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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205

Shadow Play

This Supreme Court decision early this year extending the "rights" of individual citizens to Corporate entities, barring limits on campaign contributions, has effectively destroyed the 18th Century concept of the Individual and the Rights of the Individual - "Individual" conceptualized as an individual man or woman - that is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States.

It has done more than allow unlimited funds to buy votes; it has struck at the very bedrock of our way of life and liberty.

To put artificial, fictive, and legal entities up on the pedestal where stand those who have received their rights from "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"  is to deny the rights of man and to embrace the rights of the artificial collective.
With all the talk about socialism, you are surprised that I find the most iniquitous proof of its presence in a conservative Supreme Court decision? We are too habituated to the symbols we have grown used to; in the age of Revolution, things are never what they seem: they have moved on while we stand wondering.

All the talk about Conservatism or Liberalism, all the talk about Strict Constructionism, all the babble about trying to understand what the framers' of the Constitution meant... all that is meaningless. We are in adifferent place, and we are moving to enshrine the artificial entity of Corporation as a recipient of Rights and Laws of God and Nature on a footing equal to men and women. Call it whatever you will, it is a "strictly monstrous" construction.


Black Swans

Black Swan: symbol of outlying, extreme cases of low probability

What is the probability that the nation's worst financial crisis and worst environmental crisis occur within 2 years of each other?

Or, add a war based on non-existent WMDs, and what is the probability that these occur within the same 7 years span?

Are all such cases extreme cases and of low probability? If so, why are they all occurring? If not, how have we skewed the probabilities so that what was once extreme is now moving more towards the average?

Watch the films Network and Fight Club. Observe how the 1975-mordant satire of Network has been supplanted and rendered quaint by Fight Club's darker and deeper biting satire, Fight Club itself being made obsolete by events since 2001 on.

How can our outlook change so fast?
So fast... that is the emblem of this radical age. If you don't believe this age to be Revolution Incarnate, just wait... it'll change so-o-o fast.


Transformative Anti-Semitism

Perhaps you are unaware of the full range of Jewish society and culture. If you have ever stood on a street corner in Jerusalem and watched a group of Orthodox students harass women who are not demurely dressed, you know how close conservative Jews and conservative Muslims are in many respects.

In fact, the fact that Muslims in Europe - I'm thinking France right now - are generally separated into their own lower class enclaves is  Ghetto Nouveau - a new ghetto.

Anti-Semitism is alive and well in the world, only the Semitic populations which are the targets now are the Muslims - even those far away from the Middle East. Their very conservative placement back in some historic past renders them as unpalatable to modern taste as did that of the strange Jews in Europe, who labored under the stereotypes of mediaeval content.
Look at illustrations from Jud Suss, the Nazi film; are not the illustrations spot on for the modern cartoons of Muslims?

We have formed a momentary alliance with Jewishness. It remains to be seen how long it will endure in the transformative world of constant conflict and reduced expectations which seems to be our lot.

Friday, July 30, 2010


The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem under the Emperor Titus

The concept is a nonce concept, a word defined for special occasions... an Ad Hoc word, totally owning its existence to those who wish to spend Billions for Bin Laden. It is a perplexity put forward to demonstrate the wisdom of the war party.

Lucius Flavius Silva muttered about the madness of Eliazar ben Ya'ir at Masada; does Tacitus record that the Emperor Titus cursed the spirit of Judaeo-Fascism animating the souls of those who opposed him in Judea?

The Devil is in the Details

Religion is a phenomenon emergent from God and Man. Therefore, from different perspectives, it will seem like divinity or like humanity; it is the elephant in the old story who, being inspected by five men who could not see it in its entirety, was described as massively columnar - the legs - to lithe and snakelike - the trunk - each description according as the portion of the large animal each man was limited to in his study.

Holy writings are inspired by God, but it is mankind which reads them, interprets them, and speaks of them.
Divine commands emanate from God, but it is mankind which hears, understands, and promulgates.

What is human takes on the myriad faces of humanity: quot homines tot sententiae, there are as many differing opinions as there are different men. The human is the intense and obsessional attention to detail, eventuating in an unfortunate chain of misapprehensions: obsessional focus becoming Faith and obsessed over by our descendants and future devotees.
To occupy his obsessional intelligence, man creates detail, the easier to make a fetish of it. Language is the basis of the splintered reality which we spend our time putting back together, then ripping apart, only to resew the hems - the tattered seams - of what is left.

