Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lawn Order

reprint


I went to visit my brother and give him some money for ID. The State charges for ID. The STate insists you have ID, then they charge you for it.
He needs ID.
His PO (parole officer) has been after him to get his ID.
He said it was something to do with his DNA test.
"DNA test?", I said. "Why a DNA test?" I was wondering just how frivolous one can be with one's money.
"Anybody with a felony conviction gets a DNA test", he said.
"Oh," I mused, wondering at the marvelous technology and the cesspool of the Justice system. All the great tech in the world gets a lot of information and hands it over to creepy guys that hang around the county courts.

His PO says that if he does not get his ID, then it will be a misdemeanor.
"Oh...," I decided to be willfully obtuse. "...perhaps they'll give you another DNA test for the misdemeanor."
"Yeah," he laughed.
It was debated whether he should bring it up to his PO, something like saying that he knew he needed another DNA test for failing to procure ID, producing a plastic specimen cup, brandishing it in her parole official face, and asking for a Playboy.

His PO was a good looking lady. I saw her once. Twice actually. Well, more like 11 times, if the truth be told. And that omits the glimpses in the rear view mirror.
This all came about one afternoon earlier in the year, in the summer of 2007, when I had taken him to the store. He has no car and no driver's license ( a license being a piece of ID).
My job is to help, I guess. So as we were finishing getting the necessities, I asked whether he needed some beer.
"Sure," he said. "That always comes in handy."

He's not supposed to drink. Whether that is court mandated or comes from his history of hepatitis C, I do not know. I just know he does, and why make him walk to The Licker Locker after I go?
Furthermore, he lives, as it were, in the sights or cross hairs of three bars or liquor service restaurants. He is firmly triangulated and they have him cornered.

So we got a 12-pack of suds.
We checked out and took the groceries to the car, baking in the sun, where we put the bags in the back seat and the beer in the front seat, between us, in order to keep it cool when we drove, right in front of the A/C.
As we arrived at the parking lot by his abode, there were two guys on cell phones slowly walking up and down the street, now and then entering a door. I turned the car in and noticed two ladies standing in the thoroughfare and talking.

"Gosh," I said. "It's nice to see two people who aren't talking on cell phones."
"Gadfrey," he said. "That's my PO!"
Now he said this with a bit of warmth, leading me to conclude that this was not an opportune crossing of paths. He threw his left arm over the 12 pack, trying to obscure its cover, a cover painted and inked with vibrantly cool propaganda, dancing bears, gushing mountain streams, and happy brewmeisters.
"You don't want her to see the beer?" I asked.
"NO."

So I ducked down a side aisle and began cruising the parking lot, up and down, back and forth, just as I usually do when looking for a meter with time on it.
Fortunately, the lot was just big enough that the ladies did not eventually decide that they needed to unlimber their MACE cannisters on us.

They were both blonde. Well, who isn't these days? I mean, who of their age and in Port Desespoir. They were paradigmatic emblems of the femme d'affaires; no-nonsense women of the world.
Certainly the one called " my PO " must be. I kept trying to get a gander of her in the rear view.
I couldn't approach too close. I had thoughts of dominatrices scowling at us.
Crash...or Clunk actually...the 12 pack fell forward off the seat!
"That ought to be fizzy enough now." I said.
My brother scrabbled the cube of liquid delight back onto the seat.
"Why don't we drive by and pop one open and spray them?" I said.
He laughed.

Then the A/C quit.
It had always been iffy. I usually did not use it. I think what happened is that the freon that was left decided it was time to join its brothers and sisters up, up, way up there in the Green Pastures of the Ozone Layer.
So the beer was not only stirred and shaken, but it was now going to warm up.

We drove on.

After a while, I began to wonder what happens to a 12 pack in critical condition. Would it eventually explode and take out half of downtown? Bullets of sweat began to form upon our troubled brows.
Finally, the gab fest ended. The two blondes lionesses shook their manes, and each strode off as regally as Ayesha, looking for men to enslave and yoke to their chariots.

Slowly, we crept around a corner, watching the PO get into her car, fiddle with the seat belt, pick up a cell phone, then think better of it, and start the engine. Her red back ups glowed promisingly.
I came up slowly, looked around, saw she had 1 hour left on her meter, and slid the 1991 Marquis into the spot as gracefully as a an admiral guiding the USS Forrestall into dry dock. Actually, I think the Marquis has more "flight deck" than does the Forrestall.

We slowly got out of the car. The coast was clear. I carried the loot to the front door of his building.
It was a close call.

