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Friday, December 31, 2010


 In The Christian Science Monitor:

Tucson, Ariz.
A controversial Arizona law targeting ethnic studies in public schools will take effect come midnight

Like the state’s tough immigration law – which a federal judge put mostly on hold last summer – the new measure that Gov. Jan Brewer signed in May has sparked protests and legal action, as well as concerns about the future of education.
The law bans classes that promote the overthrow of the United States government and resentment toward a race or class of people. Also outlawed are courses designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group and those that advocate ethnic solidarity rather than treat students as individuals.
This is a complex situation. I am interested in how often that the characteristics we celebrate in the peoples oppressed by our perceived enemies are condemned when they show up within our own populace. In  both cases, solidarity undermines... something. Politics can destroy good... as well as create it.

We Poles are still proud of Lech Walesa.


Year of Love

does the heart know its own color?
does it know it beats?
does the desert eagle know its young?
or offer its neck as their ransom?

does the lion know its mate?
or feel the fire of her faith?
does my smallness know its magnitude
in the eyes of my beloved?

painting: Ismail Fattah

The Prisons and Workhouses

Piranesi did a series of drawings entitled I Carceri, The Prisons.

"Our assumptions always become a prison to our possibilities..."

Our assumptions and our belief systems, as we foppishly call them. Belief systems, indeed!

The quote continues, "...,and the mid-nineteenth century's assumptions about the role of women in society turned the world of intelligent, thoughtful women everywhere into a grim, dank dungeon from which they yearned most desperately to escape."

Bram Djikstra, Idols of Perversity, Oxford University Press, 1986, New York.

How many people today are in prison? How many whose lives are lived in a grim, dank dungeon? How many desperately yearn to escape?
We are imprisoned just as the soul of Jacob Marley was, doomed to drag the chains of our assumptions, belief systems, and world views to our graves.
Contrary to the opinion of many people, we are not best served by striving to create coherent "belief systems", for any coherence we achieve is on the surface; we do not go deeply into the realms of the soul.

Faith is better.
Faith is tougher.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year

Have a Quaker New Year !
Just consider it.


Flash Mobs!!

I wuz in the middle of a flash mob! It was great! Unfortunately, they did not sing Christmas carols or other songs for the season. A young lady put down her bread - I was in a food mall at the time - and sang "I have a structured settlement, but I need cash now!" and the rest joined in sort of a La Bohème where the principals are just a bit discomfited  by the Great Impoverishment - or this Great Recession - and need a little green advanced, and without the unhappy end of La Bohème at all... everybody racing around spending money they don't have and it was just like the old days. God bless us everyone.

Jersey Shore

From his website:

Paul Bonelli was born and raised in northern New Jersey, and now resides in the state's shore region. He studied art at the College of William and Mary, Montclair State University, and most recently at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, where he earned an MFA in printmaking in 1995.

I included his woodcut for St. Laurence, martyr, who was burned to death under the Roman Empire. The Introit of the Mass for his feast day begins "O, holy, roasted..."
It gives one a feel of the artist.


The Gift of Nepotism

Humbled and exhausted, we try to form up our ranks after the Christmas season. People have actually gone to airports and gone somewhere on an airplane, not spending endless nights sleeping on cots in the airport. Hereabouts in Michigan yesterday was Airport Day, or, more realistically, Remember-To-Wear-Clean-Underwear-Day!!
Yes, we have come full circle from the days when our mothers told us to be righteous in our choice of briefs on the far off chance we may be in an automobile accident and be taken to the hospital and the ER personnel may have to remove our outer clothing to swab our wounds, discovering to their dismay - and it takes a lot to dismay urban ER personnel!- that we wore our underwear on bi-diurnal cycle: changing every other day.

Nowadays there is a very good chance that the TSA will touch and view your undergarments... while they are still on your person! Had our mothers only known what a baneful breed their monitory cautions would grow into one day.

60% of the flights leaving  DTW  were on time, 30% were late, and 10% were really, really late. I was not flying  myself, thank heavens ( May God turn away such plagues!), but the numbers game did not instill much enthusiasm. I had noticed that etymologically this was the very same "really, really" that George Bush had used to justify the Iraq War, saying Saddam Hussein was a "really, really" bad actor. I had a sense that someone was about to steal one trillion dollars from me, as well as wiretapping my phone and forcing me to wear clean underwear with a relentless intent.

As is the case in the popular  mind, what goes around, comes around. This is a philosophy which stands us well and is perennially verified by all of us, having been based on the Farmers' Almanac's observations of a whirly-gig or weather vane back in the day when maiden aunts still believed soon-to-be-General George McClellan to be quite a catch for their as yet unmarried wards.

As some airplanes took away, others landed and brought gifts. As I stood on the tarmac and noted these things in a desultory way - thinking that this may have been a cognitive state similar to that of St. Joseph who noted a lot of things in the first couple years of his marriage and kept them under his yarmulke - it dawned on me that this was the type of logic that gave rise to the Cargo Cults during World War II: on Polynesian islands certain inhabitants prayed for the airplanes to come back down from the heavens bearing gifts (war supplies, weapons, and Hershey's bars) and angels (US air men). They even used driftwood to build crude idols resembling the remnants of balsa-wood gliders I used to play with. I know this. I saw it all in the film Mondo Cane back in the 60's.

This airplane brought the gift of Nepotism; nepotism being derived from Latin nepos, meaning nephew... all three of them - Ayden, Austin, and Aloysius (pronounced a-LOY-shus for all you who are not Sons of Hibernia). Once again they had flown in on Lucky Airlines. All this lines' craft had a picture of a winking card sharp - one hand holding a royal flush, the other on a glitzy lady's anatomy - painted on the vertical stabilizer and rudder. I had to admire it all since they had just come out of bankruptcy, and I had expected that Lucky Airlines might have changed their logo to "The Busted Flush" or something along those lines, along with a suitable icon on the fuselage. But they had come out of bankruptcy better than ever, and were a real success story of the period of the "Financial Unpleasantness".
Ah, I thought: good things come in threes, shortly followed by three on a match is bad luck. This got me into the suitable mood of feckless befuddlement which people have come to expect of me and are mightily disappointed if, perchance, I show up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed: they say afterwards that there was something wrong with old Montag, didn't seem himself... wasn't properly spaced-out; displayed unsettling signs of being-with-it, and so on.

We embraced with avuncular joy - on my part - and nepotistical joy on theirs. (By the way, nepotistical is the only word that rhymes with nepotistical. It is unique that way. Look it up in a rhyming dictionary if you don't believe me; it is considered mono-rhythmistical, as they foppishly put it.)
We bundled into the venerable VW - which I now refer to as The Hindenburg, referencing the General, not the Dirigible - and prepared to run the gauntlet of the various devices in parking lots, airports, and toll roads which suck currency and specie from one's pockets.

They had been some time at their Aunt Sophronia's in England, and had welcomed me with a number of endearing sobriquets. In the space of five minutes, I was quickly and seriatim referred to as "old puddingstone", "old stub", "you-old-soak", and "great Booley"!