What is Divine is so rare and so prone to escape intelligibility that it takes lifetimes to grasp. It is silent and is mirrored in the silence of monks and nuns in all the lands of the Earth who devote themselves to God. Its intelligibility is action and doing, not speaking and reading: hence we have to learn from mentors who teach us the most important articles of faith in silence, in zen koan, in  parables and ironies, pointing to paradoxes to jolt our minds from the details of the ordinary.

If the modern is ungodly, it is ungodly in its deification of Laws and Writings and Symbolic Speaking, and its ensuing tendency to trap God within the bounds of human symbolisms. It reduces God to an article of our science, whose divine soul is known by mere men, so well known that we are completely at ease discovering the intention and will of God, and destroying those who disagree.

God is not an object of belief. He is an expectation when I awake into the waking state from the sleep state.
God does not prescribe, nor does He compel. He attracts.
God does not speak, urge, nor exhort. He persuades us by our natures and lives.
We pull the carriage of the universe, like teams of horses and mules. The carrot dangled in front of us to get us moving is a Mobius strip - a topology extending forward, yet based on the past; it attracts and pushes by a bright and shining orangeness of the carrot of our quantum desires.

In the world of detail, there are too many carrots, and they are haphazardly strewn about; in the world of detail, it is dark and no one has kindled a fire, nor has anyone struck a light.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Are there two moralities?
One is the morality of mankind trying to attain the Good, and avoid the Evil.
This is what we talk about when we discuss morality.

The other is that of God.
That morality is silent: its Honor is not feted and saluted; it is quiet.
Its Perseverance is never noticed... for all is perseverance.
Loyalty is not celebrated, for there is no wavering from loyalty... ever.
It is majestic, silent, and mountainous.

Met Office

This is the link to the Met Office, referred to in the post Climate?  of July 25. They predicted the heat waves of 2010 through 2014... some of this is present and some is future, so you will have to mentally process it in temporal parallel layers!

The War

This Gang of Six Has A Price of $ 1 Billion on Their Heads

The Afghan War, to be precise. Not the Iraq War - or the Iraqi Attacki as I originally called it, differentiating it from Shoq 'n' Awe, or whatever that profoundly arrogant name was our idiot leaders applied to their criminal war ( they stood in a public place and implored the Fates and the Furies to prepare the retribution on us and our children, which came around, by and by, in 2008).

I am in favor of the War in Afghanistan.
The Taliban did cowardly attack Pearl Harbor in a sneak attack, did they not?

Well, the Taliban were brilliant strategists and engineers who divided their time between nuclear physics, testing the aerodynamics of the 9/11 plot, and stoning women for adultery!

Well, surely the Taliban defended Bin Laden until their last breaths!

No? They didn't? They merely allowed him to continue on since he had thoughtfully killed the leader of the Northern Alliance two days before 9/11?

They sell drugs?
No? The Taliban were the ones who outlawed opium?

Jeez, Louise!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


The Periodic Englishman " izup" and running again. He has begun to use slang expressions. He is still at a tentative phase, not quite sure how to mix the spices and whether one should wear gangsters' argot before Labor Day ( or Bank Holiday, if you will ). He is still getting his "sea legs", so watch out: there may be a few zingers and double-entendres... or triple-entendres of which he was aware of only two.
He seems to have recovered from his bout of whatever it was at the local Hotel Dieu, and is quietly leading a rural existence with tabbies and labradors, very redolent of those antique still-life paintings of which we were once so fond: meadow and lea, dog and cat, peaceable kingdom.



It is hot in Japan. It is also hot in Europe, and the heat is stunting the crops. Lord knows it is hot here... also ruining growing things: green beans are totally messed up, hollow and useless.

Let's go back Mr. Peabody and Sherman to the year 2007 
where we read in the Deseret News:

Global heat wave after 2009?
By John Lauerman

Bloomberg News

Published: Friday, Aug. 10, 2007 12:05 a.m. MDT

The Earth is headed for a record-setting heat wave after 2009, a team of U.K. climate experts said in the first such report based on observations from recent years.

Each year from 2010 through 2014 has at least a 50 percent chance of being warmer than 1998, the hottest on record, researchers led by Doug Smith of the Met Office, a government weather-forecasting agency based in Exeter, said Thursday in the journal Science.

