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Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Year To Remember

Meadowbrook Hall

We were walking about the grounds of Meadowbrook Hall yesterday. It was an overcast day, cool and windy. There was a large marquee up for a wedding reception, and there was a bridal party inside in the sun room having photos taken.

Meadowbrook was the house of Matilda Dodge Wilson and Alfred Wilson, and most of its grounds are now Oakland University campus and golf course and various buildings.
Danny Dodge was the son of the Wilsons, and we walked about the cabin that had been built for him. I suppose that is where he went to spend some time as a young man. We had gone through his bedroom in the past when we had gone into the Hall itself.

There is always a sense of tragedy. Danny died young, in his 20's.

We had always heard down hereabouts that he had drowned in Lake Michigan soon after his wedding to a girl of whom his mother did not approve. The girl, Lorraine, was from Manitoulin Island, which is in Lake Huron. They were married at Meadowbrook Hall in 1938.

But while we were in Empire this summer, we read a long magazine article on him that said that at the time he was playing with dynamite... literally, when some went off, severely injuring and burning him and some pals foolish enough to get drunk and play with dynamite in a cabin somewhere on Lake Huron.
Danny Dodge drowned, but he was also burned and injured. His drowning may have been a way to escape the pain.

I was thinking of his death as we walked. There was a lot of death this year.

Yet, it was also a remarkable year for growing things. My mother said early on that she had never seen the trees so lush and green as this year, 2013. (Of course, she also said that she had never really paid attention to trees before now; she turned 92 this year.)

The trees were incredible. The blueberries were everywhere and in great lots. The peaches were plentiful and tasty. The red bartlett pears are phenomenal. I actually was shocked, used as I am to bland produce over the last 30 years. I asked where these pears had come from, and how had they gotten by quality control where all remains of taste are wrung from them before going lout on the shelves.
The apple cider that I drank yesterday even had a bouquet, as if it were a rare wine. There are currents and undercurrents of taste within the cider!

Today I am going to put my father's roses to bed for the winter.

This year, they, too, made a great flourish of display, petaled pennants filling the stems growing everywhere. The old rambling rose I let grow through the old burning bush; the burning bush supported it's luxuriant growth, and when it bloomed, it was a fireball of reds that filled an area about 9 feet by 12 feet, all held up by the burning bush, which now in the autumn is itself beginning to glow red.


An Adventure In Art (48)

Hand in Hand  III

Jonah Eller-Isaacs
Starfire Artistry



From Hermano Juancito:

The author, Jeanne Schuler, a professor at Creighton and a former student of Fr. John Kavanaugh, ends her article with a list of five ways that he laid out “to stay rooted in our humanity in everyday life.” They are what sustain me.

   1 daily prayer and meditation to fight the emptiness endemic to consumer culture
   2 the cultivation of committed relationships in which we are known and loved
   3 the delight in things that simple living makes possible
   4 the lifelong work for justice
   5 ongoing involvement with those at the margins, who show us the beauty in simply being persons

When one of these aspects of life is lacking, I find myself floundering.

As I meditate upon this, I try to find the common threads.

First, consumer culture seems to be a way to talk about very short term connections with things easily named, such as "my computer" and "my friend", as well as things more complex, such as "my church", "my nation", etc.

This is related to "throw away" culture, since the throwing away is the end of the "relationship" that had existed between entities.

Second, the "committed relationships" speak of long term relations, in which friends are not "thrown away".

Third, delight in simple things implies recurrence and a long term relation with things, since simple things are those which are more likely to repeat themselves; complex events are not likely to exactly repeat.

Fourth, working for justice starts us on another ideal altogether, I think.

Fifth, this involvement seems to echo the third point of simplicity and the fact that simples repeat more often than complex things.
For example, "The Poor you will always have with you."

Find life and delight in the Simple... but be ready for the Big Show when it comes.


You Are There: Honduras

One never sees reruns of the old old-timey TV show You Are There. I think it was sort of grainy and poor quality when it was first run, come to think of it, but I remember how it put the viewers into a privileged perspective of watching great moments of history, and memorable bits like Robert E. Lee pushing a camera out of his way.

So, the Honduran elections are November 24th.

We should have a front row seat to watch how the American establishment acts here. We may get some CIA or NSA bits. We might see political assassinations live - there have already been many. We assuredly will get various conservative outlets yelling that the sky is falling and maybe calls for intervention.


para un comienzo.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Casting Call

It is hard to get the right people for the role.

Fifty Shades Of Grey had a lead actor, then lost him, only to replace him soon after.

Fifty Shades Of Grey....

I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but did not read any later books. I knew where it was headed.

Then there is our government:
Washington Post 
Inside former NSA chief Michael Hayden’s ‘interview’ with an Amtrak live-tweeter
But why would a sitting official be talking so openly about CIA black sites and rendition?

It took nearly half an hour, but then it clicked for Matzzie, a former Washington director of the political group He whipped out his phone and began tweeting.

“Former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden on Acela behind me blabbing ‘on background as a former senior admin official,’ ” Matzzie wrote. “Sounds defensive.”


Abu Ghraib combines a lot of these threads:  torture, degradation, sex...

Some say Abu Ghraib was an exception.
Not really. It was a facet of the culture. Not to my taste, but it was tasty to some.
Most find it a wretched affair, but there are some who enjoy it. It is a facet of our civilization. Not a big facet, thank God, but there it is.