I did not recognize any of these, but I was not deceived, either. I knew my nephews, and if they were to refer to me as "The Boss", they would not mean it in the sense of  "patron" or "chief" or Springsteen; they would mean "boss" in the sense of a massive protuberance, such as are often on the intersecting wooden ribs of a church roof whereon medieval artisans sculpted grotesques and gargoyles.

We drove home to Linden Lea - as the goodwife calls it - to be met by an designedly artful display of joyful barking and slavish fawning put on by Cymbalta and Zoloft who well remembered Xmas three ships, three gifts, and three the kings... or three nephews bringing treats for the canine palate.

They will be here for a while. I shall issue an update.


Another FOX Attack on Christianity?

It seems that Tucker Carlson disagrees with forgiving Michael Vick for dog-fighting. It further seems Mr. Obama has expressed approval of Mr. Vick's rehabilitation and re-entry into pro football, but Mr. Carlson cannot.
“I’m Christian. I’ve made mistakes. I believe fervently in second chances. Michael Vick killed dogs in a heartless and cruel way. I think, firstly, he should have been executed for that. The idea the president of the United States would be getting behind someone who murdered dogs is beyond the pale.”
 I have to interpret this as meaning that Mr. Carlson identifies himself as a Christian, but he only talks the talk and does not come close to walking the walk. Either that or his idea of Jesus seems to be more like the sainted Bill O"Reilly.
My big question is whether this is yet another attack on Christianity by FOX, which has already launched its Mormon attack via Glenn Beck, who is well known for his attacks on Christian churches for their concerns for social welfare. The Christian denominations base their concerns on the fact that Jesus speaks of the blessedness of the poor in the Sermon on the Mount.
However, that sermon is not in the Book of Mormon, suggesting that Beck's criticism was not so much political as it is a religious attack.

Correction: The Book of Mormon does contain a form of the Sermon on the Mount in 3 Nephi. The basis for the attacks on religious concern for social welfare seems to be due to the misplaced zealotry of a new cathecumen, Mr. Beck, rather than some insidious plot by Joseph Smith.
I always had a soft spot in my heart for Joseph Smith, having lived near Mack Avenue in Detroit and points north and east, a road named after the merchant and politician Stephen Mack who was Smith's uncle, brother of Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of the latter-day prophet Joseph Smith.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What Have We Become?

East coast blizzard disrupts travel and shopping!?

I mean, lives are at stake during these weather events, and we think the news in in the shopping?
Personally, I do not wish to have any further analysis of how "these few days" make or break a retailer's profit for the year. I'm neither going to buy more nor less. I don't care about it. I care about whether the small businessmen and women make a living, but I do not wish to hear anymore of the incredible in-depth analysis of the Christmas sales season: crunch time... make or break for most retail... in the red until Xmas...

And why is there stock market crap on the cable 24/7? Does any one believe that that nonsense is for our benefit? I'd rather watch the poker tournaments. In fact, I am going to sit right back and watch a coupla of them 32 football bowl games that are on between now and January 2. That's right, 32.

Symbol & Sign 7: The Powers That Be

Roger Cohen

New York Times today on the Opinion Page:

The Captive Arab Mind
by Roger Cohen
... I know it appears that the United States was behind the invasion [of Iraq ]...  But consider the facts: The invasion of Iraq has weakened the United States, Iran’s old enemy, and so it can only be — quod erat demonstrandum — that Tehran was the devious mastermind.
This mocking “analysis” is often deployed deadpan by my colleague, Robert Worth, the New York Times correspondent in Beirut… he uses this “theory” to express his frustration with the epidemic of cui bono thinking in the region.
… What we are dealing with here is the paltry harvest of captive minds. Such minds resort to conspiracy theory because it is the ultimate refuge of the powerless. If you cannot change your own life, it must be that some greater force controls the world.
The last sentence is all that I am interested in anymore. The lead up to it and the opinion afterwards used to interest me, but not too much anymore. We know which way the winds blows now. But the jump of the powerless or befuddled into "a greater force" is fascinating.

Conspiracy Theory in this instance is analogous to Intelligent Design Theory: a conjuration of the super-brainy or the supernatural to render understandable the complexity we see about us.

A conspiracy theory is a mental construct; it is what I call a symbolic structure. According to the way we speak about the world and ambiguity and conspiracies, it is a normal thing to retreat into such fabrications. Indeed, our understanding of other religions, ancient or otherwise, is mostly a belief that the devotees could not possibly believe with the same intensity that we believe; when confronted with churning seas and blowing winds, they said "Here lay higher powers! We'll call them or it Poseidon or Neptune!"
Of course, we then say "Poseidon" is strictly symbolic in the weakest sense; i.e., he doesn't really exist; he's merely a "symbol"; he "stands for" churning seas and blowing winds and wives of sailors waiting on the shores. We forget that symbolic structures such as "anti-communism" were the political faith of a couple of generations of Americans; "symbolic" here in the strong sense, the symbols that may move mountains... or build nuclear arsenals that could have destroyed the world a number of times.

It is an acceptable practice to assign causality to Powers, and it is an acceptable practice for us to critique other peoples' assignments of such causalities. We are doing it all the time: creating symbolic structures, talking about them, and ordering our lives around them.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Symbol & Sign 6: The Wrath of Money

Money moves mountains.

From The New York Times Sunday Opinion Section December 26, 2010 in an article by Frank Rich Who Killed the Disneyland Dream? :

...In 2010, our system incentivizes high-stakes gambling - " this business of securitizing things that didn't even exist in the first place," as Calvin Trillin memorably wrote last year - rather than the rebooting and rebuilding of America.

Derivative instruments do not have the solidity of an ingot of gold dropped on your foot, yet they will make you wince just as hard, weep tears just as real.

We have a naive understanding of the world, separating things into "hard facts" and "dreamy rationalizations". The things to which we cannot point, things that cannot block the sun, things that have no mass may yet do us irreparable harm.. or benefit. We must understand the worlds of which we assist in the creation; we can no longer take everything for granted.


Word is that the real test comes on the 2012 budget, not the upcoming spending legislation. They're already putting it off. They will never do anything that will benefit the country until enough people are suffering due to circumstances that will be beyond anyone's control.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

China Deals With Important Stuff

China bars English words in all publications

by Staff Writers Beijing (AFP) Dec 22, 2010  
Chinese newspapers, books and websites will no longer be allowed to use English words and phrases, the country's publishing body has announced, saying the "purity" of the Chinese language is in peril.

These efforts can end up a lot of different ways, ranging from literary revivals to absolutely horrendous ethnic cleansing and removal of not just foreign influence, but foreign entities themselves - and if they do not wish to go, they will be rendered no longer.... visible or viable.

I would not wish to be a Uighur Muslim in Hsiankiang for the next few years... especially if I also spoke English!
To be pure is not to be perfect.


Symbol & Sign 5: Role Models and Expectations

When I first saw my daughter standing next to her present husband, it was almost 20 years ago and they were going to his senior prom. I had a very strong sense of something in the future. I did not sense anything like they would end up being married; what I felt was there was more of this story to come.
So as time went on, they went their separate ways with rare contacts. They communicated more by means of Facebook in 2007, and by Christmas 2008 they were engaged.
When I was told, I said "It's about time!"
I meant that it was about time to get a helpmate in the times we were in, and I meant it was time to put a check mark next to the continuation of the story that had been sensed almost 20 years ago.

