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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Vacation

In The Paint Department
I went to D.C. and painted my daughter's condo. I went to Delaware, and took the ferry to Cape May. I was poisoned in a Slovenian Restaurant in Cleveland. I danced at Blob's Park outside D.C. The Peacock Brothers were everywhere, man! pix: Dennis Darzacq

The Revolt Of The Parking Lots 3

The Highways come under fierce attack by Parking Lots and their allies, the Dumpster Pads.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Mother's Candy Factory

I made it through the holiday weekend without chocolate redundancy. This is a covert way of saying I had no M&Ms from my mother’s shop for greedy children.

Since the M in M&Ms is doubled, it is redundant, and I am able to escape it on syntax alone! Elements of Style, man. Elements of Style. (This is to be spoken as David Clennon playing Palmer in John Carpenter’s The Thing: "Chariots of the gods, man. Chariots of the gods.")

Interestingly enough my three nephews, all of whose names begin with the letter "A", have a different approach. Last week, they stopped by en masse ( or is it en vrac ? ) for a reading of the Sunday NY Times, a mystifying of the crossword puzzle, a labyrinthine discovery of comestibles in the pantry, and a cup of tea from the tea gardens of India - courtesy the Grace Tea Company, NY, NY. They consider M&Ms, or more properly, the name M&Ms, to be an oxymoron! To wit, the second M is not equivalent to the first M. It is - in their opinion - as if the twin siblings M were strolling about creation, up and down, here and there, and one takes it into his head that it is high time to put an end to this Edenic idyll, and takes the position that he is the real deal, ego-wise, and strives for distinction: Am I my brother's keeper? he shouts into the gap of creation.
And M was never the same as M again, east of Eden, and all that.

The nephews A had started with a rather fast paced discussion of Ozzie and Harriet and its connection to Umberto Eco’s literature and semiotic: “…the symbolism of Darby and Doc Williams…” “…Joe Randolph’s despair…” “…and everyone knows that it was Thorny!” “Was what?” I said. “What was what?”, nephew #3 inquired with the face of an angel. “What was Thorny…don’t you mean who played Thorny?”, I replied. “No…The Name of the Rose!…it was Thorny.” This was followed by a laughter that you might expect would be the immediate prelude to a particularly unpleasant end of the world as we know it, with Hieronymus Bosch as the guy recording it on video.
It was their opinion that in the nanosecond between the utterance of the first M and the second M, the atoms comprising the Ms were disentangled – across light years – and they became contraries. For them saying M&Ms was like saying “Jumbo shrimp”......or "jummmmbbbooo" ( herein there is a period of time sufficient for the sun to become a red giant, then to recede to white dwarf status, yet at blink-of-the-eye speed ) " sssshhhhhhhhrrimp !"
At this juncture, it was an exquisitely small step to Jorge Luis Borges' story Funes the Memorious. Instead of being merely "M", the first M received the new name “Lavande de Valensole” and the second M “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off”. At this time, my mother put on her apron to prepare dinner (the M in “mother” becoming “Mystery Clock”) and gently shooed us from the summer kitchen with a kindly “retro, daimones!”
* * note a reprint for me mother!

Tom Joad: Thunderdome

The latest from Australia, where things are going Mad Max very quickly, is a dust storm in Sydney. The winds have picked up tons and tons - or tonnes and tonnes - of topsoil and dumped it over the city. So now we have our pictures of the Dust Bowl we were waiting for, hesitant to call the present state of affairs a Great Depression, because we did not have enough of the iconography of what we mean by a "Great Depression". A Great Depression is the malaise we find ourselves in: at war with the environment and with each other. I tell people that the true canary in the coal mine - the indicator of methane gas, hence a disaster - is Palestine. If the societies which derive their understanding of the Holy from the three Abrahamic religions cannot solve Palestine's puzzle, they not only will show the rest of the world that they are empty shells, but they will also become aware of it themselves. Mankind cannot live with the burden of unforgiven failure. Unforgiven it will be, because it is a failure of their religions, and they will not be able to see that God is even above their understanding of God. It is the perfect storm coming: the Great Depression of the spirit, coupled with the revolt of the world against our depredations. * * note: Tom Joad was the lead character in The Grapes of Wrath, a story set in the Dust Bowl years.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