The estimate is the first stemming from data collected since 1990 on ocean temperatures, heat-trapping gases and other factors. Other forecasters used information gathered from 1960 to 1990, the researchers said. By focusing on the next few years, rather than the longer time frame in earlier studies, the new report adds urgency to the challenge of reducing emissions that heat the atmosphere, Smith said...,5143,695199448,00.html

Dealing with change that will severely impact our lives... another thing we don't do too well anymore. Look at the Health Care Bill we passed. Look at Afghanistan, Iraq. Look at the out of control Intelligence structure. Look at controlling defense spending.
We the people are going to have to do it ourselves.

The Wikipedia picture above is from the European heat wave of 2003 - which I have frequently mentioned here - with a sign in Paris, saying that if one is looking for a victim of the heat wave, Paris has a "green" telephone number to call...

To me, this sounds a lot like Paris in the Plague Years !

pic: Wikipedia:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fight Club & John Brown

When I write about the film Fight Club, I am probably going to also speak about John Brown, the abolitionist who led the raid on Harper's Ferry before the Civil War.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fight Club & Project: Mayhem

I watched Fight Club in its entirety for the first time. Previously I think I watched maybe 80% of it, but I needed to see the entire thing.

I always thought the film was a mindless re-hash of Palahniuk's trash writing; then, one fine day, I saw the last 20 minutes of it. Oh -ooh! Trapped in a device of my own making.  Well, I was absolutely fascinated by Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, and Brad Pitt. I did not know what was going on beyond what was immediately on the screen, but it did not matter - I often prefer watching things without the "canned" version of "reality" : the script, so I can try and make sense of it without any other inputs and preconceptions.

I saw some bizarre parallel to The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, the dream world of a mad man interspersed with the real world. Being a calligarista, this obviously made me warm to the film. Caligari is an important film and mirror of its time, and suddenly I saw Fight Club aspiring to the same pedestal.

See the film. Remember that it was made in 1999. That is very important: pre-2001, pre-2008 financial collapse. Very important.
I shall talk about it later when you have. I don't like lecturing people about things. They should go out and do it themselves; then we can have a discussion, not a sermon or a lecture.

I am going to have to read the book, too, and I suppose I'll have to admire Mr. Palahniuk's writing...

I strikes me that cinema might be the best medium for this Poesis, Greek for " a making" - the root of the word "poetry". There is some philosophical babble, but it is kept to a minimum in the film. The philosophy rightly comes through in action, character, brief speech, and settings. Now the book, being a wordy entity by definition, might have too much pretentious chatter; I have to find out.
This is the other important aspect of Fight Club, however:  the concept of the right medium for a poesis ( let's pronounce it poy'-ay-sis... I hate the words  Art and Work of Art ), thinking how cinema differs from literature and from painting and from music, etc. It tells us something important about ourselves and how we see the world.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Joy of Latin

Cicero is the book on the right,  Apuleius to the left, and a self-made greeting card above right.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Importance of Being Ice & My Wife Stands Up for Everyone

People on a Front Porch in the Old Days,
When They did not Curse and Malign -
a Long Time Ago

Spent the weekend with my parents. My father had his usual round of conversation: the garden, the hydrangeas, the rain or lack of it, the water level of the river. I keep telling him that the amount of rain where he lives across from Squirrel Island, part of Walpole Island First Nation, Bkejwanong, is unimportant to the level of the river.
What is important is the amount of snowfall up north in the Lake Superior drainage basin. As the snow gradually melts over April;, May, and June, it builds up the reservoir of water in Lake Superior - the greatest amount being added as we approach summer and the temperatures up there rise.
It all works like an enormous dam: the Lake Superior Dam, accumulating water and releasing it slower than would happen if there were no snowfall, rather rain storms. These would immediately dump water and that water would immediately head downstream, more of a flood than a gradual release.

In fact, that's what happened in the winter of 2009-2010; the temperatures were warmer than normal and a good deal of the precip up north was in the form of rain rather than snow; the rain just washes downstream when it falls in the winter, with no snow build up of water reserves. So the St.Clair River is lower even than it was last year, after a couple of years of rising levels.

