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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

AT&T and T-Mobile

I have a T-Mobile phone and have had one for 8 years. When my original went belly up, I took over my daughter's; she had graduated to a Blackberry, but I was satisfied with the old phone. Of course, her display had a teddy bear on it, which I have not yet figured out how to change, but so what?

My wife has AT&T.

Comparison? T-Mobile is vastly superior. I have always had a pay as you go plan, and it has worked well to keep me from gobbling up minutes (I only talk at length with a few people, like my Arabic teacher, and you can tell she must have a heck of a plan, because she will just talk and talk...). My minutes are good for a year, and that is better than AT&T would ever dream. I think AT&T  has minutes good for 90 days.

If the merger goes through, T-Mobile will be changed adversely; AT&T will not be changed for the better. It is the nature of American Capitalism 2011 that a blending of Profit and Customer Service is like mixing oil and water.

Keep T-Mobile mobile!

Gulf of Mexico Aftermath... Again

Substantial portions of the affected Gulf weren’t just low in oxygen, but virtually devoid of it from the surface to the seafloor. And researchers could literally smell the problem, notes Nancy Rabalais, executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, based in Chauvin. Where oxygen loss occurs at the seafloor, she reports, the sediment gurgles up hydrogen sulfide — a gas that carries the stench of rotten eggs to the surface.
Various ongoing concerns.

Political Accelerants 2

I was asked if I were drawing an exact and prophetic picture of the future under Radical Republicans, such as Ms. Bachmann.

I answered, or course, no, I was not, because the future is extremely flexible and malleable and can be molded into an almost infinity of different shapes. What I described was one such form: a form in which the anti-democratic tendency combines with the political accelerant of hatred... in this case expressed as hatred against Muslims, and not as hatred against racial groups.

Keep your eyes open and be involved! Watch which way the winds blow! I have said for years that there is a group that has a vision of the way things should be - an absolute ideology - and they have chosen us as the generation of lab rats upon which to proof their beliefs!
They seek to prove their theories upon our backs, no matter how much suffering they add to our lives, for in the view of their ideology, all suffering of other people is merely proof that those poor souls are already East of Eden... while they themselves remain in the Garden, the elect, the elite, the chosen!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Republican Disaster

Rep. Eric Canter has appeared on FOX News and affirmed that cuts in spending must be found before money is made available to victims of Hurricane Irene. In other words, if it goes like the debt ceiling debate, the people on the East Coast may wait 3 or 4 months, and then receive something insufficient.


Political Accelerants

Anti-semitism has a long history as a political accelerant, working like gasoline or kerosene to ensure that the fire of hatred and, thus, the political views which espouse the hatred, are spread quickly and effectively.

The Center for American Progress has issued a report on Hatred of Islam (the term used by them - and by everyone - is "Islamophobia" which is a nonce word made up for cable tv that I really cannot bring myself to use).

Rep. Bachmann is cited for her gifts to the bonfire of the inanities and hatred in general, as well as FOX News, which is not too shocking, since they have already as much as admitted they are an organ that advances a political agenda... the fact that the agenda might contain the roots of fascism does not strain credulity in these times of dishonor and disrepute.

Many political movements have used the crowd appeal and the motivation of hatred of some target group to get the masses going. It was an important component of Nazism, although it was not so much in Italian Fascism nor Spanish Falangism.
However, everybody has somebody they hate, and many political movements try and use that hatred as a prime motivator, and it works very well.

As I see it, we have the Radical Right and the Radical Republicans with:

1) an opposition to democratic processes as displayed by their refusal to negotiate and discuss, showing their essential authoritarianism, and

2) a large part of this group displaying different types of Focus of Hatred politics as a primary motivator for their adherents.

By the time we have exhausted our catalogue of their infamy, we shall have lost everything.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Aftermath

Are the Radical Republicans insisting that any aid to communities following Hurricane Irene insisting - as they did do after the tornado destroyed Joplin, Missouri - be balanced by an equal amount of cuts?

That still makes me mad. Bob Cumming's grandfather, who flew the mail in Joplin, would have made mincemeat of 'em!

Capitol Hill Has Eyes 5: Bachmann Prophesies!

Hurricane Irene was, according to the Prophet Bachmann, a warning from God that our politics must change. I agree with her, but I think she is the Jezebel that needs to be removed.

A puny little hurricane obviously would not transgress the solemn agreement God made with Noah, so I suppose we could not sue God for breach of contract.
How small was Irene? It was so small that my daughter's Maryland community did not lose power, and that place loses power when somebody flushes the toilets in the City building!

I suppose Glenn Beck sees the hand of the Almighty in weather events, too. If so, then why do these dolts oppose the notion of Climate Change? Climate Change for a Bachmann and a Beck would surely be equivalent to the Voice of the Lord! So by denying the chaos of climate change, they deny their own best prophecies

Why do we look to Al Roker and The Weather Channel anyway for our Eschatology study of the Last Days? Why don't we look closer to home? Why don't we look at the fact that suddenly the Red States (Republican and conservative and Southern) have a higher divorce rate, according to the Times over the weekend? Divorce is the one offense dealing with sex mores that is definitely condemned in the New Testament... there is no mention of hurricanes at all.
Back in aught-3, I thought that the incredible arrogance we demonstrated in our rush to war in Iraq was a warning from God: Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. As it turned out, that prophesy was pretty close.
Nowadays it's all earthquakes and hurry-canes! Might as well read The Farmers' Almanac as The Bible. What kind of coat are the woolly caterpillars sportin', Michelle? Any word from above there?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ade Ileke 27: Linhas na Amazônia

linhas na Amazônia...
gravuras dos deuses antigos?
Do Rio Bravo à Boca do Acra
há enchentes e ameaças de dilúvios.
os deuses voltam para casa.
Lines in the Amazon lands...
etchings of the ancient gods?
From Rio Bravo to Boca do Acra
there are floods and threats of deluge.
The gods are coming home.

pix: Google Earth

Does Mind Matter?

Do a thought experiment and imagine a Universe where there is no Intelligence: nothing to perceive the physical processes, nothing to record them, no narrative of the passage of time, no histories, no sciences; there is merely the "stuff" of Science if Intelligence were ever to exist.

Is such a Universe possible? Would Matter exist in that way without Mind or Intelligence?

The answer is actually No, it does not nor would not exist in such a way.

The Thought Experiment of a Material Universe without Mind is itself an element of the Universe that has Mind. The Universe without Intelligence is part now - since we have just made the thought experiment! - of our history of Intelligence. And Universe without Narrative is obviously part of the Universe of Narration.

In other words, the "Material Universe Without Mind" is a concept that cannot be conceptualized, else it disappears.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Olaf Stapledon somewhere writes about a primate society of the future which exhausts itself in the frenzied pursuit of essentially useless bright and shiny metals, and they melt back into the undifferentiated mass of primates from which they sprang.

He also wrote in the same book about the frenzied use of fossil fuels by mankind, mostly in aeroplanes and ritual flying, but he was spot on about the eventual depletion of fuels and the baleful effects this would have on the present and the future.

Getting back to the apes and their pursuit of Gold and Shiny Metals: as much as we have inveighed against Wall Street working at phantom financial instruments that add nothing to the "real" economy, we do not seem to mind that Gold adds nothing to the economy, either.
We are so used to phoniness that real investment eludes the majority of us. Gold is a bright, shiny, and essentially worthless metal, unless you need its malleability or the fact that it does not tarnish.

