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Monday, August 31, 2009

Do Not Believe....

Do not believe in God. If you believe in, then you will always have the option not to believe in. When Othello lived in love with Desdemona, all was well. But when he came to view his love as liable to proof or disproof, he only believed in his love up until Iago's urgings made him lose his belief. Expect God.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thunderdome

In case you have not been watching, Australia is in the middle of a process turning it into that future wasteland we know and love from the "Mad Max" films. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Australia_sweats_through_long_hot_winter_999.html The Australian winter temperature this August has exceeded records set in World War II, being often in the 40s Fahrenheit. Combine this with the record drought and we shall have to keep an eye out for Master Blaster.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Mind Of A Republican

I read something by a Republican in support of Palin and Beck and the other marauders. "What happens if Obama is not the Savior of America?" The SAVIOR of America !!??!! What in the name of heaven is that? And you probably didn't believe me when I said that these people are insane. Republican Mind is a dark place of ill-fitting and out-worn images, icons of magical powers, and just plain out madness. Savior, indeed ! Just because you idiots make idols of your ideas and urges, don't try and say that I do! It is just as easy for you Republicans to pray to your idiotic Intelligent Designer as it is to say that other people pray to some new Savior! There is no dialogue with these people. Ever. They see gods and powers everywhere. They see devils and imps. Boycott them and their impudent shamans!

Odd Bedfellows

Health and Insurance and Pharma are contributing TO President Obama's push for health care. Why? I think it may be that by now, they know a "bubble" when they see one. Health Care costs doubled in 7 years, and they are increasing at an ever faster pace; this is irrational exuberance if there ever was such. What would the bursting of a health care "bubble" be like? I mean, what would happen? Is there enough disease and illness to support it? Enough disease, that is, among those with enough money? Probably not. Then it would start to fall apart.

Old Times

I caught Mr. O'Reilly talking to Mr. Beck on FOX. Something about a Marxist in the administration. A Marxist in the administration? Old-timey-talk from two old-timey minds. Somebody tell them the Cold War is over, the fight between the Marxism of the time and the Capitalism of the time ended. There is a new struggle now, as we try to define to future of the world. Do you see what I mean when I say World War II has still not ended? People still go around yelling "You're a Hitler!"..."Am not!"..."Are so!" We still shiver at the ghost of the Stalinist form of Marxism. I, for one, do not care. Tell bold Mr. O'Reilly to catch up.

Time Travel

How I view Time Travel, and the grandfather paradox : I go back in time and "mess" with my ancestors, thereby destroying my own time-line. Think of time as a cellular automaton, or a Wolfram process: areas of regularity and areas of chaos:

Areas A, B, and C are areas of regularity.

I inhabit area B. I may, therefore, go back in time to A, since it does not form part of my "history". I am prohibited from going back to C, however.

What prohibits me? I think we shall find "laws" of regularity in chaos. Maybe "habits" of regularity.

Now some people say we are all descended from some primeval Eve, like "Lucy". Well, that may explain why - if time travel is possible - you see no evidences of time travel. Surely our descendants would be buzzing around bothering us, wouldn't they? But they aren't. This may be due to the "Lucy" effect, and a deeper regularity underlying apparent chaos.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Too Good To Miss