What we see in the mirror may suddenly frighten us.

We do not know whether to laugh or scream.


Kingdom Of Oil, Kingdom Of Sand

On US foreign policy in McClatchy:
Some experts countered that it’s too early to tell how much damage has been done to relations between the United States and one of its longest Arab allies.
They noted that some differences may prove to be irreparable, such as U.S. reluctance to be drawn more deeply into Syria. As a result, the Saudis could step up support for the most effective Sunni rebel groups, which are those linked to al Qaida.
“The Saudis will arm whoever the hell they please and that will deepen the sectarian dimension of the conflict,” said Daniel Serwer, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former senior State Department official.
Let Saudi Arabia pave its own way to dusty death. Its collaboration in the destruction of Syria will result in the end of the house of Sa'ud:

The godly will see these things and be glad, while the wicked are stricken silent.


Bad Strategy

All the Republicans had to do is let the Affordable Care Act make its defective debut, and they would have made major points against Obamacare.

Instead, they cost the economy $24 billion, and the media was focused on the Tea Party idiocy.

Tough luck.


Friday, October 25, 2013

The Mystery Of Poetry: Abortion And Christmas 2008

Saharan Cypress at Tassili N'Ajjer

Sometimes poems are mysterious, but become domesticated as time wears on, as if a wild lion raised in the belt of civilization becomes as docile as a fat tabby cat.
But sometimes they remain mysterious and wild, running like wild children who are lost from their mothers - or who are cast out from their villages - and are raised by a troop of ghazelles in the Tassili n'Ajjer desert in Algeria; awesome youth,  remote, untutored and unkempt, yet bearing all the lineaments of humanity - and overwhelming in their beauty.
Not that I know anything about such existences. I was born into wealth and royalty.

This poem below still haunts me years on.
There is a line: 

Then from a tangled thicket
I grasped a ring of lapis lazuli,
the joint of 2 bones, and pupil
of the brilliant eye, and was born...

It still makes me faint-headed; it is as if God let me perform the miracle of life, and from nothing came wonderful being...and - when I reflect - I realize that is true, and I did have a child: I am a father.
Yet sometimes the creation and nurture of life strikes us as so mundane and pedestrian; we even give up the lives we consider superfluous; sometimes we think "father" or "mother" a really poor job description, and we pass on it for something better.

I never speak of abortion. Of course, there are many things I do not speak of.

The past and our grandsires do stand behind us, pushing us, and other beings-yet-to-be stand in front of us in our futures, pulling us, and that we are in the eye of a Present Immediate of a vastly baroque and byzantine creation... yet often - so often! - we stand squandering the magic, throwing away the baraka...
Such is life in the present. I am not a judge, for I am not learned nor am I saintly.

To grasp a ring and 2 bones, and thus to be the focus of the greatest!
To be born!
Let me live, and let me be born to the ferocious mothers of the desert, coming to the rivulet to drink in the wasteland where an oasis is a singular olive tree. Let me live, and let the wilderness teach me, and let me learn nobility and honor East of your Eden.
Let me live with troops and pods and packs, then, if cities are not to be my home. Let me run naked, if I am not to be swaddled in mankind's cloth.
If your societies have degraded life, send me to the badlands, where every force alive strives to increase life and well-being in the face of great odds!

Let me crown the earth. Let me be happy to have been born, and let the earth be happy to have borne me.

"You see these bananas. May your life have no bruises either."
Mother Of George

The Trees

I used to be a tree,
and grew upon a hill;
I used to be arboreal
and deep roots immobile
I thought imprisoned me.
Then from a tangled thicket
I grasped a ring of lapis lazuli,
the joint of 2 bones, and pupil
of the brilliant eye, and was born
my parents most loved fruit
in a storm of heat at
the rising of the Pleiades.
Now...O, now, I see...
and I shall be
soon again a tree,
maenad queen of windswept hills;
pastor triumphant of animals
that flock the virginal
nativity's flash of light!


reworked from 2008

Naming Holidays: Nichtzahlungfest

It was the Tuesday of Treasury Default Thursday week that the TV ceased working, leaving us to rely solely upon the caffeine in the morning coffee to give us the jitters.

We had no news... which itself was good news.

We blissfully went about our lives, happy and carefree.
I felt like a young William Jennings Bryan, declaiming before an audience of adoring fellow citizens that

"...You shall not crucify mankind upon a Cruz of Tea!"

It was then I decided to celebrate either Treasury Default Day on October 17th, or Treasury Default Thursday on the 3rd Thursday of October.
My son-in-law suggested extending the festivities a bit, taking in the 2 weeks prior to drop-dead-day, and making it into a fall festival, such as Nichtzahlungfest  (default fest), which would sort of walk over Oktoberfest, but we could come to some sort of meeting of the festival minds about it.

One could even have a special beer brewed for Nichtzahlungfest;  dark as bock, heizend und weizen, and substitute for hops large brimmers of  bitter tea.


Problems With Mark Cousins' "The Story Of Film"

 Le Voyage Dans La Lune

The IMDb, or International Movie Database, has some problems.

I was there and tried to post a correction about a George Méliès movie, but they wanted too much info for account verification, so I boogied, leaving them to find their own epiphany.