This blog gained a new follower. I suppose I shall have to clean up my act: pick up the dirty laundry laying about the old blogstead, clean the dishes, start using deodorant... This occurred on 9/11/09, so there is a bit of secrecy surrounding it. I learned how to use the "Follower" gadget, and added it to the right column. I can only imagine how sad I'll be when they decide to bail out, but that is the future's burden.
When people ask about 9/11 - where were you? what were you doing when you first heard? - I usually say I was in Boston at Logan, and I was pissed off about being bumped off Flight 93: ranting and raving, gonna sue everyone, take yer g.d. airline and shove it...good stuff like that.

Of course, peoples' eyes widen and say how close I had come to death, and how lucky - truly lucky - I had been, and wow! how my life must have changed !!?? - like God saved you. Like God bumped you from that flight !! I go silent for awhile, then say that I never had really thought about it that way. (They are amazed and incredulous at the depth of my insensitivity to God-stuff.) Perhaps it was divine Providence. (Of course it was, you ninny!) Maybe God saved me for a reason? (Yes, yes! Now you've got it!) At this point, a lot depends on whom I am talking to.

If I am speaking with white folks, I may follow through with the observation that God saved me in order that I may continue to carry my gun to Town Hall meetings, or to work to resuscitate the Militia movement, or to write that book on Obama wherein I prove that his name is "Kenya Bob".
If my audience is non-Jewish, I may use thinly veiled anti-Semitic insinuations, postulating a Mein Kampf in my future, or a Holocaust denial. If my audience is Jewish and conservative, I may hint at a final solution for the Palestinian question, and demand more lebensraum on the West Bank.
If my audience is liberal, I may suggest mayhem at FOX. Now, if you think me crazy, let me point out that my "success" rate is about 90% : meaning nine out of ten people allow me to chatter on as if I were a cable TV persona, while only one out of ten tells me to shut up, or becomes rattled and edges away. It's all very "Twilight Zone".

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The War(s)

I respect the soldiers and sailors of the USA. I served in Nam. One thing we found out about war in Nam: our leaders did not know their asses from sideways. We lost the war in Nam, and we took off with our tails between our legs. We were still a superpower, so we came home to lick our wounds and plot revenge. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, a country roughly the size of Rhode Island, we gathered overwhelming force and invaded. The forces of Iraq were in two places: the Imperial Guard was north around Baghdad, and the rest was holed up in Kuwait. We went right through the middle, separating them, cutting off the army in Kuwait, and destroyed the southern forces piecemeal. This was done masterfully, but it was an obvious fight. If the enemy is strong on the flanks and weak in the middle, you go through the middle and turn and envelope them; destroy their cohesion and then pick them off. When it started, I said it would take one week to destroy the Iraq army; it took four days, I believe. This was for Freedom. In 2003, we invaded Iraq after having deliberately deceived ourselves. We came within an ace of getting our butts kicked out of there, because we did not plan for anything other than flowers being placed in our rifles by Ahmed Chalabi. After our experience with asymmetrical warfare in Nam and our familiarity with guerrilla fights elsewhere, it took us until the "9" count to put in Petraeus, a man who was familiar with the style of fight. This war is not yet over, for pacification relied on establishing corps of Sunnis, who resisted the largely Sunni AL Qa'ida organization. However, the majority of the Iraqi voters are Shi'a and so is the government. This government does not trust our Sunni militias. The incompetence of Cheney and Rumsfeld and the Pentagon will be legendary when this history is told. In Afghanistan, we invaded, kicked out the Taliban, and then proceeded to ignore the country for five years, allowing the Taliban to re-establish itself in 80% of the country. It is not totally new military knowledge that one must not give the enemy breathing space. It is beyond the grasp of the Pentagon and our Politicians, however. So we continue to fight for Freedom. The Peace Dividend after the fall of the USSR has disappeared long ago. We shall always fight when the cause for war is continually redefined and extended. We shall always fight as long as the war planners plan for near disasters. Osama bin Laden originally said that he was not the prime director behind 9/11. If true, we once again do not comprehend the forces we face; we once again are deliberately deceiving ourselves. We are dupes, but we are dupes in the cause of Freedom: allowing the architects of continuous warfare to plot the ever new and indecisive wars. War for Freedom is not indecisive. Spartacus' rebellion was not. The Zanj rebellion was not. If you fight for Freedom, you don't settle for the freedom-hash we have seen for the last 40 years. No. It is not Freedom for which we fight.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Quit!