In its entirety: Town Hall Crazies Go Through the Ideological Rabbit Hole By John Cook, 5:18 PM on Tue Aug 18 2009, http://gawker.com/5340220/town-hall-wingnuts-go-through-the-ideological-rabbit-hole?autoplay=true Unalloyed xenophobic rage presents a challenge similar to one posed by habitual lying—just as it's hard to keep up with one's own falsehoods, it's difficult to remember whether shouting "Heil Hitler!" at a Jew is good or bad. Take, for instance, this woman at a healthcare town hall sponsored by a Las Vegas radio station. After watching an Israeli immigrant to the United States praise his homeland's government-run healthcare system, she is moved to respond, "Heil Hitler!" What does that mean? Well, it could mean "Heil Hitler, you Jew, you are a subhuman blood-sucker," a sentiment common to right-wing extremists who actively seek the violent overthrow of the federal government. Or it could mean, "By supporting government-run healthcare, sir, you may as well be shouting 'Heil Hitler,' because you are supporting Barack Obama, who is a Nazi"—a sentiment also common to right-wing extremists who actively seek the violent overthrow of the federal government. You see the problem? The feverish, paranoid snake that is contemporary right-wing political thought has begun to eat its own tail, and the swamp is full of anti-Semites and Nazi-haters who both seek the same thing—a return to the "real America." As you can see from the look of terror that crosses this woman's face when the Israeli challenges her—"I'm a Jew! You're telling me, ‘Heil Hitler'? Shame of you!"—she appears to have briefly forgotten which one she is. In the most cosmic of ironies, she is wearing an Israeli Defense Forces t-shirt, so it's not likely that she's a rabid neo-Nazi. Still, you can see in her eyes that she is frantically checking an exhaustive catalog of political outrages in the back of her mind—which is worse, supporting healthcare reform, or yelling "Heil Hitler" at a Jew? She quickly decides that it's the former, and tells the Israeli that, as a Jew, he should be more frightened than anyone of Obama's policies. It's about as comprehensive a tangle of our current political dynamic as we've seen—a middle-aged white woman who seems to believe that Jews are good to the extent that Israel is good because Israel kills Arabs but bad to the extent that one of them supports socialized medicine shouts "Heil Hitler" at an Israeli because Hitler was bad to the extent that he was like Obama but was also good to the extent that he was against Communist Jews. It's taxing to remember where the political lines are drawn when the only thing you care about is hating the president. And it's like a comment thread on Red State brought to life. The woman here had probably written "Heil Hitler" into dozens of comment forms during her long, lonely nights of rage, and she clearly was shocked when she realized she'd said it in real life. "Heil Hitler!" "Let's bring an assault rifle to the next town hall!" It's a reverse TRON, and the trolls have escaped into our world. After she tells the Israeli that he should be more afraid than anyone else of nationalized healthcare—because, just like in Israel, it's an anti-Semitic plot—she mocks him with a caustic "boo-hoo" because he complained about an $8,000 trip to the emergency room without healthcare. Jews are so cheap!

CIA Probe

In the BBC: Kevin Connolly, BBC News, Washington The question now that these startling depictions of the handling of those suspects are in the public domain is - what should happen next? Barack Obama doesn't want to inflame anti-American feelings around the world but he doesn't want to alienate the professionals within America's own intelligence agencies. The problem is that below the cautious pragmatism of the White House rages a partisan political battle. America's human rights lobby wants full disclosure, and on the left of the Democratic Party there is a real appetite for proceeding with further investigations. Conservatives, though, will argue that the harsh interrogations came at a desperate moment in American history. The interrogators could be cast as dedicated intelligence officers, ruthless only in the cause of protecting their fellow citizens. I considered myself Conservative, but one who never believes that circumstances put me above the Law. If I am forced to evil, I shall bear the consequences. Our whole illusion of bipartisanship relies on amorality in the face of immorality.

End Of History ( As We Know It, At Least )

In the Galley Espace, there is an exhibition of Indian Art, and among the exhibits is a statue of Vishnu on its side, fallen and broken, pushed from it pedistal, head separated from the torso. Put a TV where the head used to be. Turn it on. Then put a giant screen TV where the Buddhas of Bamyan used to be. Run the world's longest extension cord from Kabul to Bamyan! Turn it on. Vishnu and the Lord Buddha, they were the Real; their destroyers were but blinks of an eye - the wink of alienated and dying pixels when someone pulls the plug.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Moment In History: The Afghanistan Election