This business of phony investment seems to be so ingrained that only a catastrophe may change it. When a society values economically worthless things over items that have real value and contribute to the betterment of society.... well. draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Other Side of Fear...

Wisdom is on the reverse side of Fear... it is the side B, the side rarely played.

This side is the side of Miracle.

I really cannot explain it beyond this.

Pure Ideology is the Death of Democracy

The Club for Growth sez:

... America would be better off served by somebody like Michele Bachmann. She is ideologically pure. 

To be ideologically pure is to remain "chaste" in the face of differing opinions; it is to refuse to compromise and negotiate.

Any politics that does not listen, negotiate, and compromise, must by its very nature cycle between eras of violence and discontent, for the only way that parties "out of power" can make themselves heard is by acts of violence or separation and withdrawal.

Consider the Fascists, the Bolsheviks, the Nazis... all insisted on ideological purity and they all realized they were enemies of Democracy, and they made it plain that they were above and better than feeble Democracy that cannot accomplish anything because it was always locked in confrontation. Back after World War I, the democracy in Italy could not agree on things, so it needed Mussolini to effect even such mundane things as "making the trains run on time".

We are not viewing dysfunction in Washington, D.C.; we are viewing an alien ideology and philosophy which seeks to actively subvert a Democratic process. It seeks to destroy the Government by refusing to allow revenue increases in a sane long-term proposal to reduce deficits; the aim of this alien ideology is the death of the country as we know it and the introduction of some new version that is "cleansed" of the bad elements of a "promiscuous" Democracy.

Reverse Darwinism

I has been pointed out that Tea Partiers are not Evolution deniers; they are proponents of "Reverse Evolution"; i.e., survival of the goofiest.

I'll be darned.

Am I "Frum" Canada?

Someone asked me why I read FrumForum. And why, in the name of all that is holy, do I have a link to it? Why do I not have a link to a liberal outlet, for example, and balance things out?

Well, Frum is a conservative from Canada...

I was at University in Canada, and I spent 6 of my most formative years living in Canada for 9 months of the 12, and spending the remaining 3 visiting my Canadian girlfriends. All of my friends from that time (who still speak to me!) are Canadian, and my wife's family on the maternal side comes from Quebec. My brother-in-law Bill, God rest his soul, has a place on Lac Achegan, near St. Hippolyte, Quebec, that his boys still own - even though they now neglect to send me invites.

There is a Canadian way of looking at things that is extremely different from the American way, and is also quite different from the British way.

Everyone that has been touched by Canada experiences things differently, and they never lose their sense of Kaskeyihtamowin... their "nostalgia", their painful longing (and that is what 'nostalgia' means in Homer) for their home, for Canada.
Love America as I do, Canada is my Godfather and Godmother.

note:   kaskeyihtamowin is a Cree language word.

Ah! In My Youth... #2

Who'd of thought:

we would ever see an Anti-Science wing of politics become influential in the Republican Party, starting back in the days when George W. Bush, clueless in Gaza, used to allow faith-based administrators into Science programs; it is a far cry from the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower, when Science was an important part of public policy.
Other countries continue the quest into Space. We shall be there, acting as their faith-based janitors.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reprise: Night People

I am repeating this post from 2009 as it fits in well with my post "Image of Obsession: Old People in Exile"
on August 20, 2011.

The old people come out at night. The have become feral and feline, sleeping during the day. Night is not a metaphor for the darkness of the soul anymore, not the evil of pitch black, but the silhouettes of night have become the archetypes of all things.
We, the old, stalk the shadows of the city on our quest for the Virgin Mary's bicycle parts.

The things of the earth lose their detail, the thorns of life that prick us, bleed us; the day people want to help - so they say; they want to minister to us, to provide medicals. We call them "leeches", like in old times; they want to leech us to whatever icon they have of old people should-being. They task us. They harry us like dogs chase the fox. Their old-age homes are dungeons run by their Ministry of Love.
They leech and suck our blood with their taxes, and their wars, and their guns and violence.
They speak in a cenobite tongue of the most profound profanity. We hear their blasphemous language, which they find comical, and it tears at us. All words are used: every vulgar profanity, every curse gets a laugh.

Discourse is invective.
The old word for conversation was "intercourse". Intercourse of days is now vile: it is either violent, or it is a graffitti on the walls for everyone to gaze at, hard colors on concrete drawing tears from the tender eyes of the day people...eyes used to Death and Cable.

We drive at night and see the blackwork buildings sentinel on silent streets. We watch the Sunset Channel with its documentaries of nightime streets, where you can actually see the streets and sidewalks; they are not obscured by the opprobrious burden of multitudes of people, walking like a living carpet of many-coloured knots, woven at random seeming along the night-time weft we inhabit. At night, the weft is empty...Penelope-like, the ragged carpet of care is unwoven every night, and we wait for the Master Weaver to come...

The day is the time of massacre of the two-year old boys, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed and busy with their toys.
Christmas was at night, our loves, our joys...

Night is the holy time, when we mend broken hearts with bicycle parts, straighten spokes, adjust the brakes, pump up the tires; night time, priapic with meaning and engorged with arts!

pics 1,3,4: arnold pouteau
pic 2: broken hearts & bicycle parts

Ah! In My Youth...

Who'd of thought of:

a major political party having the majority of its presidential candidates not believing in the Theory of Evolution?

My Goddaughter

Goddaughter Throws Frisbee At Pontiff

Elsewhere I have mentioned my travelling goddaughter and her uncanny propensity for tossing frisbees at people. She is a member of an Ultimate Frisbee team (Manchester United Tossers, or Ann Arbor Chuckers or something like that) and to them it is equivalent to a "G'day, mates!"
The photo below was from when she was on the Amazon River causing wonderment among the locals:

Recently she was in Rome:

If Benedict calls, I'm not here!

American Sign Language and "A Stedman Caters Of Crows"

This post was to be about using Sign Language in employing Venery (definition #2 below!) terms, but I'm not sure it ever came fully together. That is a sad fact, but I'm sure it will be taken care of by some other brainy, signing type.

Venery comprises two arts: (1) the art of love, and (2) the art of giving names to teams and squads of animals. I am talking of the second. If I were to be involved with the first, I would indeed be "just talking" and/or "blowing smoke" as I did so.

An example of a term of venery would be a "pride" of lions. There very often is a conscious effort to do synecdoche in the venery term: a part standing for a whole, as in our example, the lion's proud bearing is extended and changed to mean a group of lions.
Of course, there is a lot of the joker and trickster in all this, and good venery terms should bring a smile to the face, a good example being a "rash" of dermatologists.
For other example, we see that The Periodic Englishman has a post titled Like A Murder Of Crows - That's All 

The word "murder" in the title is a venery term for a team or herd or whatever of crows. Since "murder" is a bit too "zero at the bone" for a whole bunch of us, I tried my hand at it, but the best I could do was the latter part of the post title above.
A "stedman caters" is a type of English bell change ringing, and I have heard it used in memorials, so there you have it. The crow is a somber and sullen bird, even when dipping the old beak into a festive road-kill gazpacho.
Well, I never was one for the brisk, light, and breezy. I prefer my attempt over "murder", since "stedman caters" sounds a good deal like "Scatman Crothers", an actor, whom I enjoyed, and a "scatman crothers" of crows is not too bad, either.