OK. The point of this is that glaciers are retreating. Particularly glaciers in the Himalayas, as noted by the BBC this morning.
Glaciers are water dams; they store water and gradually release it, and as it flows, it creates rivers. Specifically I can think of the Mekong River - called Lanang in China ( I think !) - which rises in the Himalayas and flows thousands of miles down to the delta where Saigon used to be.

No water dams, no reserves of water. Rainfall will still occur, but the rivers of the world will tend to resemble great wadis, seasonal rivers and creeks, which will flow when it rains, but dry up when there is no rain, having no glacial melt in reserve to keep up the flow.

This will be a problem that becomes clearer to us very soon.

Now late Sunday, my parents' idiot financial advisor, Mark, came to visit. His idea of financial advice is to plunk his ass in a chair on the front porch and proceed to talk about his family, his church - where he is a deacon - parish gossip, politics... what's wrong with Blacks,  the good thing about Obama is that there'll never, ever be another Black President, banks can't loan money ( for the past 2 years )  'cause they don't know how the new financial regulations will work out ( just passed into law! ), and on and on... the economy is tough, that's why some of the inappropriate investments he had them in are touchy still... he has an answer for everything; pretty much the same answers he had back in 2007 and early 2008; he is seemingly unaware how they actually worked out.

You can feel him straining to use the N-word a couple times; N's are going to riot again; it'll be just like the Sixties and that fool MLK.

I remained listening in the front room, monitoring his chatter to pick up on any suggestion of his that my parents hand over any money to him, but my wife went in and told him that he was the biggest hypocrite she'd ever seen:  standing up on the altar Sunday morning, then coming around spewing his vile hate.

He was unused to people not joining into his buffet of crap, so he sat goggle-eyed. muttering that he didn't think it "wuz" hate, and mumble, bumble, stumble.

I went out front soon to clean the canoe. He waved towards my general area, so I held up my arm  with the middle finger straight up. But that was nothing. My wife was the heroine. I am so proud of her... and I am so devastated by this side of my parents which has been developing as they age:  to allow the right-wing hate speech to be uttered in front of them.
When I was young, they may not have agreed with Democrats and Liberals, but they never uttered the type of crap which has now become normal for them and much of the country.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Deep Impact Horizon

Did you ever wonder what it is like to live in a failing society? I think it will be just like this. In fact, we are failing. We never address the burning issues until it is late, then we throw money at the problems. But that is just re-living the mythic scenario of the Manhattan Project. I have heard people say we will pull out of this malaise if we throw enough money into.... something... and it will be like the era: new technology and new immeasurable profits.
I say, O.K. How long did it take from DARPA to the world wide net?
So I guess we will have to wait another twenty years at least.
How long did it take for the A-Bomb? Well, arbitrarily say the Solvay Conference in 1926, and you've got almost twenty years to the Manhattan Project.
Won't happen for a while... if ever. Sometimes things just poop out.

Another mythic scenario ( mythic so far, thank God! ) is mankind threatened by asteroid impact. You've seen the films. Want to know what will really happen in a failing society? It'll be somewhat like Deepwater Horizon and Deep Impact mixed together.
The government response to Deepwater Horizon was nothing less than bureaucratic criminality. The system does not work for us anymore. If it doesn't work for us, it is an oligarchy of despair, destined for destruction as the next technogenic catastrophes accumulate.

Joy of Kids

The wedding is a little over a month past. It took about three weeks, maybe four, to re-acclimatize ourselves to the world. I understand weddings now: the pomp, the pageantry, the ritual, the celebration. To create another reality, if only for a time lasting no more than one day, is to participate in the greatest Art which transforms the human soul... again if only for a brief time.

And it seems to be brief, usually. We are not transformed by the great Feast. The momentum of the past forbids us to let ourselves be transformed; we even have been taught to fear radical enchantment which leads to a change of being, so we always come home... we always return from vacation and de-pressurize our bodies by a gradual return to the mundane, allowing the gases of freedom which infused our blood to gradually leech away, become inert, so we do not suffer from a fatal decompression as the state of freedom leaves our bodies.

Oh, not so me. The wedding created a tent of veils, painted with wizardry, blown in the wind, remaining dry in the rain and sheltering us from the wet with intermittent slaps of fabric of the Jinn against elemental storm.