More sound and fury, signifying nothing; nothing to my life, at least. Maybe my grandkids will celebrate our wonderful nation building when they read about another Afghan election held under the auspices of the ever-present NATO military. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan because a pro-communist government was being undermined by the CIA, which was supporting Afghan warlords with money and arms. The USA supported Osama bin Laden and his group - later to grow into Al Qa'ida - with money and arms. We essentially created Al Qa'ida. The Soviets lost. Time passes. We invade in our turn. Our rational, as described by General Petraeus: "When Afghanistan was a sanctuary for al-Qaida and other transnational extremists we saw what they did. That is a development that we have to prevent," he said. "That's why President Obama has identified this as a war of necessity, not a war of choice." In other words, we created a monster that we had to destroy. We let Al Qa'ida slip away into Waziristan, so now we couldn't destroy it, but would have to occupy a country to prevent its return. Again Petraeus: "There has to be a development of governance that is seen as worthy of support by the people. There will be very substantial local components, traditional tribal and social organising mechanisms that will then mesh at some point with national structures that come out to join them," he explained. "Those national structures have to earn the support of the people by being seen to improve the lot in life of the Afghan people." This doesn't sound like it's going to be over any time soon. Off hand, given the complexity and the poor record so far, I'd say it is impossible to accomplish in the time we have. I mean to say, we do not really have 50 years to devote to this. It is not going to work. It will be yet another disaster of our generations.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Showdown At The Diner

Hank Jacobowski called me out when I walked into Hanaan's Diner. He says America is still the greatest country in the whatever, and she still has the whatzis that makes for whatchamacallit. He says I "go to far" when I say Americans - of which I count myself one - are idiots. I looked at him and said that the Health Care debate is filled with fabrications, falsehoods,and lies. He says that's just politics. I said we fought - correction: are still fighting - a war in Iraq based on "misinformation" . I said I think it was lies. He sputtered. I said the banking system collapsed because everyone was scamming, on the take, pimping - you name it. The entire system was corrupt. He was silent.
We do not make tough decisions. Oh, we do when it's pretty late in the game - maybe too late, like the bank bail out: a decision to help the elite who have hijacked this country. Not a very good decision. What can you do, though, when you wait so long that there's no time left? We live on lies and pipe dreams; we will not face reality, rather we need a constant flow of flawed intelligence. It's all crap. The worst of it is, you all know it's crap, too! But we all smile, and we say to our societal Niedermayers "Yes, sir. Could I have another?"

Private Language

There may be a "private language" ( see Wittgenstein et al. ), but it will certainly be extremely boring. I mean to say, the only person you may bestow the glad-eye upon will be yourself, and if there is anything sprightly and gingery that occurs in a "private language", the fun will last about 2 or 3 minutes from starting whistle to knocking down the goal posts.

Popularity

Often bloggers think how nice it would be if their blogs were more popular, if more people read them. I have done so myself. Look at who is popular. Look at who is popular on cable TV news, the chatter-boxes, the celebrities. Look! To be popular is to exemplify the popular mass insanity of a society. Screw popularity!

The Iceman Cometh: Health Care

I dawned on me that Eugene O'Neil is the playwright to dramatize Health Care reform in the USA in the 21st (...or is it reversed? is it the 12th?... ) century. Town Hall meetings are like enough to hobnobbing at Davy Jones' Rathskeller. The pipe dreams of the generals, the minorities, the disillusioned, the vengeful... Pipe dreams are ideology. All your religious figures have told you: Life ! ...do not smoke the pipe of dreams. That is Death in Life. I have never known a people so half made-up...and so wounded, like the Fisher King of the Grail stories. I know because I've just referred to a figure - the Fisher King - and notwithstanding the fact that "The DaVinci Code" dealt with the Grail, you probably have no knowledge of the Fisher King and his place in the stories of the Grail. Our fantasies are halk-baked and half-witted, just as are our realities. We are are half made people. We prop ourselves with prostheses of guns and firearms. We are a severely wounded people. We seek to cure ourselves with the cauterizing fire of hate. The Iceman Cometh.
pix: Doctor Fun

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Iceman Cometh: Black Ravens Revisited

Black Ravens was the nickname for Stalin's secret police cars.
Black Ravens are a sign we use to depict opponents of Health Care Reform. Or Carrion Crows.
What is a present-day Death Panel?
If you cannot afford the cost of your medications, you have been "panelled" into oblivion...to the hospice of last resort...
...and the Iceman Cometh !
Painting by Boris J. Wladimirskij
c. 1930