There are other possibilities. Arabic has a phrase: slower than Noah's crow which suggests other routes. I think of Noah's crow as a guy taking advantage of the situation: there Noah is, water all around, no place to go, totally castaway and isolated... except for the winged breeds. They can just fly away.
Of course, crows, being crows, would milk this opportunity for everything it's worth, neglecting the fact that sooner or later, the flood would recede, and the slow, cud-chewing bovines would again rule the world of Hamburgers and Light.

This post actually was to deal with signing among the deaf. There is the possible "venery" term : a hush of deafs, or a hush of hearing impaireds. Personally, I think "hush" is becoming over-used, being as it is already used in the well known "a hush of ushers", which usage seems to be the definitive usage, according to H.W.Fowler, who spoke of the officious blighters who "ushed" the chapel in his youth, and went about with their index fingers held to their thin, pale, manta-ray-like lips shushing all the lads.

Signing has always been a very sensual experience in my part of the world.  I mean, the utter joy of the flow of words from a good speaker - or signer - added to the fluid gestures... and if she plays the acoustic guitar afterwards, so much the better. I do not mean to imply anything here. I just happened to have delved into the joys of hearing-impaired intimacies in my youth.
I was, indeed, magna cum gallaudet for a brace of years.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Central Bank and The "New" Wall Street Journal

Read it there:


To The Climate Deniers

Bertolt Brecht

Truly, I live in dark times!
The guileless word is folly. A smooth forehead
Suggests insensitivity. The man who laughs
Has simply not yet had
The terrible news.
What kind of times are they, when
A talk about trees is almost a crime
Because it suggests silence about so many horrors?
Bertolt Brecht, To Those Born Later


The Future Is Not Fixed

An important thing to learn is that it is impossible - absolutely impossible! - to talk to God.

Once you learn this fact, you discover that you may talk with God.

This leads you to your first understanding of how Irony - or Reversal - works in the scheme of things.

Similarly, you will soon learn that you can see far into the future, but the future is infinitely flexible and can be changed at a moment's notice, for the future is filled with potential Reversals, and all it takes to change it is a change in the hearts of mankind!

That's why the future seems so determinate and unchanging, not because it is a rolling rock whose momentum will cause it to overwhelm us, but because our hearts are so dull and sluggish and refuse to make even a little change.

Wisdom is not discovering Hardship and Fear and believing it to be forever. Wisdom is finding the other side of Fear...


Sunday, August 21, 2011

La Grande Illusion

I saw La Grande Illusion on Turner Classic Movies the other night, and I recorded it, and so far have watched it twice. It was made in 1934 (or thereabouts) by Jean Renoir. Jean Gabin was a lead in it. It seems to have been Jean Gabin day at TMC. Pretty good stuff.
It is a very good film about war, and if you watch it, you will readily pick out scenes which were bodily lifted into other films, like Casablanca and The Bridge Over the River Kwai.

What caught my interest was the fact that Captain Boeldieu, a member of the aristocracy, was pessimistic about the place of his class in the future. He apprehended that after this bloodletting, things would change, and the privileged class would sort of waste away.
The film was set in World War I, and was a creation of the mentality of those who lived through that time.

I mentioned that I had been reading Mary Roberts Rinehart's murder mystery, The Yellow Room, which was published in 1945, and was a World War II creation. Similarly, the rich and privileged were sensed to be passing away after the present bloodletting. Carol Spencer, the main character, muses on how different things will be after the war, when the privileges her dowager mother is used to will continue their erosion, which had been started by the rationing and shortages of war.

Now once again we face a privileged class: the 5% of the population wherein most of the wealth is concentrated. Shall we once again face some cataclysm and general bloodletting? Will it be war, civil war, or oppression?
I do not know, but it seems that our Capitalistic way of life is cycling through similar scenarios every generation, and there are plenty of warnings, but I guess the overall message is that we are too stupid to see them, for it may well be that concentration of Wealth and Power in the hands of the Few may not merely be injustice and rapacity, but instead may be a symptom of a cancerous disease rampant through the fabric of the Body Social!

The dynamics of history are not Capitalism nor Socialism. The driving force is nothing we have been able to put our finger on. But the stories are there in front of us: Pride goes before the Fall. And all the violence and bloodletting are just the murderous implements that are used by a people who know no other way to conduct themselves when their lives are out of joint.

Over and over, the bitter ironies play out, because we cannot grasp the need to avoid being put in the position where a sudden reversal will wreck our lives.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blue Heron

The Blue Heron is my totem animal. Most of the time I see him, he has nothing much to say. He is searching for food.

So I go on and leave him to his hunt. You cannot force meaning. But you should not ignore meaning, either. We have those two problems: we force meaning where there is none, and where there is something, we are too busy to attend to it.

Those powers are not like roses that you can stop and smell. The power in the universe - if you mean to pay attention - demands a chunk of your life.


Veritable Cinema

If you read this blog, you are used to my heavy-handed use of films for just about anything: I use them as my logic, my inspiration, my references, and my whipping boy. I use films like slate: throw them down as stepping stones on the wet ground to get from Point A to Point B. I disregard them like Schopenhauer's Causality Tram... once I get to Point B, I dismiss the means of my transport, and send them packing back to the archives.

Now, if you wish top read an account of film done finely and insightfully, try this review and discussion of Ozu's films:


Image of Obsession: Older People in Exile

 Fahrenheit 451 Monorail Scene
An Image of Future

I have been obsessed by Images and complexes of Images all my life. Their vividness has interfered with my ability to function at some times. For most of my life, they were just nonsense Images, similar to OCD behavior maybe, not quite as strong, not quite as compelling... maybe. Since the turn of the century, however, these Images have taken on more reality and seem to have been forerunners of the images we see in the daily news.
One of the Images that have beset me throughout the last 40 years has been that of old people gathered into their own communities of exile, living out their days apart from a society which does not want them. Over time it became a mimicry of the final scene in Fahrenheit 451 : Oskar Werner reciting and memorizing a forbidden book, walking with Julie Christie, surrounded by the other old people who recited the forbidden books they had memorized; as the camera pulled back, snow began to fall.

It also took the form of an elderly Lord of the Flies, and at times a Swiss Family Robinson combined with Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome... and every day we recite "the Tell", the story of who we once were and where we came from.

There is a sense of having escaped into a refuge; it is a hard life, but better than the one we (yes, "we"!) escaped from, and there is a good life somewhere in the Future!

From Beyond Thunderdome:
Time counts and keeps countin', and we knows now finding the trick of what's been and lost ain't no easy ride. But that's our trek, we gotta' travel it.
And there ain't nobody knows where it's gonna' lead. Still in all, every night we does the Tell, so that we 'member who we was and where we came from...
And we lights the city... for all of them that are still out there. 'Cause we knows there come a night, when they sees the distant light, and they'll be comin' home.

I am beginning to see the Image become Reality in the News.

Monorail Trash being used to Shelter the Homeless


Friday, August 19, 2011

Old Posts

Over time, Blogger has had some issues which have caused all of my older posts (and I do not know where the dividing point is)to have lost all paragraph separation, so everything is run together in one paragraph.

Sorry. I'll try to fix some.


Literary America

"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer."
D. H. Lawrence

I had this quote on a post about Fight Club, and I never felt entirely comfortable with it... until now, that is.
Having read part of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, I see that it is spot on, at least to our souls. The book deals with  KGB sadistic rapists, bisexual girls with fetishes being raped and brutalized, and evil psychiatrists who - by the way - are pedophiles.

What a glorious Boschean depiction of Hell! And how much we enjoy it, turning the book into a phenomenal best seller! What a thrill it must be to read it!