I have seen and read Romeo and Juliet many times, and have been moved to joy and tears, but the effect was always transitory, the experience did not move me in the sense of chess: a move to a new locale, a move with finality and importance in the ultimate outcomes!
The experience of having a family and raising children, then seeing them start a life of their own has, however, changed me immensely. Friends have become multi-dimensional and mysterious; I value the few I have with a new sense of community - although I haven't whispered a word of this to them.
And children! Ha! I tell people now children  are a blessing: the good and the bad. They smile and agree, but I wonder if they have any idea what I mean. I mean Children, not the the 4 hour-long Mike Todd or Abel Gance or D.W. Griffith version; I mean a lifetime of involvement and intertwining....... the infinite director's cut!

I never, ever in my life had any feel for the intricate filigree of intertwining threads that hold life together until my daughter was wed; I never saw life in more than merely 3-dimensions until there was a "separation". I do not feel regret; I cannot say the commonplace "I did not know what I had until it was gone". No. It was something very different: as I felt the separation, I felt the entire process of my life, from birth to family to families of my children: I saw an infinite garden carpet of life being rolled out ahead of me into the future, and the carpet was woven by the joys and happiness, the tears and sorrows of the entire family of humanity - not mine alone.
Being in a sense "alone" - my daughter moving away - I suddenly was no longer alone.
And the carpet is still beneath my feet.

To not know Unity until there is Separation is a paradox, and as I have mentioned elsewhere, paradox - by disrupting the commonplace - is the underpinning of the Most Uncommon, the Holy.

pix: Catherine Schutt / the War Memorial, site of the reception.


TV D-Day

Today we find whether AT&T or AMC wins their battle. It is also Bastille Day - en France - and is noteworthy for that, too.

We like AMC a good deal.
We have always been AT&T customers - like eons! - and have never felt we have been abused like we so often feel in our dealings with banks and other businesses nowadays. ( note: I also feel very good about T-Mobile, having been a customer for about 7 years.) We jumped from Comcast to AT&T Uverse and loved it. I myself actually check schedules for TCM. AMC, Sundance, and IFC for films - sometimes recording them; something I never used to do! - and thoroughly enjoy it.

I know it will be brief. My intro plan ends in October, and I don't feel the experience is worth another $60 per month, but that's a business decision; can't fault AT&T for that.

If providers of access and providers of content continue to squabble, and if access providers act begin to "comcast" the consumer more, the best outcome would be to default from television altogether.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Talking With God

Endothermic Energy Levels of Prayer

I am an early riser. Up and at 'em before sunrise. I throw on my clothes laid out the night before; I actually do put my pants on two legs at a time - or simultaneously, leg-wise - contrary to the popular maxim that we all put our pants on one leg at a time. Contrarian. I sort of slide them on while sitting on the side of the bed and jump, leap - sometimes somersault - into them, both legs pipe-stemming their way inside. Of course, now I'm wearing shorts first crack out of the box, so the process is a lot smoother and less prone to error.
Thus nattily attired for someone fresh from six hours of the dreamy solitude of Morpheus, I stumble to the door, muttering my morning prayers, "Our Father... and the rest of it...", followed by a "Hail Mary... and you know the drill...", and climaxed by "God's nightshirt!" as I stub my toe against the jamb.

So today I did not get away with it as I usually do. While I was reading the BBC and drinking coffee, God stuck his head around the corner...
[ note: when I write about God, I no longer capitalize pronouns, like "He". I just write "he". I do rely upon a transcendental editing device which, when I have finished, will magically change all lower case pronouns to upper case by wafting an angel's wing over the composition. It was fairly expensive. I also have trouble with people who spell "God" as "G-d" or some other such stuff, pretending they are students in a Yeshiva saying "Adonai" instead of...well, that other word... or Word...or W-rd !?
My biggest problem is that everytime I come across "G-d" I read it as "goddam!!" which usually throws quite a monkey wrench into the process of reading things with a theological bent to them. It is a shocking experience, and I never seem to get used to it. ]
Anyway - a longish note there - God sticks his head around the corner... and this may surprise a lot of you, but the divine head is not some sort of monstrously large thing, bigger than all other heads, real or imagined in the history of the universe. It is a bit largish, but not so large as to be a topic for the SciFi Channel. He may have to have his hats custom made.
So, having stuck said head around the corner, he asks "Any breakfast for you? "
"Breakfast?" I murmur.
"E & B" he says.
"E & B this early?" I ask.
"Got to get to work." he says. "I have things to do, physical things..."
"Physical things?" I ask.
"Well, difficult things." he says. "Things that a man needs a good breakfast..."
"Man?" I ask.
"Well, "entity", if you will. Entity. And I will mention that bit of Monophysitism to my son. A day filled with things that require an en-ti-ty have a good breakfast under said entity's belt."
He held the big, black iron skillet in his H-nd, smiling.
So I said, yeah. Why not? Sure. Eggs and bacon.
"Bacon?" I asked as he went towards the kitchen, thinking kashrut and animals whose blood might have been spilled in anger.
He paused. "Yeah. I see... O.K. No B. Ummm, toast?"
I agreed without speaking. I sort of did a closed lipped yum-yum type thingy that I immediately regretted.
He turned around. He did a sort of Captain Kirk gesture from Star Trek Generations as he dropped the bread into the toaster...from afar. Action at a distance, the sort of quantum stuff Einstein had such a bugaboo about. Anyway, bread tossed into toaster and it swished right in, nothing but net, or - rather - nothing but wirey supports, and he smiled at me briefly as if I were Jean-Luc Picard... in S.T. Generations, needless to say.