So engagement, wedding, first year. There have been some rough patches. I wondered if they could hold on like only 50% of people do, the ones that make it work. Being incredibly self-centered, I also wondered if my presentiment was merely a fluke or a wishful thought, based on nothing, and would everything come to naught.
They have driven through the rough patches so far, and as we know, that's all for the good, because they are certainly even more rough patches to come in life: one heck of a lot more.

But getting back to my premonition of their being together, it is hard for people to live up to someone else's expectations, no matter what those expectations are based on, whether it's wishful thinking or a bolt from the blue. People are not story books, and they cannot live up to the scripts of fancy we have in our minds.
Look at President Obama! Lord, in our utter sense of disorientation we made the man into almost a saviour! No wonder people felt that he let them down! Who could have possibly lived up to our expectations and what we so fervently wished for?

Look at role models in sports or entertainment: they are thrust into our consciousness all the time, but they find it impossible to maintain a level of conduct appropriate for a role model. In the old days, there was not nearly so much real-time news, paparazzi, and videos being shot - not to mention cameras on telephones that snap your picture while you are taking a hit off a bong!
In the old days, there was just the sports reporters and there was a gentlemen's agreement about what not to cover.
Then there's Tiger Woods. It took a conspiracy to keep philandering of that magnitude under wraps. But symbols - role models - are felt to be important, especially in the business of lucrative endorsements for sports products.

In short, sometimes it takes a whole village..........

It takes a joint effort to cover up the sins and to let the guilty go free...

And it takes a community effort to make things better and as they should be. And looking from this point of view, if we continue to fail, the sins of the fathers will indeed be visited upon their children!

(We already know this when we casually speak of how we are mortgaging our children's and their children's futures: we are saying that our sins will be passed onto our progeny and instead of being mortified, we just shake our heads and wonder what to do!)



James Barker and Curt Lake were working on the Wikipedia article on Megalithic cultures. They were organizing the picture gallery which was a random assemblage of dolmens worldwide. In doing so, they schematized the typical dating of the occurrences of megalithic activity throughout the world - from 8000 years ago at Stonehenge to basically present day in Indonesia and the islands of the Pacific. This lead them to uncover a series of recurring radiations of megalithic influence and to postulate the original area in which the culture arose.

As far as I know, this is the first Wikidiscovery based on WikiReasearch and WikiFunding.

Internet Changes The Brain

Someone mentioned this during Xmas. I was about to disagree, but then my wife kicked me under the table, signifying a "shut up" was in order, so I shut up, smiled and said what a quaint notion that was and how it would probably enrich our lives. I suppose this is why people are never quite sure what I am saying, this business of being a kvetcher who has the added burden of a travelling editorial staff that expends every effort to minimize the tsouris I am so easily able to spread around. I am no longer a free spirited curmudgeon, but rather an endlessly agreeable sycophant who says "Ouch!" a good many times at dinners. (My friends express surprise that I have any shins left at all, expecting me to have by now had a full "shin-ectomy" just like Cotton Hill, Hank Hill's old man.)

Anywho.... each and every life history is unique. We get to see only a few: our friends and lovers, associates, and peeps in the News.

If we learn how important each and every life is and manage to lose the old Vulcan utilitarianism that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few, and thereby come up with a new insight and new synthesis of political, moral, and spiritual community.... well, I'd trade that in a New York second in place of a newly re-wired brain!

One Constant Thing at Christmas

The love of God is the only thing that endures through my personal symbolic history. Everything else falls away: charity, belief, the whole process of salvation as described by theologians... everything vanishes except the silent and simple mutual love of God and his creation.
In the silence and the simplicity, the complexity of symbols I use to think with disappears like the morning fogs that fill the valleys in the hilly landscape, and the clouds and mist seem to me to come from mysterious cenotes beneath the valleys whose humid vapors give rise to the fog and they huddle in what's left of the cold and shade as the sun rises in the east. But it is illusory; the fog transforms to vapor, becomes rarified, and swims on the stream of the bright sunshine.
The silence is blessed. We have lost it in our lives for the most part. When I rise and put my hands to the day's work of building, I pick up one end of a roof beam, and God picks up the other end. My wife brings us food and drink she has prepared with Mariam, the mother. At the end of day, we find our way home by the light of our philosophy: a single flame burning in the lantern... a single flame, not a conflagration.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Somebody wrote that the START treaty is largely symbolic, meaning it doesn't really have that much "practical" effect. I always disagree when people talk that way. Symbolic means the sum of the hopes and fears of "all the years" for me: from the time when human life began until the present. I don't understand why people want to denigrate symbols which are the creation and refinement of thousands of years of intelligent tinkering.

Like I said earlier, people felt like they had to create the word "meme" because we had gelded the word "symbol". Intelligence is a community of communication. Symbolic is what we do. There is no wall between "real" and "symbolic": by real we usually mean brute matter and by symbolic we mean the creations of intelligence... and the creations of intelligence are always more beautiful and more appalling than mere brute matter.
So don't belittle nothing. Every step in the right direction is worth more than a million years wandering in the slough of despond.

The Case for Space

 Israel Wall with Tower

I'm in favor of Space exploration and terra-forming others worlds into habitable environments.

In this age of repression and wars, there is always the need of new worlds for people to escape.
The USA has an immigration problem, Europe wants to remain Christian - even though they only pay lip service to the teaching and loved the cheap foreign laborers and the imperialistic colonies that are the source of much of their immigration - and Israel desperately wants to stem the influx of Africans since each non-Jewish resident threatens the Jewish nature of the State.

We need more escape room. We needed it in the past, we need it now and we shall continue to need Sanctuary in the future.


Symbol & Sign 4: Christ Child

This is the time of year Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. The Christ child is symbolic of innocence and universal love of parents for their children and for all the small creatures of the earth.

My previous post on Santa Claus may strike people as a bit odd, for I call for the continuation perhaps of the symbolism that has become the mainstay of commercialism of Christmas. Let me explain.

The symbol of Christmas: the coming of God and the intense love for all mankind is a symbol so potent that the powers of the earth feel compelled to contain it and restrict it as it undermines their power to control the minds and souls of the peoples of the earth.

Therefore, the spiritual importance was diverted into commercialism and consumerism where the intense desire to Gift and Share is directed to a mad scramble for material goods which does not give us the same universal benefits that a pure religious love would.

Then, having done this and directed attention away from the Holy and over to Santa Claus, there has cleverly been installed in Santa Claus a self-destruct device that goes off when children reach the age of 11 or so, when they discover the charade; better be seen as liars than allow the symbolic virus of Santa to keep accruing power to itself.

Neither symbol of Christmas is allowed to "get off the leash".

The most clear example and proof is the first Christmas in World War I, that of December 1914, when the soldiers of the combating nations facing each other across no-man's land in the trenches took the time of the Christmas armistice to fraternize with the enemy: German and French soldiers who as recently as the fourth week of Advent were shooting at each other now were playing soccer together in the light of make-shift Christmas trees and decorations.