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's That Time

I'm afraid it is that time. You know, the time when you put down the telephone, look bleakly at the wall, and mutter to yourself: "It's that time ! Blast!" It was my mum, of course. She has a particularly idiotic fellow do her income tax, and the City wherein she resides decided to hassle the ancient ones with demands for more of this and that. Ditto the State - may they rot in that circle of hell reserved for States - and the Federal government. So everything worked out, but she was gun shy of the telephone, especially if the caller ID served notice that the caller was from some seat of what we euphemistically call government. Of course, as my luck would have it, hitherto she has been a dowager of fine largesse to the Republican fraternity boys who used to run...or ruin...the government. Thus, the Republican National Committee, when it gets the gleam in its eye, decides it is time to call old mums to see what kind of hand-outs are on the menu this month. Now mum, being gun shy of telephones, will no longer answer calls from Washington D.C. So when the Republican National Committee calls, she writes down the bloody number, then calls me, breathlessly spinning the yarn that she had to run all the way from the basement and across the house...just missing the phone call...but - thank goodness - has the number written down. And could it be for my daughter, her granddaughter, who moved from D.C. two years ago? At this time I muse among memory, and ask whether this is not the Republican National Committee again, since we have already down this before. Well, she knows we did it before, but this could be someone for my daughter, so past it along, would you, like a good son. So I shall have to start keeping a list of the phone numbers of the various organizations for cats, dogs, and politicians she foolishly sends her money to. It was the Republican National Committee...again. I think it reminiscent of the time in Dubois, Pennsylvania, when I went with my mother-in-law to the elevator, going down to breakfast, and looking out the east facing window and watching the sun come up over the hills. "And who are you, young man?" she said as the elevator doors closed.

UFO Talk


Tilly down at the Hugo Chavez gas station - I forget the company name, used to be Sinclair and had a big green dinosaur logo about 60 years ago. Anyway, so Tilly says that Roscoe was in today, and Roscoe - in case you don't know...and you don't, 'cause I ain't told you yet - is the young man who talks to UFO guys. Gals, too. UFO gals. Singin' "UFO gals, won't ya come out tonight, come out tonight, come out tonight; UFO gals won't ye come out tonight..."

Now Roscoe was still there, using the Men's Room, and taking about 15 to 20 minutes doing it: there were sounds like a wrestling match coming from behind the locked door. Tilly and I, we figure Roscoe's got some really, really heavy Obsessive Compulsive type thing going on, got to hold a wad of paper just the right way to get a hold of the seat, then another wad to use the flusher, lots of hot water, a wad of paper to hit the on/off on the air blower...and he's probably got to hold his breath while the air dryer is blowing and recirculating...well, everything in the men's' room at the speed of light, or at the speed of air dryer air, at least. That explains the great expulsions of breath, followed by great gobbling gasps for air.

So he saunters out and it's all we can do to keep from laughing. "What have you been talking 'bout with the UFOers, Roscoe?" Tilly asks. He shakes his head in a sad, knowing way. He's been here before. "I cain't tell yer. Ya couldn't stand it.You're not..," here he stopped and looked for the right words, words strong enough to condemn me, but not to assign Tilly - dear Tilly - to the same place in hell where I should be. "Yer not strong enough for it." he said. "Couldn't stand it?" says I, doing a thick Irish brogue like Uncle Leonard telling the joke of the time Claude stumbled in drunk and woke up his brother Bill, who happened to be asleep in the front room - his own bedroom being painted, a matter what Claude fergot.

Roscoe shakes his head. "No. It would be too much fer ya. I told a parson..." - he meant person...I think - "... oncet and that parson died." Tilly and I became thoughtful. "Indeed! And who was that, Roscoe?" "Auntie Belle. Last year. She asked me if there was life after...after...ya know, and I wanted to tell her to put her mind at ease. The UFO people know all about Life after D."

After D. indeed! "Aunt Belle was 3/4 dead last year, Roscoe. She was already in the hospice when you spilled your UFO beans. The only reason you got to talk to her was that Death had stopped at the convenience store down the block for a pack o' smokes, 'n got to playin' video poker." Tilly smiled as I said this. "Scoff if ye must. It's too horrible fer human ears. Even coarse and crude ears..." he looked straight at me, "...that hear all kinds of cursing and swearing and...whatnot." Like mine, he's thinking. Like my ears, connected to my crude eyes, just above me unkempt mouth.