As a vociferous and rabid supporter of Barry Goldwater, I hereby notify any Republican that I will not tolerate their presence, much less their speech. Republicans have been in some sort of gutter for most of the time since 1965, and I have made no bones about my dislike of them. I spit them out! I wish no dialogue with them! They are anathema!

Aggressive Ignorance

Friend Baysage has a post about Professor Bloom, wherein the Professor and the Sage combine to produce a gem: There's a lovely little barb at the end of Bloom's piece. We have a literate president now, he observes, but "too many other politicians are devoid of syntax and appear to have read nothing. Aggressive ignorance in aspirants to high office is another dismal consequence of the waning of authentic education." ** Thursday, September 10, 2009 Get Lost. In Books.

September 11

From our friends in Brazil. pic:

After Basra Was Destroyed...

Basra from the Shatt al Arab sometime before WW I

Iraq, Afghanistan....
Back in the good old days, Basra revolted against the government. Maybe it was during the Zanj Wars? It's odd that all this time we've spent mucking around in Iraq that we've never spent much time looking into some of the interesting history.
The Zanj Rebellion was a revolt of the black African slaves in Iraq, a good deal like Sparatacus' revolt against the Roman oppression of slavery. It was dark and bloody, and it lasted a long time. Anyhow, Basra revolted. The Caliph raged against the rebels. Basra held out.
At last, Basra was enveloped, it was broken, it was looted, and it was destroyed root and branch. The Caliph thought this was a good idea for a victory march and festival in the Capitol City. So there was a great military victory...but it was after Basra had been destroyed.

And "after the destruction of Basra" thus became a saying in the Arab world for the type of leadership which sees victory in total destruction, or lets itself be deluded into seeing reasons to party after everything has been laid waste. We learned in the last Good War to see victory in total destruction. We did not learn much else, nor have we learned anything new.

* * notes Some people state that the Zanj Revolt was not a slave revolt, rather a rebellion of African Muslims brought from their homelands to work in the marshes of Iraq.  

The Kharijites - or Khawarij - were a sect in ancient Islam that held views of the extreme equality of all men. Obviously, they were heretical. However, the Zanj leaders showed signs of being very much influenced by the Kharijites. 

The banner of the Zanj was inscribed with a surah from the Qur'an: Lo! Allah has bought from the believers their lives and fortunes, because the Garden (Paradise) will be theirs... the surah continues They shall fight in the way of Allah and they shall slay and be slain. This is a promise binding on Allah in the Torah and in the Gospel and in the Qur'an. Who fulfills his promise better than Allah? Rejoice, then, in your bargain that you have struck, for that is the supreme triumph
The early Kharijites rebels referred to themselves as Shurat which may mean "seller" or "buyer", in this case meaning "sellers" of their lives and fortunes to Allah for His purposes.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Obama Comma


My mother has come up with a new madness.

I have no idea whether FOX inspired it, but it very well could be; Palin has a column in the Wall Street Journal, and there is no limit to the political depths to which Rupert Murdoch - the new Hearst - will not stoop.

The new thingie is The Obama Comma: ʆ This is part of the socialism of punctuation in Obamaland, the new USA. I am not sure how it is used, but it may indicate a hiatus while you wonder which yahoo is yelling "liar!" at you.

For example:

Speaker:   This day, February 27th  ʆ

Goof in Audience:  Liar !


Why Religion?