As we sat down to eat, he asked "What's all this with the prayers?"
I was mopping my plate with a piece of bread, thinking mop-type things, humming the Swifter ad to myself: who's that lady? who's that laaay-deee? "Huh?" I said.
"The prayers. The abridged versions."
I tried to remember. I couldn't. Fried eggs over-easy are pretty much an exothermic process, and the whole art involves breaking, spilling,  and mopping as fast as one can before the ultimate heat-death of the universe.

[I remember July 4th past when everyone was at my parents, and they all have spirituous drinks, and tend to have a dolce far niente approach to the dinner hour - which I don't. When I'm hungry, I eat. Ditto sleep and other bodily prox ( note to self: "prox" for "processes" has been tried out and it works.). The time-honoured cocktail hour to me is nothing but filler material in novels about the English Catholic gentry in the period between World Wars; filler for that chiaroscuro time between tea and the evening repast.
So I grilled the food and grabbed the odd family member who stumbled by to toss the salad, to set the table, and to bun the burgers. I set my hot dogs at my place and did a final check, making sure the food was out and the gaping maws were sitting about the familial table. By the time I sat down to eat, the wretched fan nearby - it was 94 degrees Fahrenheit that day - had turned the hot dogs into a state of cool, cool entropy. I ate.]

I took it that he did not care for "Our Father, et cetera, et cetera, and so forth..." .
I tried to explain. "Well, we all know the words, and words are just a way to induce a transcendent state or meditation; it just "shines" after that. I just "shine" the rest of the prayer. You know, like Stephen King's The Shining."
I paused. "Shine." I said again.
He ate his breakfast.
"It's not Me..." he said, and he said it with a capital M. " I can dig the 'shining' business." he said.
I smiled, relieved.
He continued, "However, it sets a bad example for the rest of creation. Creation doesn't see much difference between a yawning gap of destruction and...well, an unexpected lacuna in a prayer."
"Lacuna ?" I said, with a very small "?".
"Lacuna. Gaps. Missing sections." He repeated, then corrected. "Lacunae, I should say; plural. Many lacuna make lacunae."
I nodded. He was acting very much like Atticus Finch all of a sudden.
"I did not mean to cut it short." I had the sudden image of a director in a radio studio making the "speed-it-up" sign with his hand, followed by a "stretch-it-out" sign, ending in a "finger-across-the-throat" sign.
"I mean, well, words don't really do you I just sort of run out of words and just let the silence continue the prayer."
He brooded over this, almost as intensely as he did over the Deep.
Breakfast continued to its pre-ordained end in silence, and I cleared the table, and rinsed the dishes, leaving them in the sink. I sincerely hoped he would do a finger-snap and finesse them through wash and dry cycles and into cabinets.
Finally, he spoke. "I see what you mean. A lot of people refer to me as "a higher power". Pastor Haggee says I'm the highest, the greatest, the absolutest all-time smartest... All those superlatives. It makes me feel like I'm surrounded by obese guys gobbling pies in the last 2 gut-busting minutes of the closest, hardest-fought, and nastiest pie eating contest  at the sleaziest county fair ever imagined."
"Words sometimes don't do it; sometimes words turn into an idolatry of words themselves. W-rds, as you say."
He smiled and left. Quite abruptly. I felt pretty good. I looked at the dishes still in the sink.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Solzhenitsyn & Goethe on Politicians

"Don't believe them;
don't fear them;
do not ask anything of them."
It is good advice. Start now by beginning to ignore politicans. They cannot help us. They are a class created by the media to fill in a charade of our History.
Do not even mock them, like Jon Stewart. Mocking them gives them a reality they do not possess: it mocks their power - but they have no power except that we surrender to them!