I thought it juvenile... nasty juvenile... juvenile of the dark side, and I threw it away from me and returned it to the library, for I think it bad luck to leave such items within one's house.

The essential American reader's soul is hard, isolate, and a killer.
We are what we create with consciousness. Please stop creating echoes of evil within yourselves.



Evil does not require the stereotypical expressions of actors portraying villains. It does not require harsh laughter, sneers, icy genius, darkened rooms; evil can be bright and sunny and just as normal as that guy next door who would not hurt a fly.
Evil may be eight kids on a camping trip to the cabin of the uncle of one of them, and there may be no escaped lunatic killers lurking nearby, nor any mutant sharks in the lake. Just a sunny day and friends. Good and evil are aniconic: they have no real depictions. They are real choices of real people and are as ordinary as the morning toast.


Sand Dune Therapy

For my birthday, we decided to go to The Pinery Provincial Park located at the southern end of Lake Huron, about 33 miles ENE of Sarnia, Ontario.

It is all about sand dunes, man! Just as there are enormous sand dunes in Michigan on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, there are dunes and sand on the eastern shore of Lake Huron. There are nine beach areas in the park, and the young girl at the entrance did not give me a senior discount, saying it was reserved for Ontario seniors.  However, she did not give me a map of the facility, either, so I think she was merely incompetent. I am going to write to the proper department anyway.
I have to complain a lot to Parks departments. I suppose it is all due to budget cuts. Last year in Maryland there was one that suckered me out of my money at the entrance, leaving it for me to find out after I drove in that nothing was actually available on that day, and, by the way, thanks for the eight bucks!
Using the telephone number on a sign at the entrance, I managed to get hold of the part-time manager while he was eating lunch. He was taking a break from selling real estate, his full time job, and expressed considerable sorrow that I felt short-changed. He gave me an address to write to ask for my eight dollars back.

Getting back to The Pinery, I found that after a day of sand-surfing up and down the dunes, the next day that the ligaments and muscles in my legs felt better than they had in months and possibly years. I had feared re-straining a ligament, but discovered upon waking there was a sense of youthful wholeness I had forgotten ever to have possessed, leg-wise. (I had a full six weeks off from jogging due to the ligament in my right knee, and was now slowly working back into running again.)

I remember runners that used to train for the Olympics by running on beaches and sand. I think they were New Zealanders, or Aussies... it was a memory from a long time ago. People probably still do it. It could have been the swimming, too: the movement of the legs against the slightly resistant medium of the water.
It could have been both things. And it could have also been sun and clean air.

We had ended up on the dog beach. We do not own a dog. There were many well-trained dogs that were a pleasure to see. There was no inconvenience whatsoever to anyone... except for the fact that just before we were going to leave, a golden retriever caught a frisbee in the water and stopped to do his business right there... in the water.
The owner went through the motions: he held the bag up where everyone within eye-shot could see that he did indeed pick up after his dog (or "stoop and scoop" as they say in Toronto). He stood at ground zero and surveyed the scene with intent. But he showed no inclination to step into the water and aggressively deal with the situation. As the waves broke upon the beach, there was enough turbidity that he could not see the object he wished to take care of, and, being a normal bloke, he did not want to go thrashing around blindly and run the risk of stepping on the blasted pile.
Which, of course, was the entire point for the rest of us. Or, I think it was. Perhaps I was alone in this. This was the dog beach, after all, and perhaps the major portion of the clientele was much more blase to what I took to be serious social gaffes.
I do not think that I have never seen a dog do anything like that in my entire life, and perhaps, being a hunting dog, this dog may have been trained to go in the water so as to not interrupt his hunting chores of looking for ducks and charging through the bullrushes to retrieve them. And believe me, I have seen a lot of dogs romping in the water, too, in my life near lakes and rivers.

Oh, well. We also went to a ghastly restaurant in Grand Bend. I cannot understand why a restaurant that is within 10 miles of a maple syrup producing farm feels that it has to provide one with a container of "pancake syrup" to accompany its grisly pancakes. It is a syndrome associated with vacation areas, I guess. They have a knack for sucking the life from food.
The antique stores were pretty good, and everything was enjoyable. Just "caveat" swimmer on the doggie beach, and always "caveat" eaters in restaurants: beware of the things one knows are fraught with slapstick and enjoy the time.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ade Ileke 26: Famille Féerie

la mère était Brillante, qui en Arcadie a vécu;
le père était Arcas, éloigné et disparu;
les enfants, dix en nombre:
Maia, Gaia, Ciel, Thermidor
Halcyon, Marin, Ambrée
Le Feu, Le Gel, et Victor;
en Arcadie ils ont vécu,
en Arcadie, où oeillets de poète ont poussé.

the mother was Shining, who lived in Arcadia
the father was Arcas, far away and disappeared;
the children, ten in number:
Maia, Gaia, Sky,Thermidor
Halcyon, Marin, Ambrée,
Fire, Frost, and Victor;
in Arcadia they lived,
in Arcadia, where the Sweet William grows.

The Fruits of Unreason

Standard & Poor’s director said for the first time Thursday that one reason the United States lost its triple-A credit rating was that several lawmakers expressed skepticism about the serious consequences of a credit default — a position put forth by some Republicans.

Without specifically mentioning Republicans, S&P senior director Joydeep Mukherji said the stability and effectiveness of American political institutions were undermined by the fact that “people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default,” Mukherji said.

“That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Capitol Hill Has Eyes 5: Bachmann Steals My Birthday!

Leave me alone, Michelle Bachmann! I do not like running stuff about you! 

Today is my birthday! Mine! Not Elvis Presley's, like you said earlier on the campaign trail. You are an embarrassment to dimwits! How dare you try to steal my thunder!

August 16th: the day Elvis passed to his reward, the day Babe Ruth passed, the date of the Harmonic Convergence back in the day... which happened to be the very same day Flight 255 crashed in Detroit, killing everyone on board, except for one small girl. Many things of importance, indeed, but Elvis was born - as my wife can rattle right off, having committed it to heart many years ago - on January 8th!

My birthday.... mine.

Mr. Buffett on Taxes

From the BBC:
Mr Buffett explained that, like many top earners, his income came entirely from investments rather than from employment, which are subject to lower taxes in the US.
He said last year he paid an effective tax rate of 17.4%, less than the 33% to 41% paid by the employees in his office.
He dismissed arguments made by senior Republicans, including John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, that taxing higher earners more would damage investment and job creation in the US.
"I have yet to see anyone... shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gains," he said.
Mr. Bloomberg said two weeks ago that he thought he got value for his tax dollar, and was not averse from a reasonable increase.

It appears that the Republican Party is splitting into two camps: those who understand economics and those who believe in fairy tales. It is painful to watch Mitt Romney raise his hand when the candidates are asked "Who believes in fairy tales?", but so it goes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I stopped cursing other drivers for a while. It makes driving so much easier. However, I have encountered so many odd ones, I have started up again.
I have exhausted all the old epithets and references to hygiene products and erotic paraphenalia, and I startled myself with a new one that popped up:  Benoit!

So I yell the name "Benoit!" at people, as if I am addicted to fractal geometry and scream "Benoit" in memory of Benoit Mandelbrot. If I am in a Jewish neighborhood, I yell "Baruch!" and if I am around Roman Catholics, I call out "Benedict!" or "Sons of Benedict!" or whatever.

The point of all this is the original "Benoit!" or "Chiens de Benoit!" ("Dogs of Benoit!" in French). One has to know how the name "Benoit" is pronounced. Baruch and Benedict are variations on the name Benoit, but only "Benoit" has the right sound.
I shall not explain this further!