The Powers that be put their feet down immediately. There would be no more fraternizing: just killing.

Our symbolic structures can free us if we let them. They may also be infected with a gene of fear to imprison us and a molecule of hate to destroy us. It is totally in our hands and no one else's. As intelligent beings we can create or make uncreate visions and dreams that pull along the matter of the world by the sheer mass of their symbolic gravity.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pine Sanctuary

The road leading to the shores of Lake Chad 4,000 years ago when the Thief of Water was written.

Science of the Past

In particular, architecture and construction and the physics involved:  a field of dolmens.
Not near Stonehenge, but in Damiya, Jordan, and is about 3000 to 3600 years old. The megalithic culture dates to 3000 to 8000 years ago, so it is a culture that is geographically widespread and it the immediate pre-cursor to our own times and culture: starry skies and astronomy, the building of massive observatories, sighting structures and cultural centers, soon to be followed by orreries - like the Antikythera device - and the Iliad which mentions robotic maidens and self-propelled tripods!

Christmas Cards

I did my own cards again this year. This year they were more intricate. I read a short article on folding a piece of paper into 8 sections, then folding lengthwise and making a central cut across the lengthwise fold which did not extend to the edges of the paper and seeing the results.
Well, it eventuated in 2 different types of cards, one a skyline of a Middle Eastern city and the other a folio of Xmas pictures bound with silver cord: both primitive but not unappealing. I'll see if I can supply a picture after the recipients sign a release.

Climate Change, Czars, and Cincinnatus

It is snowing again in Europe and the lack of sufficient glycol for de-icing has planes waiting and passngers sleeping on camp beds at Charless De Gaulle airport. In all this hubbub about the weather, we notice some weather chatter from Meteo France:

A quelle période de l'année neige-t-il généralement ?
Jérôme : Sur les massifs montagneux, il peut commencer à neiger fin août-début septembre au dessus de 2000 m. En plaine, on rencontre fréquemment des épisodes de neige dès le mois de novembre et parfois jusqu'au mois de mai. Depuis une cinquantaine d'années environ, on constate cependant que ces épisodes sont plus tardifs dans la saison.


When is the snowy time of year?
In the mountains, it may begin to snow at the end of August, beginning of September below 2000 meters....  Frequently there are periods of snow in November and even as late as May.  For the last 50 years, it has been noticed that the periods of snow are later and later in the season.
I remember reading things like this 30 years ago when I first started paying attention to the climate, and I would follow up on finding out the data that lay behind such remarks. As I write, there is flooding in Venice due to unusually high water. Yet the topic has become a political issue now.
I guess that was to be expected; our lives and well- being are indeed political issues.

Add to this the following from Science Daily:
An expanding zone of low oxygen, known as a hypoxic zone, in the Atlantic Ocean is encroaching upon these species' preferred oxygen-abundant habitat, forcing them into shallower waters where they are more likely to be caught...
While these hypoxic zones occur naturally in many areas of the world's tropical and equatorial oceans, scientists are concerned because these zones are expanding and occurring closer to the sea surface, and are expected to continue to grow as sea temperatures rise.
 We do not need a Climate Czar, but we do need a Climate Cincinnatus!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Symbol & Sign 3: Miracles

The Age of Miracles is the history of mankind. In the present day, we either ignore the miraculous and assume there is a natural explanation for the phenomenon, or we accept the reports of miracles but limit the miraculous to our own modern understanding of the Holy: all events that strain the laws of science are due to our own views of God and the world.

When I was young, the miracles at Lourdes were pushed to the forefront as proofs of the miraculous. Being such proofs, they were constrained even further to proofs of God's existence; who else works miracles if not God? The symbol of the Miraculous Cure which is intensely observed and scrutinized by medical science: a disease for which there is no known cure and the prognosis gives a very short time left to live, yet which is inexplicably cured upon pilgrimage to Lourdes was a potent Symbolic Structure in my youth. It probably still is. 
The signs of cures remain at Lourdes: crutches and wheelchairs rendered superfluous by the miraculous cure of their owners. I saw many such signs at Chimayo, where within the side chapel of Mary - the chapel wherein there is a hole in the floor and the sandy soil is exposed - there are many darkened and roughly made canes and crutches.

Yet these miracles only continue a tradition of the miraculous.
At the temple of Aesclapius - the ancient Greek god of medicinal arts - in Epidaurus, there are inscriptions which much like billboards attest to the cures done by Aesclapius and his priesthood and to miracles.
One goes:
A small speechless child came to the sanctuary to beseech the god to give him a voice. After performing all the preliminary sacrifices and rites, the Pyrphoros, the servant of the temple, turned to the father of the child and asked him, 'Do you promise to pay the medical fees within one year if your child is cured?' 'I promise,' replied the child suddenly.
There were cures done by the medical science of the time and there were also miraculous and sudden returns to health that were beyond the science of Hippocrates. We are not very aware of the miraculous in other times and other cultures. When we hear about such things, we tend to ascribe it to the primitive and credulous nature of the people involved. The antiquity of miracles has been ignored mainly due to intolerant zealotry exhibited by the early Christians once they gathered some portion of political power.
In the middle of the Tiber in Rome, there is an island upon which an ancient spital of Aesclapius stood (spital is one of the roots of hospital = house+spital). It was a favorite spot for slave owners to banish their incurably ill slaves to, prompting the Emperor Claudius to promulgate a law stating that any slaves thus treated, if they recovered from their illness, would be set free immediately, and their previous owners would have no claim whatever upon them. Time and war and the zealotry of religious fundamentalism have left almost nothing standing of it, for it had remained above ground and was subject to the depredations of the Romans. One inscription here reads:
To Julian who was spitting up blood and had been despaired of by everyone, the god advised that he should go and take the seeds of a pine cone from the threefold altar and he should eat them together with some honey for three days. And he was saved...
The history of miracles runs parallel to and is of equal length to the recorded history of mankind; as much as we can tell of the lives of intelligent beings on earth, they have experienced the miraculous.
Yet instead of taking the miraculous as a Symbol of the presence of the Holy and its power to make nonsense of whatever our science and knowledge is, we ignore it or we turn it into a tool of division - our religion is the true religion, for our god works miracles for us alone, or turn it into some holy circus where we ooh and aah.

The Universe is a place of Laws and Breaking of Laws. The lawful regularity fills us with wonder at the complexity of it all, while the miraculous breaking of the laws takes our breath away.
The world is filled with miracles.
And they are miracles because they go beyond our understanding.
But the entire point of miracles in the Christian Gospels at least is the simple statement of fact that our understanding is insufficient: even among the direct observers of a miracle there would be a significant percentage that would yet refuse to believe! Our understanding of miracles is the understanding of children, and at some point we must give up the "toys" of childhood and accept that God is in the world - not out of it and merely popping in every now and then to work a miracle!

