotesque. Yet, it will not dawn on the political and opinion leaders that this is not some bizarre exception that is the proof of the rule of free markets...it is something far different.
We cannot see even that which is in front of our faces, for we are so enslaved to the idols of the past that we cannot be free. We live a sham life by following rules we never question and filling roles that were written for other people of other times.
Each person must find God.
Each person must create their own philosophy.
Each person must go on their own quest for a vision, and when they have achieved that vision, they must not abdicate their responsibility to interpret it and speak of it to the hands of some authority figure who has written a best-selling book about it.
It's like me and music;
I must create the mix of music that penetrates my being. I use a lot of scraps and rags from music types, because I am musically illiterate.
But my music, no matter how poor and tattered, is mine.
Within the past 6 years I suddenly developed a love for Opera. In the season of 2006-2007 I saw The Barber of Seville live from the Met and cried at the end of Act I. I have not been enslaved to one type of music, nor to someone else's dictates about what I should like.
So also do not let people say that you do not have the theology, or the philosophy, or the logic, or the writing skills to create and delineate and define your worldview. They are lying when they tell you that. They wish to keep you enslaved and dependent on them.
If you see God, there is no bloody rule that says you have to talk about it at all, much less talk about it in a way that I or someone else approves.
It's like me and music; I don't quite keep silent, but I hum the most awful doggerel and sing disjointed snips of hymns in a hideously cracked voice, yet it is all good.
This is what I shall write about.
My nephews seemed to have taken off for warmer climes. When I returned to the old Blogstead, I found the fire out, the dishes piled unwashed in the sink, and the beds unmade. The front door was unlocked. The remnants of a meal were on the dining room table, like The Rodents' Buffet.
I opened the refrigerator and it looked like French Guiana: the tropical part, a lush spread of tropical forest floor tendrils strung between titbits.
The thought struck me, "Dreamcatcher!", as if they were Jason Lee, Damian Lewis, and Tim Olyphant: Beaver, Jonesy, and Pete, and they had fled from an alien presence, but they had left paper scraps strewn about with copies of ticket purchases and e-ticket info indicating that Brazil was their target.
They were staying at the Pousada O Casarao.
They were soaking up the sun.
Since I had just trod through 11" of snow, I collapsed in a heap in a chair and uttered a benignant curse and a malignant blessing. Then I cleaned the place up.
The Met put on Thais today, so my daughter and I went around to see it. Renee Fleming, whom I call Peggy Fleming, and Thomas Hampsen were the leads, and it was wonderful. Placido Domingo seemed to be hanging around the seamy edges of the proscenium curtain, muttering commentary in a form of English that needed sub-titles much more than did the French libretto of Massenet's opera.
After 3 1/2 hours were subsumed under the heading "Dolce Far Niente", it was time to get to the Christmas party being held at my local auto mechanic's.
My mechanic hails from Iraq. The food was Middle-Eastern and was "latheeth jiddan !"
There is something about free food.
I think it is: No pay and no tip makes the best seasoning!
I shall have to work it out in Latin, and say it frequently.
Anyway, the food was piled higher than Ali Baba's treasure...the stuff he confiscated from the 40 thieves, you know.
And speaking of Ali Baba, what book of the season does his name appear in? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?
Sorry. The 1000 and 1 Nights is not a book of the season. A Christmassy book is what I require.
O.K. It is A Christmas Carol; you know, the Ebeneezer Scrooge one.
I am certain you recall the 3 spirits, although you may call them ghosts. You may even recall old Marley and his chains, Tiny Tim, and a bit of porridge, but you probably do not recall Ali Baba in such a snowy and Anglo setting.
Flashback: Scrooge as boy away at school and left there for the Xmastide holidays, looks dreamily through a frost laden window and dreams of the characters about whom he has read: Ali Baba and other rascals.
Now, just the merest mention of Scrooge whets my memory for things past. And my situation at a Christmas party where at least 1/2 the people are Muslim and the rest are Christian leads that whetted memory to walk the paths of not just the memorable, but the Memorious Fantastic!
The stage is set for memory of the Christmas parties I gave for employees from the far past.
Indeed! Fezziwig throws a party in the 21st century!
Old Fezziwig ( one of my alter egos, if I have not mentioned this before), red in face and jowl, sitting at a tall desk - a scrivener's desk - and wearing a Welsh wig!
I - as Fezziwig - look at the clock, which stands at almost 7:00. I adjust my capacious waistcoat - and I still have a waistcoat, although it is no longer capacious; capacity seems to have gone out of style! - and call out,
"Yo, there, Muhammed! Ali! Paolo! Put up the shutters, and let us prepare for the party!"
I walked to the middle of the garage and began to move hoists and tools.
"Clear away, lads! Make room for the dancing!"
Muhammed looked at me questioningly.