"So, Roscoe," says Tilly, "Your sayin' that what the UFOers say is so horrible; is it more horrible than all the bankers in the world taking bets on lame-horse investments and having all the investments being so far behind in the field, they almost are in the next race?" "Ay," says I. "Is it more horrible than having bankers piss your money away, then having to bail them out?"

Tilly grew more and more animated. "Is it worse than yer $200,000 house being worth $90,000 and change now? Worse than a foreclosure and sitting on yer sorry tail-crack on the kerbside?" "Is it worse than not being able to afford health care, Roscoe? Do the UFO people tell you stories of Death Panels in the Sky?" "What of inflation, Roscoe? Unemployment..."

Roscoe had run. He crossed against the light. He had some small scraps of toilet paper and paper towels from the men's room he was shoving into his ears, trying to stop the sound of our voices. "Shut up !! Don't...wanna...hear !!! " he yelled as he ran into traffic. Tilly smiled at me. "You'll burn in hell for that." I laughed. "Won't be alone, gal", and I went out.

--

Good Buddies

It turns out some of the guys toting guns to Town Hall meetings about Health Care - not Gun Rights - are allied with radical militias. I'm surprised. Picture above is the Stadium in the ancient City of Hate. Town Hall meeting tonight, brothers & sisters ! First time we've used the old place since 1936 or so.
Be there !
It's a Town Meeting...like the ones on Little Tall Island...Give us what we want, but we won't go away.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Old Days

There is an ancient Mariner - a garrulous old geezer - who speaks to people down at the docks: "In the old days..." Do we anticipate? Will he tell us how far he walked to school? It was better? Children didn't sass their parents? "...it was so - so win. Nowadays, it is so fail." What do we need to turn things around? A Manhattan Project?...we are appealing to his long-term, World War II memories. "Manhattan Project? Ya don't need another one; first one ain't over yet. We can't stop anymore. If we could get a good thing going, it'd go on ferever...but we cain't. We are so, so fail! " Coleridge's curse, and I ran from that old mariner, I can tell you!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Twitter Revolution

My nephews got into a color-coded-revolution and twittered me with unending updates. I do not know which nephew this is...the taller one, obviously - baton and computer in his hands replacing the older insignia of hammer and sickle.
I am bemused.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Language And Consciousness August 16 2009

We say that Language does not merely describe reality, does not merely symbolize reality, standing apart from it and disinterestedly supllying us with information. No. We say that Language constitutes reality: it builds it on the foundation of what we have inherited - our history. Therefore, Language is never separated from Morality. We like to think that we can stand apart and use symbols as ten-foot-poles to touch the evil and madness of the world, that it never touches us, that we ourselves are beyond evil... Guess again.

Healthcare Death Panels

I saw Newt Gingrich speaking of Obama's Plan leading to Death Panels. We have such panels right now. They decided on the allocation of very scvarce resources, essentially deciding who lives and who dies; they typically deal with organs: hearts, livers, etc. Those who received transplants have a chance; those who do not receive them have no chance. "Death Panels" are not something new. In an economic and political and moral system such as ours, there will always be allocation of resources to where the "market" deems it best they be allocated to; some will not get the resources. The decision, whether made by a panel of experts or an impersonal market, is a decision either way. We decide who even gets any healthcare whatsoever. We decide who has insurance and how much; we decide whether they get prescription coverage; we decide who gets food and who dives into dumpsters. What an amusing notion Republicans have: that we do not already decide on the Quick and the Dead !

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Language And Consciousness August 15 2009

The features of Human Worlds do not first exist, and then subsequently get spoken about or written of; they come into being in talk. They come into being in talk, in music, in emotional interactions... All that is conscious understands the world because it is also creating the world. Language, music, et al. do not represent reality; they constitute reality. So when I talk about the stories we create - and how the stories had better be good stories, lest we be screwed - I am talking of creating the House wherein our kids and grandkids will live.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Revolt Of The Parking Lots 2

Two bitumen storage tanks on the edge of no-man's land, standing guard.
pix: Black & White Dreams

Matrix Phone Booth

I tried to use the phone, but it was too late.
I ran back to the car...
but it was way too late.