When the Holy is remote and outside the world, we have taken the Symbol of the Holy and debased it. Miracles are not signs and omens to be argued over: they are the wind of Life upon which we are the gliders! I remembered vividly how I used to pray, and it was very much like setting out cookies for Santa Claus: a bribe for an intercession and a gift of forgiveness. We really do not have to remind God. Let the World return to its miraculous state! And those who debase it and sully it should be shamed, not rewarded  by wealth, office, and power!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

START Treaty

Apparently will pass... the Republican leader of the Senate can't vote for it, but they made sure there were enough other Republicans to pass it. The GOP leaders can't be seen to be in agreement with anything from the White House. It was a quid for the pro quo of the tax deal. It was political theater.

We may rest assured that we still have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world many times over. The strategy of destruction is called MAD, mutually assured destruction, and we have to keep an eye on each other and also not let anyone else into the game.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ron Paul

As much as I like Ron Paul, I do not like his monetary paleo-policy and I am astounded that the Know-Nothings of the next Congress have placed him in charge of the Federal Reserve Bank. Hey! Everyone in Congress except Ron Paul: just because you do not have an economic clue, so what? Neither do economists! They just don't admit it while they bray their futile beliefs at the tops of their voices.

Republicans, let's be clear: screw this up and it's curtains for everyone.


Avarus Avidior

 Old Scrooge had felt the dyspepsia pass away and felt that he could sleep finally. Christmas and all its changes had passed. He heard a noise coming closer and closer, and at last he was shocked to see the shade of his old associate Jacob Marley enter the room, chained with ghostly yet seemingly substantial pork barrels which shooshed along the floor boards as he approached, his mien grey and ashen.
"Not you again, Jacob?" Scrooge said.
"Scrooge, why are you sitting here?" the shadow asked.
Scrooge smiled. "I was contemplating what I would do for the betterment of humanity in the New Year. I thought I'd start locally, on a small scale..."
Here Marley wailed and cut Scrooge short.
"The spirits of Christmas have changed, Scrooge. Mankind no longer is your business. You are to run for Parliament on the platform of re-invigorating the Poor Laws and to re-establish the Work House and Treadmill!"

So Scrooge did a 360 turn and politicked in the New Year as the inconstant ghosts of Christmas counseled him to. Even metaphysical laws and events seemed to be, at best, a divine "guesstimate" and one had to be ready to change with change, he thought, for "...the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night..." and he could but do his best.

The covey of ladies huddled in front of the poulterer's shop to escape the wind. Their sharp eyes spotted Bob Cratchit, and their tongues snared his attention.
"Is it true, then?" said one.
Bob slowed a bit, then stopped, turning his head. "Is what true, madam?"
They looked from one to the other, then the speaker said, "Is it true that Mr. Scrooge will soon be leaving us to spread his philosophy in the seats of power."
"If by that do you mean to ask whether Mr. Scrooge will be representing this riding in Parliament, the answer is yes."  said Cratchit... and God help us, he thought. For the old Scrooge had come back as fate would have it. God help us, everyone!

title:  the miser yet more grasping


10% of the money and aid pledged by countries around the world has been delivered to Haiti.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Юлия Латынина, журналист

Julia Latinyna, Jourmalist, writes in A Step At A Time:
Latynina on Assange's aim:  December 15, 2010 “Assange’s aim is not the maximum dissemination of information – what we have at present, that is. Assange’s aim is to bring the state system into a state of paranoia, so that it stops distributing information within itself and adopts a strict information diet, is unable to make the right decisions. Likewise, what will happen in the world after what Assange has done is highly dependent on the U.S., because the situation is reminiscent of what happened after the bombings of September 11. The problem was not so much the damage Bin Laden directly caused to the economy and human lives on September 11, but the fact that the state, being forced to react to the damage, sharply restricted the freedom of citizens and their rights, and the simple physical convenience of movement.”
Originally from Echo Moscow.

Agree or disagree, it is so refreshing to get an opinion that has not been hatched in the incestuous chicken coop of the Big Media.
There is more here on some disturbing facts about WikiLeaks and their employment of a Holocaust-denier, but read it yourself; just follow the threads at A Step At A Time.

New Ghost Dance

From Wikipedia article on Ghost Dance:
(By the way, I contributed to the fund raiser at Wikipedia. Please support independent entities.)

Jack Wilson, the prophet formerly known as Wovoka, was believed to have a vision during a solar eclipse  on January 1, 1889...

Anthropologist James Mooney conducted an interview with Wilson in 1892... Wilson said he stood before God in heaven and had seen many of his ancestors engaged in their favorite pastimes. God showed Wilson a beautiful land filled with wild game and instructed him to return home to tell his people that they must love each other, not fight, and live in peace with the whites...  God said that if his people abided by these rules, they would be united with their friends and family in the other world.
In God's presence, there would be no sickness, disease, or old age. Wilson was given the Ghost Dance and commanded to take it back to his people. He preached that if the five-day dance was performed in the proper intervals, the performers would secure their happiness and hasten the reunion of the living and deceased...

While most followers of the Ghost Dance understood Wovoka's role as being that of a teacher of pacifism and peace, others did not.
... Scholars believe that in 1890 chief Kicking Bear introduced the concept to his people, the Lakota Sioux.
The Lakota interpretation drew from their traditional idea of a "renewed Earth" in which "all evil is washed away". This Lakota interpretation included the removal of all Anglo-Americans from their lands. In contrast, Wilson's version encouraged harmonious co-existence with European Americans.
 As we approach 2011, we will need a new version of The Ghost Dance. We are going to be cut down, just like the Sioux. When the fanatics in Congress attempt to balance budgets, they will attack the poorest and sickest and most defenseless first. Then they will come after those who are not Corporate entities and Large enough to withstand their onslaught.
The white men wish to destroy us, because we use up their precious resources.
They will preach austerity while denying themselves nothing.
There is no science of Economics. It is guess work. Their guesses will be proofed upon our bones!

ps. This does not even take into consideration the white terrorists - usually labeled "deranged loners" by the conservative right wing - who will shoot us!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Dead

James Joyce's story.

We all stand like Michael Furey, referenced in Joce's story - an invisibile presence yet in some ways more powerful than the Living - and strain to glimpse the beauty of a future now denied us.

The Republicans 0n the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission wish to write history, but have only gotten around to banning words we all use to describe Banks. Since Banks are things Republicans like more than mankind, they must clean up the langauge people use to talk about banks:

From Economist's View

During a private commission meeting last week, all four Republicans voted in favor of banning the phrases “Wall Street” and “shadow banking” and the words “interconnection” and “deregulation” from the panel’s final report, according to a person familiar with the matter and confirmed by Brooksley E. Born, one of the six commissioners who voted against the proposal.
“I think a number of us had really pulled for” bipartisan consensus, said Born... “But this action by the Republicans indicates they have decided to go their own way.”…
...That they would vote to not even use the words says all you need to know.


Symbol & Sign 2: Santa Claus

The entire phenomenon of Christmas is a good instruction manual in our modern incompetence for understanding symbols. What came first, the gifts or the Holiday (holy day)?