This is a bit more than nitpicking, because the Turner Classic Movies Channel has been showing The Story Of Film, directed and narrated by Mark Cousins, and this documentary on the history of film has some large and unusual errors of facts.
A friend brought this to my attention, and reproduce his email below. I checked into the Méliès matter, and was amazed to find that not only did Cousins allegedly have the info wrong, but so did the IMDb. All this took about 5 minutes to verify and check.

The problem I addressed is that George Méliès made a film named La Lune A Un Metre, and another film named Le Voyage Dans La Lune.
(Le Voyage Dans La Lune maybe be immediately recognizable since it contains that memorable image of the rocket ship lodged in the eye of the Man in the Moon.)

The English title for La Lune A Un Metre is The Astronomer's Dream, and is able to be seen on YouTube, where the English title credit will clearly state The Astronomer's Dream.
The English title for Le Voyage Dans La Lune is A Trip To The Moon  (which itself has problems of a nitpicking nature, but I will save that for a PS.)

IMDb has  La Lune A Un Metre  =  A Trip To The Moon, and this seems to be the source for the problem. Within the IMDb discussion forum on La Lune A Un Metre the writers touch on this confusion without definitely identifying it.

Here is the email:
I tried to watch The Story of Film for one more episode. But as I mentioned, I find his narration so irritating, with every sentence going up at the end and finishing in a question like some ValleyGirl-speak, that I turned the sound off and watched it with closed captioning. That helped, but didn’t correct some of his stupider comments.

In giving examples of Gregg Toland’s deep focus in Citizen Kane, he shows the scene where Cotton emerges from the office in the background while Kane types out his review in close up on the left hand of the screen.
Of all the great examples of deep focus used in Kane, he picks the one shot that is not done in deep focus, but was a split-screen shot.

He misidentifies Melies' “A Trip To The Moon” 1902,  one of the most famous of all pioneer films, as the “La  Lune A Un Metre” 1898.
He mistakenly dates the clip of DeMille's Squaw Man that he shows as 1918 instead of 1914. De Mille did remake Squaw Man in 1918. But it is the 1914 version that is the most significant one, and its claim to fame is that it was the very first feature film shot in Hollywood.

He says that Von Strohiem’s 1928 Queen Kelly “never saw the light of day”. Swanson eventually took control of the film and released her version in Europe and South America in 1931. In 1985 Kino International obtained all rights to the incomplete original version, restored it using stills, and released it on VHS.

In discussing Gone with the Wind he identifies the two people standing under a large tree in silhouette in the iconic sunset shot overlooking Tara as “the lovers”, when all the world knows is was Scarlet and Thomas Mitchell.

Unbelievably he calls United Artists (Pickford,Chaplin,Fairbanks, Griffith), American Artists.

One click to IMDB would have cleared up these egregious errors.
It seems that fact checking was poor. Even a trip to IMDb would not clear it up, since IMDb could have been the source of the error. Mark Cousins based his film upon his 2004 book The Story Of Film, and we wonder whether the factual error in-gathering started there. Mr. Cousins seems to have not checked the "experts", and from that one may conclude that there is a good deal of misinformation out there.

If my friend's critique holds up, some of the mistakes are truly bizarre coming from a film expert such as Mr. Cousins.



The title Le Voyage Dans La Lune and its translation as A Trip To The Moon bothered me as soon as I began looking into this last night.

The problem is that the French "dans" indicates to me "movement within a place, or into a place", as when I would say I went into a room: I would use "dans" for "into", or if I walked about within a room, I would use "dans".
But for "movement to a place", I would use the French preposition   

and a trip to the moon would be un voyage à la lune.

So we are bedeviled by titles being mixed up, and one of them seems odd to me. One of them seems to say "Voyage On or In the Moon", rather than "Voyage To The Moon".

So I went to YouTube, and I watched the film in the Méliès area, and the "trip to" the moon actually takes no more than 50% of the running time, whereas the rest of the film is devoted to a journey and its events "on and about the Moon".

Méliès conceived of his film as dealing primarily within the events on the Moon, not the events in getting to the Moon.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Google Glasses

Sgt. Apone

A very informative article on Google glasses in agronomy in the Agricultural News:


I think that these glasses - and they have been in the mill for years - have the potential to have an enormous benefit to industry.

Of course, now that I'm writing about it, I think of the devices that the Space Marines wore in Aliens (actually the Hot Toys version!), which were not exactly glasses, but people wearing the Google glasses make me think of Sgt. Apone.


The Dream Factory: More Floods

 Toledo, Ohio: I-280 Bridge Over The Maumee River

Last night, I finally had the first good sleep in three nights, so of course, I dreamt about floods, high water, and watery locales. Not Hawaii or Tahiti, but just good old US of A type quasi-rural, quasi-urban, semi-industrial waters and their riparian scenery.

I was on Harsens Island, Michigan, and we were driving or walking down by the golf course. I think we were driving, and that turned into walking, like the director had done the shot both ways, and the continuity person and the editor were on drugs.

Again, it was one of those interminably sunny days we had this year, filled with a coolish breeze, a sun gleaming like a polished aviator's button, few clouds, and more blue in the sky than all the Dutchmen's pantaloons in Holland itself.