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Link

I added a new link haut dexter, just under my peace mongering poetry site. It is the Trousers Press - with iconic logo of inverted pantaloons - and hitherto it had not dawned on me the type of pun we were looking at. I had to write it down before I was made aware of it: press trousers; trousers press. I suppose I shall consider this a form of chiasmic pun, chiasmus being the literary trope where one takes the structure and...well, inverts it into a cross-like thingie: "I am not able to dig; to beg I am ashamed." or "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country." One of my nephews whose name does not begin with "A" threw a 40th for his wife, Diana. In his email invite, he referred to the "Artemisia". Artemisia? I wondered. What possibly does he mean? Is this some misplaced reference to an ancient festival, not entirely correct? But I had to explain it aloud to someone: "He uses the word "artemisia" for some reason. An artemision - singular - is a sanctuary of Artemis, Diana to the Romans..." Well, there it was: Diana. And the Artemisia was the great feast of Artemis in Syracuse, Sicily. Which goes to show you that reading and speaking aloud are probably language behavior quite a bit different the one from the other.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

American Hatred

There is hatred in the USA, hatred and violence. And Racism. You know who they are, and they are all around us. I have been telling you for a while that we are not rational people: we are mad men and women, and we love violence and killing. If there had been a town hall meeting and Republicans attacked Union members - and particularly if they had used GUNS - we would have hosannas from the right and new saints of killing to pray to.

Fast Day Poem

Kick-Ass Mary How great the pain that pierced your heart, Mother, when they raised Him on the cross; ceaseless furrows of your tears record the tsunami of your loss! Hammer and spear, thorns and scourge, all life from your soul did purge? "My pain blinded everything else, I could not stand; I admit that in my pain I cried a few tears and screamed in my deep despair... softened by the mound of stones I threw! from Roman heads blood, their cries attest: 'Get that Jew bitch! The Jewish terrorist!' " notes: My poem for the week 114. the Virgin Mary is usually depicted as silently suffering during the passion of Jesus. However, she fought for her kids like a soldier, and drew the blood of killers.

Friday, August 07, 2009

What Is A Poem?

Charles Bukowski, American Poet

A poem is not something made; it is a making. It is not the finished act, the ergon as the Greeks have it; it is the energia, the energy, the doing of something. An Op-Ed column is read; a poem is something we grapple with, run with, make love to, share years with, are repelled by: it is a dynamic which comes from one being to another and creates an ongoing whirlpool of mind. There are the bricks and mortars of poems; there are ways to make poems; the only true poem is a making, regardless of the meter, the words, the scansion.

A poem that is merely made tumbles from the living to the dead, a vampire. That's why the vampire image is so popular today - the vampire and the zombie: we have fallen from Life into Death in Life. Our Cult of Celebrity is dead and phoney art, a thrill where no real sensuality exists: a death rattle mistaken for an orgasm. Make poetry, not war.

Obamaland

My mother keeps me up on what the fringe right is up to. Apparently, our President's actual name is "Kenya Bob", and he was a darling child much loved in the Nairobi market places. Then there is Obamaland; it would seem that the quick minds of Limbaugh et alii have seen through the persiflage and divined that Mr. Obama has the intent to rename the USA "Obamaland". My mother told me this. For the first time, I laughed out loud and unrestrainedly right at her, and I said "You are not that stupid!" I was taking a chance. I mean, she is not stupid at all, nor has she dementia. She does the Sunday NY Times crosswords yet, and she is not a fool. I rarely - if ever - ever said that something she said was stupid. In fact, I never said such a thing in my life. I may have thought it was stupid; indeed, very stupid, but I never said so right into her face. But I did. And I had to embellish it, too. I said that it was ever thus with dictators: Hitler changed the name of Germany to Hitlerville, Mussolini changed "Italy" to Mussolini Acres, and Franco was just on the verge of officially changing "Spain" to Francisco's Bide-a-Wee when he passed. Even now, the infamous Hugo Chavez who had the audacity to make constitutional changes by the radical means of a popular vote - not going through an electoral college or some such class institution - has a nefarious plot to eventually re-name Venezuela as "Carmen Miranda Meadows". She laughed sheepishly and said, "Well, I don't believe that, Obamaland. That is stupid. But..."

Monday, August 03, 2009