That is a harder question to answer than may appear, and it probably turns into an endless circle, and our search for an answer is like a dog chasing its own tail.
However, gift-giving is a basic human act. It is a basic act of primates. It is a basic behavior of many life forms. When we talk about Gifting in this way, think of it as something like the acts of Filling and Emptying. We celebrate - and have celebrated for thousands of years - harvests by great feasts where we FILL ourselves with food and drink and thank God for the increase.
Similarly, we have performed rituals of fasting and denial where we Empty ourselves of food and drink and often other types of things, like giving up candy for Lent, or observing Ramadan.

This is as far as we go with this matter right now in this writing. Merely keep in mind that there is more to Gifting than meets the eye. Gifting is a complex behavior, and the times of gift exchanging vary: in what was the Western Roman Empire the time became Christmas in December, while in the Eastern Byzantine and Greek portion it became St. Basil's Day in January. The gifting remains constant even though the trappings and surrounding of the exchange vary.
The season itself and its history will color the festival of gifting. The Norse god Odin, who was usually depicted with a full white beard, had a festival at Midwinter, a season called Jol or Yule, and he was referred to as Jolnir, a Yule person. Midwinter was on or about the winter solstice at December 20-21, not in the "middle" of winter, the word mid here being used to mean "at", so the calendar was "at [the start of] winter" on the solstice. ("Mid" has more than the meaning of "middle"; the "mid" in "midwife" means "with").
We have ancient feasts and ancient ideas and concepts; myths, poetries, and stories; images and imaginations and songs; and they all conspire - the ancient fellows of our fraternity of Mankind - to recall, experience, renew, and create anew the experience of the Yuletide.
There is Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, and St. Nicholas who all have changed through time and report. Dicken's A Christmas Carol has had a profound effect, as well as the illustrations of Thomas Nast. The American Retail Goods industry started on the bandwagon in the 19th century and transformed the image as well as the nature of the holiday.

There is a long and complex history.

Recently I was at a site where the morality of the story of Santa was debated: should parents tell the lie that Santa exists to their very young children since those children will eventually discover the falsehood?

I do not think the tedious discussions need repetition.

When children reach the age of the end of the willing suspension of disbelief, why not discover to them that Santa Claus is a dynamic and complex symbolic structure that sums up and extends the History of All Men and Women of Goodwill?
It is merely a myth... but a myth of immense proportions! It is a living and breathing symbolic creation. We have degraded it into commercialism, true, but we have also sung carols and spoken of the unstinting love of this descendant of St. Nicholas for good children. It is not a lie, rather it is an expression and summation of  our secular desires for peace and harmony.
Touch on the nature of Gifting as simply as saying it is a sign of love: our love for each other and God's love for us, freely given without expectation of return; freely and selflessly as Saint Nick gives his presents to all the world's children.

For heaven's sake, do not destroy Santa! Extend him to encompass the virtues of the season! Let him take under his tabard that godly charity we already express by "Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Men!" Say that in this Christmas myth, we speak of peace, love, and selfless gifting... do likewise, young people!

The fault is not in a lie: the fault is in being ashamed of a great and powerful symbol of joy which we cannot understand because we have lost the ability to express ourselves.

The religious nature of the Christmas Holiday is not addressed in this essay, so be not surprised at my omission of the Christkindl or Christ child.


I think it would be wise to read up on the Real Estate market in China. Look particularly at domiciles bought as investments due to lack of other investment opportunities. Spend 10 hours on it and do not listen to people with an agenda.
If there is a Chinese bubble... if... if... well, all bubbles follow certain patterns and have certain effects on bystanders.


If Old People ran the Internet:

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Brilliance of the Hawaii Surfer Dude, Obama

 In control? Or not?

I woke up at 2:57 AM with the notion that the Obama Hawaii surfer dude was absolutely brilliant. It seems that the president is back in the good graces of my unconscious mind and the dream-state mind. It does not surprise me at all any more. The sleep parts of my personality have always been more brilliant; while I am desultory, they are agile, lithe, and rapid; while I am feckless, they are competent and effective. It's a tough world and to get by, I have to struggle and play the role like Willie Best, while the parts of my intelligence which do not usually see the light of day are like Paul Robeson and Langston Hughes and W.E.B. DuBois

The brilliance part - of Obama, not my sleeping intelligences - comes in the fact that he is setting up the Republicans for a monstrous fall. By increasing the deficit by almost a trillion in the lame duck session, the voters will be catered to and yet these same voters will ask over Xmas recess about how's that budget balancing thing comin'? Hmm? Hmm?
So the new Congress comes back with sharpened blades to pare the budget... and people will howl! The austerity budgets will not be enjoyed by Americans any more than do the Greeks and Irish enjoy their own.
And Obama can argue against each and every budget cutting measure. He may veto those which benefit him the most politically.

It will be like shooting fish in a barrel.
Even though such measures are required, everybody will hate them. It will take years and years for any good effects to show up. What politican who takes away your pork will last that long? We are not an altruistic nation when it comes to getting back the money taken away from us in taxes.
We are going to say that we bailed out and enriched the people that almost destroyed the financial system (here we assume the financial system has not been destroyed - it may be a long-term phenomenon that takes a long time to actually play out and the financial system may have already been in chemo and found it doesn't work!).
For this we received stagnant wages and 10% systematic unemployment.

I think there are going to be a number of Nights of the Long Knives in the Republican future.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stray Dog

I am watching Kurosawa's Stray Dog made in 1949.

Russian Art: Bilibin

I have always loved Ivan Bilibin. These are pictures from a story I forget... the name is something, something, of Tsar Sultan. I could look it up but it is too cold to find my copies of Bilibin: I keep them in my own private Irkutsk.

Symbol & Sign

In the modern day, we usually push Symbols into a subset of Signs that intelligent beings use to communicate. I do not like the way we do this, because I think we lose sight of the most important part of communication; i.e., that it is a dynamic process, not a static entity, and the understanding we glean from communication is something new in history, not a revealing of something old that was hidden.

I have a very strong suspicion of this in the phenomenon of the Meme which was so popular, and still may be widespread, not too long ago.
Succintly stated, the Meme was a concept felt to be necessary to sum up the dynamics of things that went "viral", things that obviously were spreading among people and affecting them and changing right before our eyes; the old ways of looking at signs and symbols was not adequate, because it had lost all notion of liveliness, it was no mensch, had no chutzpah, language and intelligence having been spread out on the medical examiner's table and autopsied until there was nothing of the spark of life left.

The basis of the discipline of Semiotics was linguistics and language, and the science has never escaped its origins in discrete words and phonemes. It is a science that has a extensive basis of understandoing of linguistics, but has no way to understand the vitality of creation, either linguistically or in any other area that intelligent beings create in.

A Symbol is not language alone. It is not solely linguistic.
A film is a symbol. A video is a symbol.

We shall create the science of symbols on our understanding not merely of language, but on every other conscious form of communication, so we may well include the Imaging of intelligent beings, and the cinema is a form of communication based on the grammar of Imaging, not Talking!