The water was encroaching onto the east side of the road. It was on our left as we were headed south. It sometimes reached over the road and covered the neighboring flanks of the golf course, leaving small pools behind as it withdrew.
Of course, we wondered how this was all possible in low water time. It was more like 1984, when waters did cover many of the roads. What was happening?

At the end of the road was a point where some houses were. It was at this location that the golf course ended and the road took a slow turn to the west, and created an isolated triangle point where these houses had been built. As we arrived there, we saw a new house building in the upper end of the wooded triangle, and immediately south there was what seemed to be an abandoned house whose yard showed some signs of erosion distress.
Yet the new house seemed to be high and dry.

We thought that more trees would be helpful to hold the land against the water, and looked at a some tall trees that were very dark, and we said that it was too bad they had died from black cherry disease.
I thought prairie cordgrass should be planted to resist erosion.

Quick-like we were swimming in the St. Clair River beside a very odd freighter that was docked at the island, a freighter that seemed articulated and had large extensions that dug into the river like a back hoe. The freighter had a black hull, and the extensions were grey. We were aware that we best stay our distance from that freighter, in case it began digging down into the river.
Then I think we were swimming and the freighter was digging.
I thought it might be a sand boat. Some freighters used to dig sand from Lake St. Clair and transport it to Detroit back in the old, old days. I believe Construction Aggregates in Chicago used to do this in Lake Michigan, and Erie Sand and Gravel did it in Lake Erie.

Soon the freighter left its dock, and it looked very much to be articulated. We had talked about this strange appearance, because we had, of course, never seen such a freighter in the Great Lakes; never a boat that bent in the middle or aft section.
The extension were not visible, and must have been pulled in and collapsed into a berth below the deck which we could see... or maybe we just left them out of this variation of the dream sequence. The freighter was very black, and we clearly saw the hinged portion in the aft, and we realized that it was indeed articulated.
Then we saw that this aft section was actually a barge being pulled by cables, and there was no real joint within the hull...

And at this point we pretty much lost interest in the whole matter.

However, let me point out that within the past 2 weeks I had driven to Washington, D.C., and as we went through Toledo, Ohio on the I-280, I saw an Erie Sand And Gravel freighter tied up to the eastern side of the river.
We were on the new bridge, the Fantail bridge, as I call it, because it resembles a bird's fantail, but not the aft section of a  battleship.

The freighter was very clean looking... ship-shape and Bristol fashion, and I wondered if it were some permanent exhibit, because working vessels do not usually look quite so made-up bravo zulu, not to say magna cum snazzy, at this time of year nearing the end of the summer shipping season.

There have been many floods this year, many mortal deluges. I have not studied them, but I think the severity of many has been due to man made constructions and modifications to the natural flood area of rivers and creeks. Certainly a washed out road or bridge falls into that category, not having been designed for that once in a hundred year flood... or maybe it was designed for that hundred year flood back in 1906... or was designed in 1942 using engineering from 1906...

I do not know why I dream so much of water... other than rivers are the portals of wonders


By Chance

Who is Greyson Chance?
Is he real, or is he a fabrication? A Kafka-esque figure constructed to while away our time while we sit on-hold on the telephone, or otherwise lead lives of nastiness, brutishness, and shorthood?

I came across his blog. It is filled with odd bits of pop-speak, like
So, it all started on August 24th when Greyson tweeted that he was on his way to California and in his usual mysterious way chose not to tell anybody what he would be doing...
"Mysterious" Tweets?  Bizarre. Kim and Kanye are so plain spoken and straight forward in their Tweetsmanship, yet young, mysterious Greyson, on the other hand...

I shall have to hear some of his music. He seems to be in grade 9, so music is his forte; too young for quantum mechanics and such. But music is the ticket.
It must be rather good stuff, stuff like the angst of prom date time and sitting by the telephone waiting to call or be called, and that is worse thatn being on-hold.



We were talking about Twitter while in Washington, D.C. last week.

I said how marvelous it was in allowing us to keep up with important events. (You will have to excuse me. I was eating, and my mouth was filled with some seeds of sarcasm at the time.)

I mean, the paeans sung to Twitter are well deserved. Just think how great a role it played, Arab-Spring-wise!

If it weren't for Twitter, Egypt would still be living under a military dictatorship!



 The Media Awaits My Entry

I fell into a funk after the end of the government scrimmage last week. I mean, I always fall into a funk when I go through a period of time during which my well-being and that of my family as well as the entire country is threatened.

Since the fight ended up with conservatives becoming more radical and probably thinking that next time they will indeed force a default by the government on its payments....
... it just lets me know that in the near future, some pricking of my thumbs will most clearly indicate that something truly fearful this way comes.

I mean, how can educated people take the position that default is OK?
These are the clowns yammering for running government like a business.
Romney was supposed to be a great prez,... since he could "run a government like a business".
It's like the Pope saying he's mad at consumerism, and therefore will abolish the Feast of the Nativity on December 25!

So I read a great post about the trouble a young lady had with pills and a pharmacy and computerized systems,
and it got me out of my funk; it re-established a desire to communicate with the other intelligent entities that scurry about (like ants!) in my neighborhood and upon the entire Earth.

I left a comment and wondered whether the cost of telephone call time spent being on-hold were included in the yearly cost of medical care: something like 50 millions hours on-hold (with no speaker phone) equals a billion simoleons in lost productivity; something like a stat that economists always toss around.