Ade Ileke 25: Orthodoxy, an Opera by Mozart

Wie werden wir entfűhren sie
aus dem Serail wohin
Orthodoxie lebt ganz allein,
nähe von wachsamen Augen?
How will we abduct her (i.e., Orthodoxy)
from the seraglio (harem) wherein
Orthodoxy lives all alone
under watchful eyes?


I Forgot!

We forget so much.
Like the Reverend Harold Camping; he predicted the end of the world back in May. (And we are still here, by the way, if you have not noticed... although some might say that the blather of financial news since then does indeed have the same effect of the Last Trump.)

Reverend Camping thought that he had figured out the end day from the number of natural disasters and the accumulation of sin in the world.

What Reverend Camping forgot is that Forgiveness is Immediate, if one repents. Even though you may have sinned for decades, when there is repentance, Forgiveness is in the blink of an eye.

Perhaps the original end-of-times that Jesus and the early Christians expected and did not occur was not a "mistake", but rather it was "re-scheduled" since enough people in the Roman Empire had turned from brutality and lust to repentance and reconciliation.

End-of-Times is coming, but no man knows the time. Such things are not a matter of knowledge, but of our natural Intuition of the Holy.

The reason no man knows the time is that End-of-Times occurs when the degradation has progressed so far as to inhibit our natural Intuition of Creation and the Universe. End-of-Times comes when we are already spiritually dead and cannot perceive its advent.
It remains unknown; it remains beyond human ken.


Someone read my post "The Perils of Prophecy 2" ahead and "sort of" liked it. They did ask me why it was so brief. Why did I not expand it out to essay length? That would make it clearer to people, and it might thereby be more effective.

Well, I laughed.
Number one: I am too lazy to write an essay;
Number two: Most people are too lazy to read an essay;
Number three: No matter how crystal clear an exposition I write, I will not change anyone's mind who already believes in the Rapture;
Number four: The absolutely best way to teach anybody anything is to give them just enough to whet their interest and let them "discover" the answers on their own. What if I do not provide enough guidance, and the answers they find are different from the ones I found?!
Oh, well. Welcome to the world of intelligent entities walking around and bumping into things. Of course their answers will be at least a "bit" different! That is to be expected. So if their answers are going to be a bit different anyway, why should I bust my hump trying to get them to agree 100% with me?! 

I really do not like how some writers feel they have to lead us to the water of their wonderful insights, as if we were thirsty, yet rather dumb, horses. Don't like it one bit.

Perils of Prophecy 2

Spare me! Someone said that all states are not possible once God has chosen what is going to happen. In essence, God has determined the outcomes already, the probability functions have collapsed, and the Rapture is on the 6:35 milk train from Jersey.

Well, well, well.
OK. If God "chooses" and determines the future, He thereby excludes a great number of possible futures. Therefore, His knowledge does not comprehend the possibility of these states being real outcomes in the real world. Therefore, they are - in a sense - closed to Him.
Therefore, God is not all-knowing.

In short, Deterministic Scenarios, the Rapture being one such, deny the Omniscience of God.
Omniscience implies a Complex and Probabilistic Future... and Free Will.

It has been suggested that God "knows" about the possible futures He has decided against.

That is a nonce use of the word "know".
It is as if I were using epistemology in a comedy routine.

In essence, the idea that God knows futures He has decided against is tantamount to saying that He is "
"a twiddler, a dreamer, a silly heart,... a jabberbox..."
(quote: Uncle Buck)


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Goofy Movies That I Am Nonetheless Fond Of

The Four Seasons
Alan Alda, Carol  Burnett, Rita Moreno, Jack Weston, etc.

Terminal goofyness, but I am fond of it. Blast.


 An Attempted Handshake Preceding Communication, Verbal or Emotional

I laughed just a moment ago when I realized than normal life consists of intelligent guys and dolls handshaking with the Universe, communicating, and processing and understanding. Of course, there is always static and noise and bandwidth problems: it's hard to find the time and a lot of times we cut things short and end up with imperfect understanding.

Religion, though, should be a handshake with that which is outside the range of the usual. When we handshake with God, we know it and there is at least the perfect understanding that we did indeed shake hands with the Holy. That knowledge is not susceptible to being corrected. It is wonderful.



If we did not have differences of opinion, we would not be intelligent. We would be more like rocks. Intelligence, by its very nature, is a constantly flickering of stars and suns within the mind, and the probabilities are that there will be many, many different kinds of minds and opinions therein.

However, to be Irreconciliable and Intransigeant is a sign of dying beasts, cornered and expiring and wishing to destroy all with them!

Extending the prior metaphor, an Intelligence that has become Frozen and Immutable is like a dying star, hoarding what dregs are left of its precious fuel, shrinking down, confused and frightened in its stellar mind... preparing to go Nova!

Ade Ileke 24: A lua é cego

O sol se desintegra,
a lua é cego
e cai...
na escuridão.

O planetário
de nossos sonhos
ao piso e rompe
The sun falls apart
and the moon is blind
and falls...
in the dark.

The planetarium
of our dreams
to the floor and breaks.

Michelle Bachmann on the Cover of Newsweek

So she looks a little daffy. So what? Every picture taken of me, except the one for my passport, makes me look daffy, pudgy, inane, and incompetent. My passport one has enough holographic, anti-forgery, hi-tech color and prismatic edging to it that I actually look human.
My Costco card is from my beard-wielding days, and somehow I look like Ambrose Burnside after a day of the frizzies. My drivers' license photo belong in an album of mug shots. 

Everyone knows that it is all about the appearance, not the substance. So Bachmann has a legit gripe, but we would have to all stand up and admit what frauds we are. We are not quite at that point.

Capitol Hill Has Eyes 4

There has never been an instance of a major nation addressing such a deficit solely with spending cuts.
This ideology will be put to the test upon our bones. If we survive, the country will have shrunk beyond recognition. All the Mad Max films will come to be seen as prophecies, and the future historians will shake their heads in wonderment.

All my life I have had a grudge against the Government taking my money. But the Government is not an entity apart from ourselves. What the Radical Republicans envisage is tantamount to putting a tourniquet on an infected arm and leaving it there until gangrene sets in. You have heard them say "Starve the Beast." However, the beast is ourselves.
We must change ourselves, and not go to the lengths of plucking out the eye that offends us. Put on better spectacles!


Mythic Landscapes : Tom Bombadil's Forest

The forest under the sway of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry in Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring.

The Perils of Prophecy

The Sibyll of Delphi - Prophetess

I was quite wrong about the effect of the S&P downgrade. Idiotically wrong, to be precise. Such is life.

However, the wrongness there lead me to look at the other "expectation" that I have, which is that 2013 will be a problem year.
Now for I long time I have wondered why this is rolling around in my head. There is the fact that it is five years after 2008's meltdown, and since 2008 is about eight years following the previous big market downslide... and a few other things thrown into the blender and pureed... I was looking at a reverse Fibonacci series of discomfort. (A Fibonacci series starts with 1,2 and adds the previous two integers to compute the following integer: 1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,...)
I was looking at intervals   13, 8, 5, the last being 2013.
Neat, but naughty, naughty in the sense that it makes little or no sense, and the fact that there is a reverse Fib series does not mean a thing.
But, given its illusion of mathematical rigor and logic, it is a perfect delusion to obsess about. I could OCD it, just like the Reverend Harold Camping - and so many others through history - had obsessed about the end of times, and ended up calling the game over when it had not even gotten to the seventh inning stretch.