Furthermore, a symbol is not a static sign: it is a living creation that builds itself upon other symbols.
If I read Plato's Ion and make discoveries about art and its communication to an audience, I am not elucidating the meaning of Plato necessarily. What I am doing is creating a new entity - the philosophy of Plato through time and including my exposure to it - which is a new entity, not merely the unfolding of the old master genius.
It is a Dynamic Symbolic Process that builds upon previous dynamic symbolic processes. It is a "throwing with" - a joint effort of intelligence - sym meaning "together" (although in the Plato example one may be the superior party) - of inter-communication. And it does not stay just here; it "throws" beyond - bolos. And it creates something new, not a modification of something old.
As long as we continue to think in the old way that our efforts but modify something pre-existing, we shall never be able to understand the incredible strength of symbolic processes... or myths, too, if you will.

When pagans worshipped local nature gods, what did they worship? Did they worship a mountain? The fields? The agricultural genius of the fields? They worshipped their own interplay with the environment, combined with the "old stories" and the histories of the entire agricultural experience of their people and other peoples with whom they had contact. They worshipped the plenty of the harvest in its abundance, and they wished to avert the emptiness of the drought and famine!
They developed dyspepsia in the bacchanalia of the good years, and buried the young and old in the terror of the bad.
They watched the cycle of renewal every year. They became experts of the secret lives of plants. They developed sciences of trees and bushes and wheats and grasses...
Yet we tend to think of them as ritually-bound peoples of little wit.
The Symbol of the Nature God could kill them or support them and they knew it.

In our time, we do not understand Symbols. We think them dead, even though in 2008 the Symbolic Structure of Value and Money, the entire system of financial communication almost destroyed us back to the stone age. We need not fear any force of nature as much as we need fear our own creations! Earthquakes and tsunamis merely kill; our own symbolic creations will enslave and debase, then kill, if we let them run rogue. If we use them wisely, they will liberate and enrich us.

The picture at top is an Arapohoe Ghost Dance shirt. It has meaning that cannot be captured in language alone. It belonged to a dynamic and living symbolic structure that went extinct... until you read about it.


more to come on this. I have spent years searching for an understanding of how we create the world.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A State of Undeclared War

I woke up this morning with the idea that being in the position that the USA is in militarily - ostensibly being the most powerful military on the face of the earth - means that one never has to worry about losing a war anymore.
Of course, this does not guarantee one will win such a war, as history as pointed out to us with our ongoing commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nobody in their right mind thinks that we'll be out of either place anytime soon, certainly not 2014 for Afghanistan - although a force majeure may force us to leave... another economic crisis.
We were actually quite lucky that we were not bogged down forever in Vietnam. We could still be there if our leaders had their way, still fighting a losing war, still creating dysfunctional relations within a region of the world (by the way, a European report just came out that the USA backed and just elected Kosovo Prime Minister was the head of a Kosovo mafia-like gang.)

By Congress never declaring war anymore, it is off the hook, so to speak. It has been off the hook for a lot of things. These long term commitments have not been entered into with the approval of myself nor my elected representative. In school we learned this is a representative democracy, not a direct democracy. Now it seems no longer to be a representative democracy. And no one wins anymore, although there are plenty of losers. Undeclared war serves a different sociological function than declared wars did.
I have to work on how I feel about the loss of representative democracy for a while; I am bemused by it all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Day After Tomorrow

The Canadian Highway #402 is the road we take to Toronto, and it is the road where 300 people have been stranded by the snow coming in off Lake Huron. I mentioned the weather patterns here before: how the weather for the most part comes from the west and heads easterly, but you may approach Port Huron, Michigan and see banks of clouds like mountains stretching from as far north as can be seen to the limits of the south... and flowing north to south over Lambton County, Ontario.

I remember telling my friend Ruth that one of her pictures of clouds reminded me of the "mountains" I used to gaze at just 20 to 40 miles away behind Sarnia, Ontario. The land here is so flat that it is easy to get into the frame of mind that those great grey and white masses you are driving towards are some mythical oreology that is a promised Shangri-La. Clouds are like that.

The Canadian army has been drafted to assist the rescue efforts. These choppers are on the same stretch  near Arkona and Wyoming I was traveling on Thanksgiving

Pictures on the evening news of a long line of cars and trucks dressed in silent white; it looks a lot like the film "The Day After Tomorrow". Add a couple of cruise ships shaken up in the Mediterranean and Argentina and we are getting a foretaste of how strange the weather will be when climate change kicks in.
We all shall need a good winter survival kit in the automobiles of our future.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Fuseli's Nightmares: 2

We thought mankind was Legend. We did not realize how frail they were.

Trash Day

Where did I throw my anti-gravity running shoes??

Late to Meditate


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Terror Groups That Didn't Make It

There was

Al Qa'da

(pronounce the "   '   " sort of like the "r"at the end of "butter" and let it slide.)

But for an "i" you would have had Al Qa'ida. However, al qa'da means the part of the body that does the sitting function., sometimes functioning for "maq'ada", which is "sitter, posterior".  That would have been one heck of a terror group had it continued on.


The Shining of Washington D.C.

Congratulations, Mr. Torrance. The Management applauds your... "deal" on tax cuts and benefits to add $800 billions dollars to the deficit. They particularly like reducing the payments into the Social Security fund after having listened to 40 years of preaching about how Social Security is "underfunded".

... no one has complained have they, sir? No rioting in the streets like they do in Europe? Americans know how to behave, and you may take care of them in 2011, have no mistake. You will be able to... "correct" them properly, sir.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Weird as it Seems...

I took the picture for the preceding post (which in blog-world is the post immediately beneath this) from a 2009 post of a blog "Ned Hayes / Notes". Recently he had a post on Michael Dorris, author of The Broken Cord which describes his life raising his adopted son who was diagnosed as having fetal alcohol syndrome.

Fetal alcohol effect is a much subtler and more insidious after-effect of alcoholism, which often manifests itself in a child's adolescent and adult behavior. In these lives, alcohol becomes a chemical with a savagely toxic half-life. Sava and Madeline share a history of instability, of pervasive lies, of violence, of suicide attempts, of aggressive behavior, of inappropriate sexual contact.

Beyond the obvious parallels of "cord" and connections and umbilicals and children and the neck as a cord capable of being pulled or cut, there was

In 1992, Dorris summed up the experience of many fetal-alcohol affected families by noting that over the past four years his family "hadn't had a single period longer than three consecutive days in all that time when one of our alcohol-impaired children was not in a crisis
which is what I feel like so much now. At the beginning of December, there was a short period - I'd say December 3 through December 5 midnight - when I actually said to myself I was free of too many troubles with family and friends. But this week shot it all again. And I seriously wonder that if fetal alcohol children have such problems, what is the reason for the rest of us, and why is life more toxic? Is it just me and I'm going through a period? I don't know.


The Electronic Neck

I had mentioned recently that Nero was heard to utter "Utinam populus Romanus unam cervicem haberet!"  (I wish the Romam people had but one neck!)  the point being that thus he could behead the Roman crowd with one sword stroke.

Well, it wasn't Nero; it was Caligula. Nero only killed his family and Christians, whereas the murderous impulse of Caligula was more global.