The dimension of divinity in human consciousness give us a higher ground from which to view our life in this world. Without the divine, we could not see the forest for the trees, for we would be and would remain immersed within our immediate needs and desires, and would have no place to back up to, and from which to see the whole. In the past, religion provided this higher ground. The leaders of the past could meditate upon their situations from the perspective of their religious beliefs, which they held to be true and unchanging: self-evident truths giving man rights inalienable. Now there is nothing quite so secure and unchanging. Of course, if a philosophy of evil rules, then the results of viewing things from a higher vantage point will only result in more and greater evil. In our lives, the iconography of Guns is far superior and far more powerful than any so-called higher power of God. We shall pay for this.

Socialism In One Country

I seem to remember that "Socialism in One Country" was a slogan floated by the USSR, sometime after the Revolution when it had become clear that world-wide revolution was not going to occur. The expressly international aspect of Marxism had to be amended to a more parochial nature: hence, socialism in one country, the USSR. Having said that, since the Soviet Union has gone the way of the saber-toothed tiger, what is the most socialized country in the world? What country has the most socialized and planned economy? I think a case may be made that the USA is. The era of great economic planning and control started in World War II. The governments essentially took over the economies of their nations to defeat Hitler. After WW II, the USA's military budget continued to grow, and the role of the military continued to expand. The entire portion of the economy of the USA devoted to the military: the military itself, support, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, etc., may be viewed as planned economy in the fullest sense of the word. This is the socialism we speak of, the planned economy, planned by government agencies. Thus, the USA will be in the running in the race for the most socialist country in the world, getting an enormous boost out of the starting block from its gargantuan military budget.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Financial Instruments With A Bullet

On the front page of the Sunday NY Times, there was a column about new Wall Street investments, which were instruments made up of insurance policies that people had sold for - oh, say 40 cents on the dollar, because they needed or wanted the money now - to investors who now held the policy until pay-off , pay-off being the death of the old policy holder. I discussed this with my nephew, Alistair. It pretty much followed the path all such discussions take: he said - for example - that no one held a gun to the heads of the old policy holders; they wanted money, or they needed money, and they freely sold. My point was that that since the pay-off is bigger the sooner the old policy holder - the person whose life was and is being insured - dies, you now have a financial instrument with a decided political aspect - an unfortunate aspect: Even though no one held a gun at your head to sell me your policy, you may bet that afterwards I shall indeed hold a gun to your head to increase my return ! How? I could oppose health care, for example, with everything I had. If I could deny you health care, if I could achieve an average lessening of the life span of the many individuals - some of whom would probably be people from whom I bought policies - I would increase my pay-off. So I would work against health care, reducing emissions, etc. The quicker they die, the better off I am.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Russia Restoration ROAR: Stalin divides Russians even in metro September, 2009, 13:23

An inscription praising Joseph Stalin at a refurbished metro station in Moscow has sparked a new controversy over the Soviet political and architectural heritage. Passengers at the Kurskaya metro station, unveiled after the repairs, have been surprised recently to see it decorated with a powerful symbol of the past. A restored inscription contains a line from an old version of the Soviet national anthem.

 It has gone further than that: the old boy has actually been seen riding the metro !

'inda Hanaan

Chez Hanaan. Hanaan's Place. Davy Jones' Diner. The TYBALTs were gathered, digesting food and the daily news. Across the room was a group of ROMEOs - retired old men eating out.

We TYBALTs had been formed in active opposition - the young bucks at lunch together. There was a great deal of ruminant behavior in the place, the only noise being that of the digestive processes. I found myself wishing for another group, the MERCUTIOs, and set myself to the task of acronymy.
There had been laughs before lunch at the Anne Coulter toilet paper someone had put in the washrooms. Now silence reigned. Beauchamp said that there were global demonstrations against Hugo Chavez. Most of us got our gas at Hugo's gas station, it being the least expensive. We were not receptive to the idea. "Where?"
" Everywhere. It's global, dimwit. For instance, there's about 150 people in Madrid."
We laughed.
"150 !? Is that all the CIA can muster in Spain?"