One thing the Reverend Camping did not see is:
(1) if God is all-knowing, God must be able to comprehend the details of the universe, and
(2) this means God must be able to comprehend all the possible outcomes and time-lines, and
(3) by comprehending all time-lines and outcomes, that means God comprehends a certain future state, call it S1, as well as another future state, not-S1, this state of not-S1 being the state where S1 did not come to pass.
(4) Since all states are within God's comprehension, none has a favored status; that is, S1 is not somehow more necessarily going to happen than not-S1.

Therefore, everything is possible. Everything existing thing has free will to wander through the infinite set of possibilities.

In other words, we can aways change the future.
If we could not change the future, Jesus should have known it, reckoned that things weren't worth dieing over, and settled down to his life as a carpenter.
Similarly, the Lord Buddha would have remained in his palace, and Moses would have remained in Egypt, and the Prophet of Islam would have remained a successful merchant.
Joseph Smith might have gone to work the farm with his uncle in Detroit, and then stayed there.

But they did not!
They know the future can be changed.

So must we. There is no burden upon us so great that we must allow the weight of its oppression to keep us from our task.


2012 And Ghost Dance [Written 10/13/2009]

The Ghost Dance prophet, Wovoka, may have said that the renewal comes quick, quicker than your can see it: you blink, it's here.

I do not have a clue what I meant by this.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Capitol Hill Has Eyes 3: Bachmann

Michelle Bachmann speaks:
...Bachmann boasted that she opposed lifting the debt ceiling at all and suggested the S&P downgrade was a vindication of her position. (Earlier in the day, S&P had actually said the opposite.) Sen. Rick Santorum chastised Bachmann, arguing that her brand of leadership was merely "showmanship" and wouldn't work in the real world.
 "What we saw last week is the markets agreed with me," says Bachmann. "The markets saw what happened in Washington when Obama got a $2.4 trillion check. And one thing you learned is you can't fool the markets! The politicians were busy applauding themselves! They were patting each other on the back! They were saying, 'Didn't we do a great job! We just raised the debt ceiling!' How did that make you feel?"

It was my understanding that President Obama received the OK to pay the bills Congress had already incurred. It was not new things being spent on. How... odd... is that woman?


Thinking on Mandela: Why is Reconciliation So Important?


"the day of atonement does not expiate any transgressions, but those that are between a man and God,...  but transgressions which are between a man and his neighbor, as he that hurts his neighbor, or curses his neighbor, or steals from him, and the like, are never forgiven, until he has given his neighbor what he owed him, and has "reconciled" him; yea, though he has returned to him the money he owed him, he ought to "reconcile" him, and desire him to forgive him; yea, even though "he has only provoked him by words", (which is the very case in the text before us), "he ought to reconcile him", and to meet him until he forgives him: if his neighbor will not forgive, he must bring with him three of his friends, and meet him, and entreat him; and if he will not be reconciled by them, he must bring them a second, and a third time.''

Hilchot Teshuba

Sins against our fellow human beings cannot be forgiven except by asking forgiveness and granting it. If it is not granted, the asking must be documented by witnesses a number of times.

What have we not asked to be forgiven for?

Prayer 1

People should write down their prayers, just as does the character Aibileen in the novel The Help. I think it would be well to archive them and go over them, reminding us of what was important in our lives, as well as sometimes admonishing us how greedy and avaricious for all kinds of things we were... and still are; there will be a family album of our prayers.

1) Prayer for Reconciliation

Richard Farnsworths as Alvin Straight driving his John Deere lawnmower across Iowa and Wisconsin to reconcile with his brother, played by Harry Dean Stanton.

Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Man in the Dark Fedora 1

(I have never written about this part of my past before now. This is first draft of the first chapter of the book whose title is the title of this post.)

There were skanks left over from the big newspaper strike two years ago. I don’t know what they do with them in between strikes; maybe they go under-cover in a Skank Protection Program, living as normal folks: cook dinner, see their kids off to school, go to PTA meetings, sing hymns at church services. I don’t know. I don't know what you do with people who can turn the adrenalin of hate on and off when they are not working their trade.
They are celebrities and centers-of-attention while the strikes are on. Now they were standing along the side of the road, and those ladies that sang hymns in the off-season were now screeching curses like obscene banshees at our motorcade as it crept toward the front gate of the company. I’m sure it was a lot like this on the way to the guillotine in Revolutionary France, where women took a holiday from selling vegetables at the markets and came to throw turnips at the king... and the classical beauty of Versailles gave way to the electrifying fury of unreason.
There is something about the air being filled with shouting, some dreamlike quality that urges you to think you are asleep and having a nightmare, rather than awake; it urges you to imagine yourself in a hell-scape of Hieronymus Bosch and not at all in the real world.
The tumult at the edge of violence seems to eclipse the sun, blinding it. If you were sitting in one of the cars of the motorcade of the damned, slowly moving down the street, like boats in the sluggish, sewage-filled current of the River Styx as you drifted to the Inferno… if you were sitting in one of those vehicles, a prisoner of the violence that encompassed you… if you could remember there was a sky, and then if you could somehow wriggle your gaze free to look up at it, you would see the sick grey cirrus clouds of vituperation and violence suffocate the sunshine.
Sometimes even now I drive by the streets we used to take on our secure trip to work each day, and I imagine the asphalt streets groaning like Sisyphus. I drive by the shape-up area, where we all met at 8:00 in the morning and got in a line with security vehicles, and then took off for our slow drive along the six city blocks to where our plant was located. It was as slow as a funeral procession, and the security men with their dark glasses hovered on the peripheries like funeral home attendants; I half expected them to plunk down a flag on the hood of my car. We drove with silver coins on our eyes to pay Charon to ferry us…

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Books on the Bedside Table 2

I do not actually read all those books. Most of them are supports for other books, and some are used to hold the lamps up higher. The alarm clock sits on one. The alarm clock seems to use them more than I sometimes.

Books on the Bedside Table

I looked at them this morning at 4:00 when I flipped on the Chinese lamp. The Help I had just started yesterday, and I was enchanted by the first few pages. Then I have Philosophy: Jerry Fodor on Cognition, and Dr. Cunningham's book on Albert the Great and Moral Agency. Mary Roberts Rinehart is there also, sweet Mary who sets the scene so well, then leaves me with stilted stick-people walking in and out of the Conservatory with lead pipes!
I have Avivah Zornberg in a great sized tome of erudition and wonder.
And Wolfram's A New Kind of Science, which is my Bible...
Then my Bible... which is my Bible, too.
There is the Lord Buddha and the Quran on the other side of the bed, well marked with Hollerith cards... I still have thousands of Hollerith - or IBM - punch cards from the early days of computing, when we used such things, and they make excellent bookmarks.
Then a Cree Indian grammar, and some stories in Arabic.
Anatole France's La Revolte des Anges...
Luis de Camoes...
All topped off with Stephen St. Vincent Benet's John Brown's Body - a book length poem - with bookmarks made from Thanksgiving and Christmas napkins.