The main point, however, was that present day elites actively are in pursuit of a goal  "...ut totius populus mundi unam cervicem electronicam haberet!", or that the entire world have only one electronic neck for essentially the same goal as Caligula. 
When all the old-fashioned books have gone, and all the newspapers are dead, and free analog TV a thing of the past, the electronic media of cable and internet will  be our only source of information and entertainment. And just us businesses and governments now seek to control our thoughts, impulses, and habits now while there is a modicum of freedom, how much more totalitarian will it be when  all they have to do is pull the plug... or cut that cord-like umbilicus.

Here is our electronic neck:


Our 5 Year Plan

Smoke Cigarettes!

Any cigarettes will do. Just smoke them. At the time, the Soviet ministries specified so many cigarettes to be produced, so do your part. The whole story at

It is not all that different from our own comrade leaders telling us to get out and consume, especially around the holidays! Loose lips may sink ships, but closed wallets and tightly clenched purses scuttle society!!

Casting Call

At Market Watch:
Jon Friedman's Media Web
Dec. 10, 2010, 12:01 a.m. EST
 WikiLeaks, the movie: who plays Assange?
Commentary: His sinister story makes him the perfect villain

I wonder who will play the hero's role of the Sheriff of Nottingham.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Our Lady of Chimayo

This is a reprint from my peace-poem-fasting blog from a while ago. I have been writing this morning about Job and irony and Mary, or Miriam, the mother of Jesus, and I feel this would be good now.

Chimayo is a sanctuary in New Mexico. Starting from Los Alamos where the atomic age was born, descending to the desert into Espanola, the low-rider capital, to the eastern mountains wherein lies Chimayo is about 60 some miles.

Sandia is a mountain.

An acequia is a water-course or aquaduct in the desert, running from higher to lower elevations

Chimayo is the locus of miracles, and people who have been cured have left crutches and splints and wheelchairs there.

Our Lady Of Chimayo

He was an acequia
and she a cottonwood tree;
The Lady of the desert placed them
outside the church at Chimayo.

I am rooted in the soil.
What is it to run o'er the earth?
(she looks into the distance)
I see far off within the sky
clouds as big as Sandia,
running faster than a ghost!

I hear your voice in wind and leaf...
I sense small lives upon my course.
From afar, from ridge and mountain top,
I burst free to come to you!

The Lady of Chimayo who stands within
Her holy sanctuary filled with emblems
made from mankind's suffering,
has turned her and him upon Her loom
and wove their souls from cactus fiber,
so that she would not live without his blood,
nor would he flow without her need.


Maxims of the Storm

"It rains on the mighty oak and heliotrope alike."


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Riddick and the Life Interior

Yes, Riddick, who else?

"Now be afraid... be very afraid!"

The results of world wide testing show the USA in 14th place in Reading. It goes downhill from there. A rich interior life depends upon education. For some reason, we have never been capable of a sustained effort in education, and every 10 years we have to ask why Johnny can't read.

Sustained effort takes vision. We get our vision quest second-hand from televangelists. In the past, we had no vision but to settle from sea to shining sea and make as much money as possible. Then we wondered: what? Oh, we may say that our progress was directed by Providence, but anyone can take a gold star with "God" written it and put it on one's own forehead.
When we find our vision ends, we discover it was a short-term vision and more like a will-o-the-wisp. Now what?

When the Cold War ended, we thought there was nothing of which we could be afraid. But, like the Krel in Forbidden Planet, we did not think of what lay inside ourselves: the great empty void wherein monsters are born.

The Life Interior is the hearth of life where visions play. Visions are the source of progress: corn gods of agriculture and benzene rings of science! All dreams and visions.
However, the Life Interior is also the source of human sacrifice and atomic war. If our internal life is soft and flabby, we will be the prey of nightmares.


 Alan Turing

Who am I to complain and preach about educational failures?

I am the one, after all, who never passed a Turing Test!


Barking Muse

"I say, Cymbalta, what shall I write about today?"
Montag muses. "Hmmm. The Arts, you say? Let me think about that."

Victory Gin Days

Pre-War residences? 21st century?
Did Julian Assange leak this from government files?

Where's the Victory Gin and the war-time ration books? And Spam, we need Spam.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Classics to the Rescue ! 2

Once again, in the last reel of a cosmological cliff-hanger, Pythagoras is called upon to save our universe.

I have previously remarked on the fact that Pythagoras' Holkos, the fifth element which contained all other elements; i.e., the container of the universe, was a 12 sided figure or dodecahedron or soccer ball.

It will come as no surprise, then, that within the last few years, the Pythagorean-call has gone out again for Pyhagoras to help Gotham City:

The Poincare Dodecahedral Space Model Gains Support To Explain The Shape Of Space
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (SPX) Feb 13, 2008

The last fifteen years have shown considerable growth in attempt to determine the global shape of the universe, i.e. not only the curvature of space but also its topology.

...Motivated by indications that the Universe may have positive curvature, and calculating large-angle vibrational harmonics to simulate the power spectrum, some authors of the present study had already argued in October 2003 that the multiply-connected Poincare dodecahedral space (PDS) topology was favoured by the WMAP data relative to an infinite, simply connected flat space.

Get It?

The payroll tax for social security has been cut by 2% for a year by President Obama and his victorious Republican allies, from 6.2% to 4.2%.

The first victorious attack on SocSec has been rather bloodless. So far, none of this has contributed to balancing the budget. And would someone please let the people in Washington know that if the higher unemployment is systemic, then all this tax cutting and destruction of SocSec won't do a thing to create jobs within the next 2 years.

Who's right? I stood on the run up to the Shock 'n' Awe Bowl and said it was a disaster in the making. My friends say that I was talking about economic disaster in the late 90's. It was a Montag-thing. Haven't been wrong in a while.

Stocks went up after the deal was announced, leading to many shallow comments on how wonderful it was and how tax payers are cewlebratings; stocks ended down a bit for the day. There was not much comment at that.

Treasury bonds were being sold, as buyers found this deal what exactly I said it was:  a manipulation that makes the fiscal situation worse, not better as far as deficits are concerned.

Cookies Suo Gan

I am making oatmeal cookies and taking a nip of molasses while listening to the song "Suo Gan", it being a Welsh Gaelic song and if I don't cry at that, I'll be weeping when James Gallway takes up the fiddle and Liam Neeson narrates the leaving of Ireland.

Suo Gan reminds me of Empire of the Sun, a fine film and one of the strongest statements against war - such statements being the style of the Past Times. Empire of the Sun, Spielberg direction with Christian Bale and John Malkovich in 1987.

Suo Gan brings tears to  our eyes as we think of what could have been, and what now lay in front of us!

Climate Dither

London, Ontario, which we recently passed through during homecoming for the U of Western Ontario, has received snow and lots of it. It is estimated that 100 centimeters of snow will have fallen by Wednesday when the storm ends. That's about 40 inches.  Last winter they got 108 centimeters total.

I've mentioned the snow belt that runs south off Lake Huron before, and have been on the 401 in that stretch of road where all is clear before and after, but in the belt of the passing snow, look out!

London is about 110 miles from here, east north east. I feel like I can see Russia from the kitchen window anymore.

The Season

It's Snow Goon weather, buddy!