I wondered if the true cost of Kafka's process in The Trial is being adequately reflected in the reports, or whether we should add in the hours spent wandering through the computerized bureaucratic halls of Prague. Also The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari comes to mind, and not in a good way... as if there were any good way for Caligari to pop into one's head.
I mean, one has to listen to either talks about precursors to the Nazis, or else some jabber about cinematographic history, during which one may be conned or duped into watching the entire film!

Unfortunately, this has a very bold grasp and relationship to another major item in the news: the computer system glitches of the Affordable Care Act implementation, so I may go back into a funk.
I take a minor comfort in the fact that when the flash computer-driven crash of the future occurs which sends us all back into the Stone Age - or at least to the level of the last minor glaciation - I can say that I told ya so.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Where Do We Go From Here?

O, Brother! My Cup Is Almost Empty!

I think Ted Cruz did his thing on the Affordable Care Act with the intention of making a total mess out of everything, so that the big boys and adults would have to patch things up, then he and his BFF Sarah Palin could stand up and say that they were stabbed in the back.

Sooner or later, they will again attempt to do the unthinkable, and in doing so will destroy America's standing in the world. On the morning after Cruz gets his way, we shall wake up just a few steps lower than Italy.

In order to forestall another cave-in by the Republican leadership to the Obama administration in the next confrontation, a right-wing radio stalwart took the position that Treasury default would be a nothingburger for holders of T-bonds and T-bills; according to this self-serving narrative, bondholders could get paid off on time and in full with tax proceeds, thus preserving government creditworthiness in the financial markets.

The default is coming again. We just have to wait in fearful silence.

Budgetary cuts are the cry, default will be the strategy, and what will happen is that Social Security and Medicare will suffer major cuts, pensions will vanish, and within a ten year period, enough elderly Boomers will have died during the crises and market downturns, so that they will no longer be a drag on the treasury.

In the 1990's, the USA was at a pinnacle,  unchallenged since the fall of the USSR.

Almost immediately we began to cut each other, as a group of Republican conservatives sought to impeach the Democratic President.

The old battles are arising to be fought yet again: rural against urban, non-union versus union... 

In the 1990's, I told my friend that the USA - standing in unequalled strength - was coming in for a time of troubles.
I had no details.
And I was embarrassed to say such things, because how could the mighty USA ever fall?

Soon after the 1990's, the bubble burst. Then there was 9/11, followed by a mindless march to war in Iraq, a march so unthinking and so unjustly based upon lies that I count it as the most startling thing I have ever witnessed.
Then our greed consummated in 2008 and the Great Recession.
Unemployment is still high, the economy is under siege by battling politicians, foreign countries watch us with bemusement or alarm.

We are not yet done.
I had a goofy economics based on a reverse Fibonacci series detailing years between financial crises.

The time interval does not matter. (In fact, since nothing has yet fallen apart in 2013, my model is wrong... so far.)

What matters is that there is a definite downward trend and expectations of problems rather than blessings.
That's what matters. Everyone thinks were marching to the wrong drummer, and all the drummer boys available seem to have guns in their pockets.


Community: A Definition

 A Fellowship

There is Freedom and there is its opposite, Order

Play combines Freedom and Order.
Examples are Ballet, Football, Dodge-ball, etc.

Ordinary life combines Order and Freedom
Examples are Work, Cooking, etc.

Too much freedom is Anarchy.
Too much Order is Authoritarianism.

Community is Politics which strives to balance Freedom and Order, and never loses sight of that homeostasis: nothing in excess.

We are on our way to excess, and we must develop Community as our goal.

Saudi Arabia Rejects Security Council Seat

Saudi Arabia is still our so-called ally, and they are funding sectarian wars across the globe. The true cost of Big Oil should include the dead who were involved in these wars, funded by Saudi petro-dollars.

Hannah Arendt once wrote about the banality of evil, meaning that from the humdrum and mundane flapping of innocuous butterfly wings, great storms of evil may come into the world, and scour the earth with their violence; then, everything settling down, we find only the butterfly's wings again, and we question our own experiences and understandings of the evil we have just lived through.

I think we live in a time of unadulterated evil, but it lies not in the venial weaknesses that we usually obsess about, but in a grand tapestry of villainy which is so widely spread that it forms the background for our lives.
Just the one instance of Oil has contributed to environmental degradation, sectarian strife, and political corruption, and it has entrenched a fanatic extremist religious group in Saudi Arabia, which was recently offered a seat on the UN Security Council.

In Syria this year, we have witnessed a Saudi-backed rebel take a bite out of the heart of a dead enemy.
An aberration, perhaps?
A rogue individual whose acts are not representative of the rebellion and its backers.

Beyond the appalling barbarism, there is an even more appalling echo of evil here, for when Hamza, the paternal uncle of the Prophet, was killed the following occurred:
[the one who killed Hamza] slit open his stomach and brought his liver to Hind bint Utbah, whose father Hamza had killed at Badr (see above).
Hind chewed Hamza’s liver then spat it out. “Then she went and mutilated Hamza and made anklets, necklaces and pendants from his body and brought them and his liver to Mecca.”
and this Hind was the grandmother of Yazid, responsible for the killing of Hussein ibn 'Ali.

Evil may be banal, but it never stops cycling and recycling.