Some people have said that I am a person who thinks one religion is as good as another. Well, that's nonsense. I certainly would not want to be the center of attention in an Aztec sacrificial religious spectacle!
I suppose what these people meant was that I try to show respect for all religions... and that is a trick that they have not yet learned. Respect recognizes common humanity. It does not confer an aura of infallibility upon the object of its attention. I guess this is where some folks go wrong: they believe that showing respect is like money in the bank, and they do not feel like giving out spare change to religious ne'er-do-wells. Let them get a job in Christianity, like normal folks! Or in whatever religion it is that they themselves profess.
I learned not to go there. As far as I am concerned, the statement that one religion is as good as or not as good as another is a nonsense statement, and this frame of mind I kept from my days as a Logical Positivist working in Vienna with Moritz Schlick and Rudy Carnap.
The context " not as good as..." is usually reserved for "hamburgers grilled are/are not as good as hamburgers fried." or "six of one are/are not as good as half-a-dozen of another." and similar acute observations. I mean, what the heck! Should I use such a "fast-foodie" and non-chalant way of speaking about Holy things? Might as well say that I want my Divinity with a side order of Grace! And Super-Size it!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Capitol Hill Has Eyes 2

Eric Cantor in May over the disaster in Joplin, Missouri in May 2011:

The No. 2 House Republican said that if Congress doles out additional money to assist in the aftermath of natural disasters across the country, the spending may need to be offset.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said "if there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental."
Finding ways to offset disaster relief funds could be a significant challenge for House Republicans and would put their promise to cut spending to a true test. Roughly 100 people have died in Joplin, Mo., in the last few days after a tornado cut through the town.
Joplin, a southwestern Missouri town of roughly 50,000 people, is represented by Rep. Billy Long, a freshman Republican who replaced Roy Blunt when he went to the Senate. Missouri's Congressional delegation has six Republicans - two were elected in 2010.
In essence, no help unless we can find ways to cut a similar amount! How bizarre can one get? Disasters are pretty much surprise events, so why not budget for a goodly amount so you do not have to have a three or four month acrimonious debate about whether to send money to flood victims, whose benefits will be cut as a result, and whether taxes are sancrosanct!?

Movie Review: Capitol Hill Has Eyes

A great film and joint endeavor of just about the entire government and big media, along with lots of us common folks who get cameo appearances in the film.
We pretty much made it all up ourselves, having spent the last three months or so scripting a horror movie, Capitol Hill Has Eyes,  about the end of the world as we know it, and working like busy beavers on it, and finally getting it in by the deadline for opening on August 2.

It probably was over-budget, however.

Monday, August 08, 2011

It Would Have Been Great!

Some people think there will turmoil in the US markets. I do not see why there should be. The US Treasuries will show some effect, but to expect anything beyond that is a bit odd. We have been living with this albatross of downgrade around our necks for at least three months. There should be nothing new here.

Somehow I managed to get through the first years of my life without being invited to a Danse Macabre by Death and his train of followers. In 1962, I went to the Cuban Missile Crisis mixer and found I could not sink into the darkness along the walls of the gym, but had to jump out into the middle of the floor - in my white socks - and dance that jig of mortality.
Death did the Mashed Potato and said, "I never saw you before. Do you always come to these sock hops?"
He laughed and smirked at his mates, Panic and Fear, who seem to have slipped in past the chaperones. Where were those chaperones?  Why were Death, Panic, and Fear at the Sophomore Sock Hop? Had adults suddenly lost their much-bally-hoooed Norms and Morals and Rule of Behavior? Would they let us grow our hair long next?

Life went on.
Pretty soon bad news came in bundles: foreclosures, lay-offs, market panic, troubles in the Middle East...
Why am I living in an age where people are homeless or in fear of losing their homes? Why is the weather so extreme? Why has the Palestinian Problem continued for over 60 years? Why is there a market panic every month? Why did I have to watch the Higher Dysfunctionaries in Washington for the last three months stalk me as if I were Will Smith in I Am Legend?

I don't think people can take too much more of this Line Dance of Panic, Fear, and Death around the world.
Just imagine what we may have felt if the politicians in Washington had actually showed respect for each other - not to mention respect for us! - and actually formulated a plan that was reasonable and balanced and fair and represented a good first step forward! Just imagine! Just imagine how we would feel today! We could have felt good and hopeful, instead of walking around waiting for some form of political or economic axe to fall on us!
We could have felt like things were beginning to turn around; instead we have the constantly increasing pressure, the malaise, the sickness-unto-death of a constant threat of either external disaster or internal self-imposed disaster; we cannot stop an act of God - earthquakes will continue to crumble faulty nuclear plants - and we cannot reform our own acts to help ourselves.

Just imagine the sun coming up today on a country in which there had been respect and honor... instead of what we have now. It would have been great!


Sunday, August 07, 2011

Credit Rating

The S and P credit rating change should have no immediate effect, The effects would be possible higher interest rates, but that is not clearly going to be the case. Most of the effect of this change should have been incorporated into the markets over the past three months, especially on August 4.

I am suspicious of how S and P did it, also. It reeks of a quasi-political act from a ratings company that had severe problems evaluating risks over the past 10 years.


Friday, August 05, 2011


I would have called on the 14th Amendment for the power to pay the country's debts, and ignored the House's inability to up the debt ceiling.

I would have paraphrased Andrew Jackson, something to the effect that Mr. Boehner has made his own insolvency, now let him see whether he can enforce his penury!

Then I would have not paid for the pensions and health care for the members of the House. In fact, I would have revoked all privileges that cost anything.

I think most of us would have done similarly.

Note to The New Republicans

מנא ,מנא, תקל, ופרסין
Mene, Mene, Tekhel, Upharsin

Congrats to John Boehner for allowing the Republican Party to be defined by the Tea Party few. This will not soon be forgotten. When the Republican Party's historic wealthy backers - Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, e.g. - say that they are getting their dollars worth for their taxes, and that taxes are needed to balance the budget, yet you ignore this in favor of the puling rants of Grover Norquist, it is a day of... some sort, don't know what... day of reckoning, I guess.

I guess that the Republican Party will be split between the Medes and the Persians, breaking into the GOP and the Tea Party. That is good. It is better to be an intelligent and conservative voice of opposition than to wield power with the ineffective and suffocating hand of ideology.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Fight Club

"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer."
D. H. Lawrence

there is always time to make right
what is wrong,
there is always a time
for retribution
Susan Griffin,  I Like To Think of Harriet Tubman

I disliked the film Fight Club immensely when I first saw it, so much so that I refused to sit through the entire thing. It was only later, in 2006, when I did see it in full that I was insatiably drawn into the enchantment that it spread, for the film does end with four skyscrapers owned by credit card companies being demolished by explosions, planned and detonated by Edward Norton's increasingly self-sufficient schizoid character, Tyler Durden. (Norton's main character, the narrator, remains nameless.)
At this point, refer to a synopsis of the film on Wikipedia or the IMDb; I shall write as if we had all seen it. I will excerpt a portion of the Wikipedia article to give a taste of the analysis of the film:
The violence of the fight clubs serves not to promote or glorify physical combat, but for participants to experience feeling in a society where they are otherwise numb. The fights tangibly represent a resistance to the impulse to be "cocooned" in society. Norton believed that the fighting between the men strips away the "fear of pain" and "the reliance on material signifiers of their self-worth", leaving them to experience something valuable. When the fights evolve into revolutionary violence, the film only half-accepts the revolutionary dialectic by Tyler Durden; the narrator pulls back and rejects Durden's ideas. Fight Club purposely shapes an ambiguous message, the interpretation of which is left to the audience. Fincher elaborated, "I love this idea that you can have fascism without offering any direction or solution. Isn't the point of fascism to say, 'This is the way we should be going'? But this movie couldn't be further from offering any kind of solution."
I intend to write more fully on the "poesis" of Fight Club later. Now it is enough to know that my watching the film  - which features large structures of the financial district being demolished - was very different after September 11, 2001, a date which featured large structures of the financial district being demolished.
The film was no longer about any one thing or one topic anymore: by becoming prophetic, it had become much, much more, and it transcended all the precious analyses couched in the popular idiom, such as the Wiki article above; indeed, the film had transcended the conscious intent and meaning of its creators... which is a signature of great art.