Ignore them all, from Obama to Palin. And foreswear the juvenile pleasures of listening to those that re-affirm your prejudice: ignore the Rushes and the Glenns... you must be prepared to handle them, but you must not give them any power of your attention. Under the guise of saying yes to us, they are the spirits that always deny... die Geister die stets verneinen.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Ms. Lohan was.. and is... wonderful and beautiful in A Prairie Home Companion. A great film and a potentially great talent.

It is a great film, not as a purely filmic experience, but as a representation of the ethos behind the radio show and its creators.

American Chernobyl

Chernobyl on my mind. First the parallel with Deepwater Horizon, then Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith, a very well-written novel I am flying through. Now Club Orlov's analysis of Big Oil Spill as American Chernobyl, dated back in May:

The list of similarities is... well, frightening if you haven't caught on yet to which way the wind is blowing.

The concept of  technogenic catastrophe  is mentioned, having come into vogue after Chernobyl:

It is rather more descriptive than the rather flaccid English phrase [industrial accident], and it puts the blame where it ultimately comes to rest in any case: with the technology, and the technologists and politicians who push it. Technology that can and sometimes does fail catastrophically, causing unacceptable levels of environmental devastation, is no good, regardless of how economically necessary it happens to be. It must be shut down.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Plains, Georgia

A sign in Plains, Georgia, home of our greatest ex-President.

I particularly like the way the sign looks almost freshly painted; I'm used to old, worn-out signs on the side of buildings, revenants of the past. But here is a fine, small town investing in the hazards of the uncertain future. It is a parable for the rest of us.
And God bless Plains and her people!

Vanishing South Georgia
Brian Brown

You Know What I Mean

July 4th fell on a Sunday. The 5th was a Monday... just the facts, ma'am, just the facts. So my mother thought that the 5th was the holiday. I told her that the Holiday Bingo that has been done with our national holidays did not extend to certain important ones: Christmas, Easter... July 4th; it still had to be on July 4th. How could it not be? Was Cinco de Mayo on the 20th?
But the obsessional notion was firmly implanted, regardless of the fact that she did apprehend the absurdity of celebrating the 4th on the 5th, or the 6th, perhaps, if the 4th had been a Saturday... which, I guess, it had been last year; 2009 wasn't a leap year, nor was 2010, so the 4th was on a Saturday last year, according to the famous scientific maxim of the "Precession of the Days-Off". How we had coped with the 4th on a Saturday, no one seemed to remember... a sure hint that we were dithering, but that never stopped us before.

Now you may find it odd that my mother would obsessionally believe this to be the case: there was no pay-off, no one was going to give her a million dollars for believing that the 4th was the 5th; no one was going to congratulate her on her devotion and faith. It just came into her head, and that was that. She is a ravin' maven of "a bird in the hand..." : if the idea is in one's head, it is worth at least twice as much as the reality which has so far escaped notice.

If we had made reference to the Holiday Anomaly, she would have gone on forever, or - at least until July 8th. She had already culled her memories of youth and college days and WW II to come up with examples and counter-examples to bolster the "5th = 4th" hypothesis. Her major argument was that the Post Office was closed, followed by City, State, and Federal offices. In my hometown, the library was closed; I know for a fact, because I checked it out on the 2nd.

Monday is Garbage Day in their parts, and is pushed back to Tuesday in the event of Monday being a holiday. So the garbage sat sequestered in the hot garage, marinating yet another day. I had to go downtown to Sans Souci - the name of the quaint village - and on my return, I passed the garbage truck. What excellent refutation! I thought. So I drove in, waved my arms, and said that the garbage trucks were a-comin'! My mother reacted by asking me whether I had actually seen a garbage truck. Perhaps she thought I had been hanging around downtown with some "drugstore cowboys", shooting the breeze, and one of the less reputable ones had mentioned that he heard tell that the garbage trucks wuz comin'. I don't know. My family's first response to any situation is to question the cognitive basis of the reported events: whether tragedy or comedy. If someone were to rush in, saying that terrorists had set off a dirty bomb in Sans Souci and best head for the root cellar right quick!, my mother would question the source of this information, citing liberal bias as a basis for disbelief, and probably say that Obama was behind it... ... all the while, a dirty cloud of radiation begins to fall about our ears.