After the USA got rights to military bases in Colombia, right wingers looked to reverse the leftward achievements of the past decade. This recently took the form of a military coup in Honduras. A typical rightwing step forward...or backward. It doesn't really matter to rightwingers. Henry Jakubowski spoke, "I guess they'll have places in the jungle to sneak the guys they kidnap to." Hank didn't let on whether he approved or disapproved. He is becoming inscrutable. It used to be that if you compared Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino - Walt Kowalski - to Hank, Kowalski was totally charming. Now things were becoming muddled.


Friday, September 04, 2009


Haven't shot a gun in 40 years. So Hank Jakubowski says let's go down to the Schutzverein - German Shooting Club - and spend an hour or two. And I go. Henry is a life-long union member, voted for Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II in 2000. Served in the Marines in Nam. To him, Naval Intelligence guys were sissies, but he never says so. He does not like people joking that Nancy Pelosi's wine should be poisoned. He does not like people walking around our President with guns. He knows what guns are for. So he taught me all about his rifle, a 1962 Winchester 70. He didn't like the changes Winchester made to the 70 in 1964 and after. It wasn't the same rifle he had in Nam, but it was the same year and model. He made sure of that. Henry says the Right Wing wants blood. They are sending out their cries to the simple-minded followers, hoping for blood. Henry's is ready. In fact, we're going to get me a rifle tomorrow. I don't know how far this is going. At the Schutzverein, the targets had picture of dough-boy Glenn Beck on 'em.

Capitalist Christianity & Socialism

Cover of the Russian Monopoly with Jesus Game,
where Jesus looks like a homeless person.
Some captains of capitalism are still not at all happy with the Social Security system. Perhaps we should have let George W. Bush privatize it after all. It smacks of Socialism, which it actually is, being derived from schools of thought more properly described as "socialist" rather than "capitalist". And Medicare, and Medicaid...and children's health coverage. Nasty Socialism. Except...the only thing that now and in the future that will prevent bodies of the old and dead accumulating in the streets is going to be Social Security and Medicare. The only thing that will still allow the majority of the elderly access to any health care will be Medicare. The only thing that will prevent a drastic decline in average age expectation is Social Security. (In Russia after 1991, the average age declined almost 10 years per male individual.) Before we cringed at the sight of those nasty homeless people sleeping on the streets, good for nothing but holding squeegees. Capitalist Christianity taught us that blessed are they who move those homeless bums out of town. Now our Capitalist Christian god ..."dog" spelled backwards...will increase their numbers, and deprive them of care and nutrition, and their corpses will turn our Main Streets into rivers of the dead. It is something to look forward to.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

War On Drugs

No such thing. We have troops in Afghanistan - the source of opium - and troops in Colombia - the source of cocaine. We are not reducing the flow of drugs; it is a cover for protecting drug profits - along with whatever else our government manages to dream up. What crimes are being committed in our names - and all we can do is yell about Health Care. A dead population does not need Health Care. We are The Dead.

Health Care Bubble

My Blue Cross / Blue Shield rates are going up 29 % starting October 1, 2009. Thanks, guys and gals.
When that bubble bursts, there'll be no bail-out.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

My Missed Town Hall Meeting

We did not have a Town Hall meeting on the Iraq War. My parents and I were having a discussion about things which led to the war, and I recounted the story of Hans Blix and the UN weapons inspectors. Of course, my parents, watchers of FOX, had entirely forgotten about the fact that the UN team found nothing. They had forgotten they even existed - the team, much less the weapons! The lies go on and on. I told them this country is foreign to me. It is a country of either (a) amoral immmoralists seeking some bipartisan deal to screw me, or (b) liars and outright thieves. I have no understanding of Afghanistan. No one does. If I had had my Town Hall meeting on Iraq...and maybe now on Afghanistan, I would be screaming like a banshee. "You destroyed this country!" I would scream. "You destroyed our futures, our health, our education...everything!" I would pause. "Go and do your torturing and extreme interrogations for the sake of 3,000 dead Americans at the WTC...who have led to a million deaths...and there is no end in sight... How many wars, how much much is enough for the dead?" "You bastards!"