Then we had the sequel in time, the sequel for which the film Fight Club was the uncanny prequel; we had the sequel which could have outrageously been entitled "The Financial System Strikes Back" after the manner of Star Wars in conscious and deeply wounding irony!
We had the Financial Meltdown of 2008.

At this point, I went back and viewed the film again, and then again. There was the promise of discord and discontent on the wind, and I wanted to go back to the original gospel - as it were - and see what was going down.

Then it occurred to me that John Brown's crusade against slavery before the American Civil War was a paradigm for the type of mixture of Ideology and Violence that was portrayed in the film. John Brown had fough in Lawrence, Kansas, 1856, when pro-slavery raiders were preparing to attack the town of free-soilers, and had fought elsewhere. He was bringing the fight into the homeland of the enemy when he launched his attack on Harper's Ferry, Virginia.
John Brown sacrificed even his sons in the cause of abolishing slavery.
His violence was not so abhorrent, though, that society excoriated him, rather people in the North sang a ditty, John Brown's Body, where "His soul's marchin' on", the tune of which eventually became "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" when war did break out.

So is John Brown a figure of Osama and Tyler Durden, or is he us? Over time, the film has become very dense with meaning to me, and there is no easy way to understanding, like Cliffs' Notes on Moby Dick which states that the White Whale is a metaphor for God;  there you have your term paper, and your comprehension of the work of art involved is just a millimeter deeper than the enjoyment of a summer vacation reader who reads on the beach, and at no time else.
Metaphor begets metaphor and understanding is a maze full of surprises, pleasant and unpleasant. Usually we stop before we go too far. We focus on what is at hand, and that will suffice. We do not wish to become like Ahab in his obsession... for the White Whale as God is a monstrous Understanding and Knowledge that exists just beyond the encompass of our boats and the harpoon barb of our intellect.

It is very complex and infinitely detailed. It is as labyrinthine as our emotions and desires. By studying the intricacies of art over time, we may come upon the meanings that are important for us here at this time. What profound and appalling lessons might John Brown or Tyler Durden have for us?

(note:  Tyler Durden's plot is called Project Mayhem, perhaps redolent of Helter-Skelter. Edward Norton's nameless narrator, whose job was to let auto companies avoid recall by calculating the cost of a recall against the cost of settlements with the families of the people killed in car crashes and mishaps, realized that the Extremism of Project Mayhem was anti-human; whether the extremism came from the Left or the Right, the outcome was the diminishment of the value of human life.
This is clearly illustrated in the episode when big Bob is shot while on assignment for Project Mayhem.)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


There are a number of people in Washington who have demonstrated that they are not competent to be in leadership positions of a country as important as the USA. At most, they are possibly fit to argue in condo board meetings.

The entire government has spent three entire months scaring the bejabbers out of every person in the country, and then they are surprised that consumer spending has decreased!

There is no justification for continuing this idiocy! They should all step down now, and good riddance.
We cannot endure... we cannot allow 18 more months of this!


Kobayshi Maru

 From Wikipedia article on Kobayashi Maru:

"In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the simulation takes place on a replica of a starship bridge, with the test-taker as captain and other Starfleet members, officers or other cadets, in other key positions. In the scenario of the 2280s, the cadet receives a distress signal stating that the Kobayashi Maru has struck a "gravitic mine" in the Klingon Neutral Zone and is rapidly losing power, hull integrity and life support. There are no other vessels nearby. The cadet is faced with a decision:

Attempt to rescue the Kobayashi Maru's crew and passengers, which involves violating the Neutral Zone and potentially provoking the Klingons into hostile action or an all-out war; or
Abandon the Kobayashi Maru, potentially preventing war but leaving the crew and passengers to die.

If the cadet chooses to save the Kobayashi Maru, the scenario progresses quickly. The bridge officers notify the cadet that they are in violation of the treaty. As the starship enters the Neutral Zone, the communications officer loses contact with the crippled vessel. Klingon starships then appear on an intercept course. Attempts to contact them are met with radio silence; indeed, their only response is to open fire with devastating results. There is no way to win the resulting battle, especially since the computer is allowed to "cheat" to guarantee defeat; the simulation ends with the understanding that the cadet's ship has been lost with all hands. The objective of the test is not for the cadet to outfight the opponent but rather to test the cadet's reaction to a no-win situation."
If you recall, Cadet James T. Kirk managed to "win" the Kobayashi Maru simulation by gaining access to the program code, and then re-writing it, so that the next day he was able to beat the program. Captain Kirk said he did not like "no-win" situations.
To step outside the program is to place oneself in a position where one has a privileged viewpoint; i.e., above the fracas going on at Starfleet Academy simulation laboratory, and to take advantage of being "outside" to re-write the program.
To move oneself "above" the world is to move super naturam, or supernatural.

Our religious geniuses have talked to us about that which is above the world. We have taken their words and turned them into "beliefs" which we immediately feed back into our intelligence, and use these beliefs as short-cuts to decision making in moral situations. In the context of Kobayashi Maru, we have only added options within the no-win scenario, which might put off the inevitable outcome, but cannot change it.

However, it is obvious our religious geniuses meant their teachings to point us to somewhere outside the confines of daily life with its repetitive communications with the environment; they meant for us to re-program our lives from a standpoint "outside the box", or "supernatural"!


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Subsidizing Transportation

From The American Conservative Center for Public Transportation :
Three Common Misconceptions About Transit and Passenger Rail

William S. Lind
... the dominance of automobiles is a product of almost a century of government at all levels subsidizing highways while taxing privately-owned electric railways (streetcars and interurbans) and the railroad companies that ran passenger trains. As early as 1921, government was pouring $1.4 billion into highways. By 1960, that number was $11.5 billion, part of which went to build the Interstate Highways that doomed the privately-operated, unsubsidized passenger train. Public transit received no subsidy until 1964...

Monday, August 01, 2011

Wicked: a Review

I read the novel Wicked. I will not mention the author, since (1) I have forgotten the name, and (2) this is not an amiable review, so we shall allow him to be outside this headmaster's office where all the nastiness will occur.

Briefly, I read the first Chap ("chapter", that is) and found it close to enchanting. The second chap thrust me away by  a dimension of at least the proverbial "ten foot pole", and the third chap left me adrift and threw stones at me.
I did not get to know chap four; gave it a red card.
I found the book to be very, very much like Terry Pratchett... without the whimsy and sense of gentle satire abounding; to be precise, the Oz of Wicked was Pratchett's Discworld... without the humour.


Faerie Circles

 Ruth at Synch-ro-ni-zing has a great "working-of-consciousness" (also called a "poem", from the Greek poesis = a working).

She incorporates an illustration from Arthur Rackham, described as Moon-Hair Woman:

I immediately recognized this lady, and commented:

She stands not far from shorelines, indicating an amphibious nature (just as the Egyptian Sphinx, or that of Boeotia in Greece).
Her footprints are the faerie rings seen within an enclave of young trees, where the grasses are gracile and tender, not rigid in structure like bulrushes and phragmites.