We are no longer living at 1822 Camino Palmero Street - Ozzie and Harriet's house. Our world soon will no longer resemble our memories.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Over The Last 24 Hours

Nothing important happened.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Climate Change

painting: Yerka

Miyazaki's ハウルの動くクローゼット


Howl's Moving Storage Closet

Thanks to Hayao Miyazaki.


Halloween Quotes

 Halloween   by   Yerka

Halloween is coming soon.

1) Cry 'Havoc!", and let loose the Candies of Night!

2) I do not eat.... Snickers!

3) Ill met by moon-light, fair Butterfingers.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Rosemary For Congress

My rosemary plant is dying.
It cannot survive the winter. The attar of its leaves makes me feel good.
There are a few things that just make me feel good, just as they are, without any special preparation of artifice. Rosemary is one, ginger another, cinnamon and cloves and cherries; perhaps good oranges not too domesticate and broken beneath the genetic demands of commerce... they make me think of ancient oranges and bergamot of Andalusia in Spain, where they grew in the courtyards of the Fatimid Caliph: the trees were pollarded and held their fruit easily, bright white beacons to the honeybees, bright orange pharos to the thirsty men and women...

I think of Tahrir Square in Cairo; people should gain freedom and liberty in places set off apart from the mundane by the heraldry of noble trees and plants; we gain sustenance and succor from them as they provide for us and guard us.

Our Congress, our Parliaments, Our Allthings should place their deliberations in the confines of orchards and walk and talk together along hills and tors and across bournes of fields. Stop and smell the Rosemary. Discover the uses of all the growing things.


Cutting Ourselves Week 3


Words From The Wise

We must accept the simple fact that the science of Nature is not nature itself , but a part of the relationship between human and nature , and therefore also dependent on humans ( Heisenberg said it in 1955 ) .

Luís Alcácer


Local Observatories

Observatories - astronomical or meteorological - within 5 miles of me.

The first is astronomical. The dome in the first is just back of the garage; the dome can be seen on the roof.

The second is a smaller meteorological unit.

Can you name your local observatories, either astronomical or meteorological?


Monday, October 14, 2013

Palin and Cruz

 True Tea Partyers

Over the weekend, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz had a Tea Party get-together. Some of their friends yelled "obama, put down the Quran!", some yelled at the police keeping order, saying that they were Cops from Kenya, and some tore up barricades and took them to the White House to throw.

We know who the constituency of the Tea Party is.
We know to whom they speak, and to whom they appeal.


The Greatest Success And The Greatest Disaster

Science News

On New Year’s Day in 1958, after a screaming fight with his wife, U.S. Army psychiatrist Douglas Kelley grabbed a poison pill from his study, shoved it into his mouth and swallowed.

So begins journalist El-Hai’s investigation into the mind of the man who sought to understand the minds of Nazis. At World War II’s close, Kelley, head of psychiatric services at a military hospital, was given a new task: preserving the mental health of Nazi leaders awaiting trial.

To this task Kelley tacked on a secret mission. He wanted to ferret out what made these men tick — to find some mental seed shared by the criminals. What he found haunted him: Nazi leaders were not insane or even unusual. After months of psychological testing, Kelley determined that the Nazis shared two traits: They were goal driven and tireless workaholics. “Their like could very easily be found in America,” he wrote.

That knowledge may have led Kelleyto suicide, El-Hai suggests. Twelve years after leaving the trials in Germany, he killed himself with the same poison one of his patients, top Nazi Hermann Göring, took before he was to be hanged.

After his psychological analyses of Nazis, Kelley worried that such atrocities could recur. His work had convinced him that people with the killers’ traits, combined with ambition and excessive patriotism, could be similarly corrupted.

With full access to Kelley’s notes on Nazi psychology, El-Hai infuses his story with the messy, compelling details of people’s lives. These tug the reader inside Kelley’s head for an engrossing exploration of human nature, sanity and despair.
What differentiates success from disaster is the goal one seeks, the motivation, and the means to achieve it.
A noble goal may be defeated and end in catastrophe, but the effort involved elevates every man and women that were united in trying to accomplish it.

The human beings who are capable of the greatest successes are the same as those who are capable of the greatest horrors.

The only difference is in the souls and hearts of those involved. How great are our hearts?


An Adventure In Art (47)

Oil and Onions

Theresa Rankin
Theresa Rankin: A Persevering Painter


My Goofy Economics

My Favorite Economist, Katerina Wittgenstein

If you have ever read my posts about my "intuitive" view of this economic structure, I had been aware of a reverse Fibonacci series of economic disasters... or mini-disasters.

A Fibonacci series is  {1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34..., } where the nth term = (n-1)th term + (n-2)th term.

A reverse Fibonacci just flips it:  { ...., 34, 21, 13, 8, 5, 3, 2, 1}

If all is clear - and it should be, for we are at the very end of this series and we need only pay attention to  8, 5, 3, 2, 1 - we come to the present day.

I maintained that the Great Recession of 2008 was part of the series, and the previous part was the Dot Com Meltdown in the time period 1999-2001.

So, 2000 (average) + 8 (Fibinacci term) = 2008, which indeed was the year of the next disaster, the Great Recession.

Over the last few years, I had lost a great deal of confidence in this "intuition" of mine, because the timing seemed out of whack.