So my nephews and I headed for the garage, followed by my father, who - at 90 - stills thinks we are not quite competent to set out the garbage. Well, we set it out. We set it out at the road immediately across from the garbage of Cornelius across the road. My father caught up and said "he" always put it next to the mail box... about 100 feet to the east. At this moment, the garbage truck rounded the corner off South Channel Drive, and we were the first stop.
So we dragged the smelly garbage up to the mail box. I'm not sure why the mail box is so important. The guys wrestling the containers did not seem to care whether the junk was next to a federally-protected mail box or not. And then they went 100 feet more and stopped and chucked Cornelius' junk into the compactor at the rear of the truck. Then everything was quiet, and we felt the high point had passed. We felt the adrenalin being washed out.

When we re-entered the house, my mother jumped into a discourse about the matter, wondering how anyone could have known, since the 5th was the holiday, and so on and so on. And the City offices were closed. My brother ventured that some people were off on the 2nd, Friday, as well as the 5th, and the 4th had become a four day holiday. I stated that businesses were always squealing about lost productivity, so why would anyone believe that they would chuck two more extra days off to their employees? I said that I was quite sure - as sure as I was standing there on Monday, the 5th of July, 2010 that Wal-Mart was open and Wal-Mart had its wraith-like employees flitting about their great cavernous, dirty stores, staring at people with empty eyes, muttering "Welcome to Wal-Mart..."  with cadaverous mouths, or as their other employees that look like part-time bouncers up to no good were stalking customers in the aisle maze.

She repeated the fact that government offices were closed. Then I said something I hadn't said in a long time:

"Well, it might not be a holiday for people that have to work for a living."

And that, constant reader, was that. No one said another word about it. I did not mean that government workers - or people in offices - don't work, but... ... you know what I mean.


Yoshi's Dilemma

Tetris Attack

There are many video games in which success demands that the player search for a possible move, set up the move, then immediately shift their attention away to another part of the game to find another move, never dwelling on the move already made to see the outcome: by letting one's gaze rest upon the outcome of one's move, one loses precious milliseconds that cannot be spared; there is continuous action in the game, tending to some limit which, once reached, ends the game.

Therefore, to keep ahead of the game's movement, the player has to make use of every second and millisecond to make their successful moves. The searching eye of the player must never rest on what the player has achieved. If one waits and views what they have done, they soon lose.

So it is with Reality.
Reality as we have it is our awareness resting - lovingly and satiate - upon the creations of consciousness. We stop our searching, and admire what we have done.

We lose - sooner or later.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Our Chernobyl?

There is political and economic fall-out from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Since the $75 million limit on liability is to be lifted, small operators will not be able to drill in the deep water anymore; this will only be available to the big oil companies. Well, perhaps that is for the best. Why would such a minuscule limit have been set in the first place? At the time it was enacted into law, it must have been fairly obvious that $75 million was hardly adequate. I suspect lobbyists and sweet-heart negotiations.

The discussion over new regulations and the moratorium are not actually about energy policy at all; they are not about environmentalism and anti-business animus: they are about how we provide for disasters of technology.

Suppose it had not been an oil spill, but an explosion of spent nuclear fuel near these coast lines and beaches; or a nuclear reactor on the ocean. Suppose it. Picture it. What then?
Beyond the almost immediate deaths of the emergency responders and the slower, drawn out deaths of those receiving less immediately lethal doses of radiation, there would be the Dead Zones where radioactivity would remain high for hundreds and thousands of years... pretty much ending the shrimping industry and the tourism industry nearby for millenia.

There is already a push for more nuclear power. Shall we do it intelligently, or shall we Chernobylize the future?

And this applies to more than nuclear power; Gene Modification being done for commercial purposes is currently based on the same business plan that drives the oil industry: maximize profits and spend as little as possible of worst-case scenario remediation. The chickens will always come home to roost, and it is time we began planning things intelligently rather than "profit maximally".

Friday, July 02, 2010

The Fragile Seas

pix: John Mann