"The Imam says that there should be no dancing, Mr. Fezziwig."
I don't miss a beat.
"The Imam is correct; there should be no dancing on the holy days! But today is not Christmas. And there is always dancing before Christmas. Swing to it, Muhammed!'
Muhammed smiled a smile as broad as broad could be, wider than the Street called Broad, as he hustled equipment to the wall.
I forget a lot. About this time, Natalie McMaster, or some other volupt fiddler, would break into "Sir Roger de Coverley", and we would bow, cork-screw, and thread-the-needle to a fare-thee-well.
I think my Inner Fezziwig is one of my more likeable aspects.
...If moral rot has taken hold of a society, the market mechanism will take it to hell faster and more efficiently than any of the alternatives.
There is an even greater flaw in the theory of the free market, perhaps, and that is in the assertion that the market can form adequate expectations about the future profitability of firms and make proper judgments about allocation of capital. How do we explain away the misallocation of capital to Internet stocks during the late 1990s and to homes in the United States (and elsewhere) during the ensuing years?
The world simply is too uncertain for the market to look more than a year or two over the horizon. Technological and social change occurs in unexpected and dramatic ways, frustrating the best guesses of the cleverest entrepreneurs, not to mention the stodgy decisions of central planners. The market cannot form accurate long-term expectations; at best it can imagine future outcomes. The quality of its imagination in this case depends on cultural factors that transcend economic judgment...
My uncle called me to say that the world had been on a Blade Runner trajectory that had been accelerating every year; a Juggernaut to the dark and dystopic future where the rich were few and pampered, and the great mass of the populace hustled on the streets of cities where neon lights created a chiaroscuro of the black of despair and the white of the atrophy of all passion spent.
It was The Jeffersons with teeth, where we roamed the streets or were swept into tidal currents of the automobiles which clogged the streets, while the rich inhabited their
"...deluxe apartment(s) in the sky-y-y-yiii !!"
"...deluxe digs in Dubai-i-i-iii !!!"
Up until today, our history has been a film of jump cuts and isolated shots of the individual actors, creating anxiety, like Godard's A Bout de Souffle where everyone is alone, alienated, and isolate.
Our economic theories were designed to keep us weak and prey for the predatory, our religious beliefs were designed to keep us unquestioning and ignorant, our sexual mores were designed to keep our lusts just short of any possible satiation or fulfillment.
A lot for a Sunday morning.
I wish my uncle a bit more comfortable afternoon and evening.
My uncle seems to think himself a latter-day Abraham - or Abram - and speaks of an odyssey to some other land. He thinks that it is a pity that Mars is not being terra-formed and capable of sustaining a population.
He often thought that it would be a good deal for the Palestinians to trade their ancestral homes on Earth for large regions of Mars; this being a deal that Netanyahu et alii would jump at and the hideous American Bush-type, evangelical mentality would rejoice over.
Of course, in the fullness of time, Mars would become a paradise, and the USA and its loyal allies might have to renege on some promises made to Palestinians...but that was all just a sci-fi story plot.
He looked at the photos and paintings of his relatives and ancestors, then came to the conclusion that he was responsible for the welfare of the future generations. He wants to be part of the future, not tied to a dead cadaver (as he puts it ) of the past and its obsessions!
The best I came make out is that he does not consider our present problems a divine retribution; rather a self-imposed debasement brought about by our insistence on creating Ironies for our enemies to laugh at. Virtue is not susceptible to ironic reversal, only Arrogance is, only Greed is. Virtue may well be its own reward, for all he knows.
The actual people who work, they will save the country.
The actual industries which employ them, they will save the country.
"It is almost Spring; I can see a haziness of promising warmth rising from the pastures out back. It is the time of reflection and rebirth: a short remembrance, then a plunge into life again!... a mirror and a slap."
"Things to do: Watch Cable TV muted, and watched the mad men and women yell and grimace and cavort, flailing their hands, frowning mightily, sermonizing pastorally; all of them satisfied with themselves, secure in their wisdom, even in the most dire calamity, that their knowledge is wealth and power. What does it mean?"
My brothers and myself write a good deal like each other, and all of us three resemble our uncle, although we certainly are "clearer" than he. His tendency to "chiaroscuro" in his blog is a weakness, but also a strength.
Having said this, I will let it lay there, and say that our uncle did indeed tutor the trio: myself, Ayden, and Aloysius, in writing, with especial emphasis on H.W.Fowler's Modern English Usage, and Lord Chesterfield's Letters His Son. We also studied Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Grammar for a starting point in the history of the language.
He also thought it important to have some acquaintance with Latin, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, and French, Spanish, and a Slavic tongue.
He is quite mad, in a great-uncle-ish, warm way.
There are some comments left in the Comment Box. Hang on a while, since none of we 3 know how to handle them at present.