However, today I look and I see a looming USA default.

2008 + 5 = 2013 !!

or, the year of the Great Recession plus the next term in the Fibonacci series is year 2008 + 5 = year 2013
The years we are dealing with are:    2000, 2008, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019
(the bold print years are past, the underlined is now, and the rest are in the future.)

The only good thing one could say about my goofy economics is that is has worked so far.
Personally, I feel 2016 will be........... the interesting year. I won't go into details, other than 2016 will be the culminating year when the Republican-created crises of 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 itself will come to fruition

That is why I wish to create a sanctuary. Can you blame me?
I have had this type of premonition for an extremely long time, and I would rather be thought goofy and daft than be proven correct, but I am merely a messenger, and not a very good one.


I take back that bit in the last sentence, " I am merely a messenger".
I am myself and speak for only myself.


The Desperation Of Plenty

Pix:  Yerka

China Calls It

 Monday Morning Quarterbacks

Yahoo News this morning:
While US politicians grapple with how to reopen their shuttered government and avoid a potentially disastrous default on their debt, the world should consider 'de-Americanising', a commentary on China's official news agency said Sunday.
"As US politicians of both political parties (fail to find a) viable deal to bring normality to the body politic they brag about, it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanised world," the commentary on state news agency Xinhua said.
In a lengthy polemic against American hegemony since World War two, it added: "Such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated.
"A new world order should be put in place, according to which all nations, big or small, poor or rich, can have their key interests respected and protected on an equal footing."
It is hard to argue with the logic.

The American spirit and ethos has ended in a true mess. The Monday Morning Quarterbacks of the near future will be analyzing this for a long time.


An Adventure In Art (46)

Brancaster Straithe

Mo Teeuw
Mo Teeuw Art


Sunday, October 13, 2013

The House Gives Up

Right about now, a little Francisco Goya is in order to show the Tea Party destroying the Future, eating the hopes and dreams of the Future:


 The Tea Party Congress Devouring Its Children 

Based on Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya.


Time To Remember Augustus... And John

During a wedding reception Friday, I was able to talk about the parallels between Rome and the USA, but I was speaking of the Augustan Age, and I said that the people of the Republic were tired of the continual alarms and, not wishing that they be further impoverished, welcomed and actually entreated Augustus to step end and end the Republic.

What will we do?

The same group of people who thought that refraining from an ill-advised bombing of Syria was a sign of weakness seem to believe that defaulting on one's bills is a sign of strength.

Conservative thought is dead in this country.
It exists solely in the buffoonery of Ted Cruz who can talk nonsense for 21 hours, but cannot put together coherent and constructive thoughts....


This post is not going in the way I wanted it to.

As I write this, my wife in the background is telling my son-in-law about the time in first grade when my daughter came so close to dying... and I cannot stand the pain of remembering.

And just as bad is the realization that my children live in a country run by a Minority of Dunces, who do not care how much the rest of us may suffer.

John Muhammad was the symbol of the Coming Death from Washington, D.C.

We can no longer evade the Snipers from the Tea Party and their Republican enablers.

I am sick of it.

I am sick of the Pin-Heads of the Tea Party bringing us their boxes of pain.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

The State Of Eternal Autumn

 Mott Park

During the second week of September, I picked up my wife at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, and we spent some time afterwards viewing the industrial ruins of Flint and some of the Flint work of the architect Alden Dow, member of the Dow family of Midland, Michigan and Dow Chemical.

In particular, there was a house on Nolen Drive that at one time in the dim past was featured in LIFE magazine as a house of the future with a kitchen similarly of the future.
The neighborhoods in Flint are surprisingly close together for most of us suburbanites. Nolen Drive is merely a hen's race from the spot where the massive "Chevy In The Hole" Chevrolet Flint complex used to be.

The Flint River which flows serenely through Mott Park across the street on Nolen Drive also flows throw Chevy In The Hole, girded and cinctured, however, in channels and banks of concrete hardly 1/2 mile away.

What struck me most was the coloring of the flora.
It was still summer, and only about 0.5% of the trees even hinted at turning color, but there was a tincture of yellow everywhere.

The park across from Nolen Drive is large enough to have contained a small golf course. The course is closed, and I do not know how long it has been closed, but it the grass did not seem to be cut very frequently.
When we were there, the grass had just been mowed, and there was a residual smell of cut grass in the air. The clippings either were not picked up, or there was so much and it was so long that it defied the pick up system of the lawn mowers: the grass lay in sheaves everywhere, coating the landscape like a old timey German 50 Pfennig note with a woodcut of fräulein gathering sheaves of wheat and barley.

The stems and sheaths of the grass were not so much green as light yellow or beige. The grass was not some golf course fescue that was mothered and tenderly cared for, but had given way to a rougher cord grass variety with a hardy tan/gold/beige and green stems.

The autumnal tints covered half of our perspective, and the eternal Fall of the gold course seemed to mesh with the house of the future that never was to create an enduring symbol of our frustration.

The house on Nolen Drive had a metallic garage door, and it had a few dents in it. Since it was of a kind of appearance I had never seen anywhere before, I thought there was a good chance that it was still original construction.
I had a feeling of the Present battering the Past, trying to break in and tear the place up...

I still have a feeling of Melancholy when I think of it.
There are more tragedies connected to it, that I do not feel I may speak of here, so when I say "melancholy" there is more human pain than merely a kitchen of the future gone awry.

Flint sometimes seems filled with thousands of voices of the past overwhelming hundreds of the present.

The Eternal Autumn of Flint denounces the policies which destroyed our economy !!


Friday, October 11, 2013

Congress Makes The Laws

However, it is not above the law. I cannot deny the people their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by devastating the economy.
It is not above the laws of Nature and of Nature's God.

You cannot filibuster those laws and rights away.


Gotcha! Senator Cruz Punks The Nation

Senator Cruz

Betcha thought I actually had a plan!
Policy! To damned hell with policy! We have no plan nor policy! In fact, we don't need plans. I don't have to show you any stinking plans, you damned cabrón !!


Congress Syndrome

Definition:  The inability to function without a cliff-hanger crisis. Even in a crisis, the functioning is seriously impaired.
10/10/2013 at 12:19pm
Lapsed Farm Bill Leaves S.D. in Limbo

The failure to pass a farm bill means South Dakota ranchers who lost tens of thousands of cattle in last week’s blizzard can expect no help from the Department of Agriculture.
By Tim Marema

KELO-TVA South Dakota rancher works cattle that survived last weekend's blizzard, in this screen grab from a South Dakota TV station news report.South Dakota cattle ranchers who lost tens of thousands of head of cattle in last week’s blizzard are ineligible for federal assistance because the program that previously protected livestock owners expired with the farm bill two years ago.

A new bill, which would have reauthorized the livestock disaster protection program and covered ranchers retroactively for losses in the last fiscal year, is stuck in Congress.

That means South Dakota ranchers – and any other American livestock owners who suffer losses – are on their own.

Estimates of the number of cattle lost in the South Dakota blizzard this weekend go as high as 5% of the state’s herd, or about 180,000 head.

“The only thing more appalling than the deaths of thousands of cattle is the inaction of our Congress, the House of Representatives in particular,” wrote John K. Hansen in an email. Hansen is president of the Nebraska Farmers Union.

“For the past two years, thanks to the inaction of Congress, the authority for or the funding of the livestock indemnity program has expired,” Hansen wrote. “This is one more good reason why we need to pass the new farm bill rather than extend the old one. This is a national disgrace. “

While Senator Cruz and his Tea Party cronies grandstand, nothing gets done and the people suffer.
Where is Senator Cruz, by the way? He seems to have disappeared. Perhaps he shut himself down.


Our "Friends" And Crimes Against Humanity

It has been determined that the Syrian rebels have mostly likely committed crimes against humanity, and that this was done in August past, when the clamor for supporting these same war criminals with US bombings of the Syrian government was nearing its peak.

These are Crimes Against Humanity of the "really real type", not like the Weapons Of Mass Destruction of the nonce, notional, dream-state, maybe-yes/maybe-no type.
11 October 2013 Last updated at 06:14 ET
Syria rebels executed civilians, says Human Rights Watch

Rebel forces in Syria killed as many as 190 civilians and seized more than 200 hostages during a military offensive in August, Human Rights Watch says.

A report by the US-based group says the deaths occurred in villages inhabited predominantly by members of President Bashar al-Assad's minority Alawite sect near the coastal city of Latakia.

It said the findings "strongly suggest" crimes against humanity were committed...
The group has previously documented atrocities by pro-government forces.

In essence, an incredible number of our leaders demanded that the US Air Force become Air Al Qaeda.

President Obama resisted this lynch mob mentality, and accomplished what I consider to be one of the few tru;ly important events in recent times: resisting the military-industrial-surveillance  AND foreign-government-lobbyist complexes and to, thus, maintain a peaceful area of diplomacy while others madly fight.
He also resisted the impulse to double down on a silly and ambiguous statement about red lines earlier on.

It is immensely important that peace be given a chance.... no matter how many foreign interests have bought and paid for our leaders and Congress.


Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Emergence Of The Ego

I am brief in this note. Current events upset me so greatly that I find it hard to concentrate at times.
My morning nausea at being in this place at this time has passed, however.
It is like living a curse: may you live in interesting times!

(This is more notes for me rather than an essay for you...)
Anyway, there has been some research on languages dealing with those that have the structure S-V-O, or subject, verb, object, such as English: Paul kicked the ball, and those with the structure S-O-V, or subject, object, verb, such as Japanese: Paul the ball kicked.

Languages such as Japanese often have some way of marking the object, in order to clearly distinguish it from the subject which immediately precedes it.

Fair enough.
What interests me is situations where the subject is not needed to be expressed.
For example, if there were a situation where there was a herd of communicators (not necessarily human beings... other animals communicate) eating and there was a distinct possibility of predators being present, the alarm could be sounded and could be construed as "(I spot) cougar! Flee!"

There could different expressions to flight for differing predators, depending on their method of attack.

So we have verb and object:  (I) spot threat-of-some-type!

The "I" or the "we" if there are many sentries is not expressed in lower animals.

When the "I" or "we" begins to be distinguish from "you" or "he/she/it/they", then the ego and self consciousness arises. The emergence of other egos forces the "I" and "we" to be expressed:  I have spotted a cougar! Flee!

If there is an award for cougar-spotting, even more reason that the subject must be clearly differentiated from the rest of the possible communicators.