--

ps
Oh, "lawn order" is for "Law n' Order"

Another Bombing... A Good Bomb Or A Bad Bomb ?

Damascus Bombing



When bombs go off in Boston, they are "bad". When they go off in Damascus, some people who abuse their access to the public forum state that they are "good", at least in the sense that they are obviously set by people we seem to be supporting.
BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22351172
At least 13 people have been killed and many more injured by a powerful explosion in Syria's capital, Damascus, state media and activists say.
A bomb is believed to have been detonated in a square in the central district of Marjeh. Civilians and security personnel are among the dead.
Sporadic gunfire was heard in the area after the blast...

Tuesday's bomb attack took place near a hotel, shopping centre and interior ministry building in Marjeh, a busy commercial district, the BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut reports.
Dozens of civilians are reported to have been injured by the powerful explosion
It is not yet clear what the target of the attack was or who was behind it, our correspondent says.
We may assume that the Syrian government is not bombing its own capitol. Some of our commentators have suggested that, but it is too disingenuous by far. So there is a bombing - rather like our Boston bombing - and it was the work of one of the rebels whom we are being pushed into supporting.

We really should make up our minds whether a public bombing that murders civilians is a "feather in one's cap", or whether it is a "black eye".  We really should. It is much too confusing to condemn Islamic radicals for the Boston bombing, yet then to listen to our own neo-radicals pressure for military support for Islamic radicals in Syria.

Maybe we should ask Netanyahu again.
--

Acceptable Statistics... Thumbs Up, Gun Dudes !

A student at LaSalle High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, shot himself with a semi-automatic gun in school yesterday. He is in critical condition.

This is an acceptable statistic.

Thumbs Up, Gun Dudes and Dudettes !





--

Hari Seldon's Time Vault

Hari Seldon
note: I used a photo of Asa Kasher to represent Hari Seldon.


The Time Vault opened again yesterday. Most of my friends do not attend, thinking that "time vault" is some sort of hop, skip, and jump Olympic-type sports thing, only in time as well as space, and they are too jaded to care what prognostications come from the Foundation on Terminus anymore. 
In fact, most of them think that Dune's Shaddam IV is no other than a thinly veiled representation of Saddam Hussein, presciently written just before Saddam came to power in a big way. 

They would rather plug into Big Media: turn on, tune in, and really substantially drop out from anything meaningful.

Anyway, so Hari Seldon pops into view, still smoking a cigarette, by the way. These videos were made many years ago. 
So Hari Seldon is there, and he like sez so, meh, so we're well on the way to a police-military-intelligence-weaponized state, and he paints a pretty good description of the good old USA going around killing blokes with "aero-drones" (as he cutely calls them), and how our habit of killing scads of people who happen to be having tea in the same restaurant that the 3rd most important organizer of Al Qa'ida does, sort of comes back to haunt us by making people want to come here and bomb us.

Oh, then some stuff about flash crashes of stock markets and loss of liquidity...

Yadda-yadda-yadda.

So he ends, like, saying he voted fer Romney, ha-ha, hack and cough, ha-ha... just kiddin' ! But seriously, he sez it's like we already should have the answer of what to do. Doh!
Well, if we had any glimmer of what to do, we would not be traipsing to the time vault, would we? I'm just asking.

--

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tragedy After Tragedy and All Self-Inflicted




(Reuters) - Tens of millions of U.S. dollars in cash were delivered by the CIA in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags to the office of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for more than a decade, the New York Times says, citing current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.
The so-called "ghost money" was meant to buy influence for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) but instead fuelled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington's exit strategy from Afghanistan, the newspaper quoted U.S. officials as saying.
"The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan", one American official said, "was the United States."
The CIA declined to comment on the report and the U.S. State Department did not immediately comment. The New York Times did not publish any comment from Karzai or his office...
 http://news.yahoo.com/millions-cia-ghost-money-paid-afghanistan-presidents-office-105518747.html

Where does one begin with this?

The entire leadership of this country from the top to somewhere around where the middle class begins is corrupt.

--
Photo: Yahoo News

Light



Aunt Wilma's vase is not Lalique;
Phoenix Glass of glowing salt that's kasher,
brimming with the sweet of challah,
naked table putting on the dress of shabbas:
naked as in Solomon's Song,
young hearts like
gazelles of mankind
run like the dickens
to greet sundown.

--
note
for some reason, something glowing reminds me of molten salt.


Lost and Found at the Corner of Belief and Unbelief Streets


Sim Street Corner


If I were to "find" religion, you would find me chattering on about "beliefs" and other throw-away notions. Perhaps I would go from door to door trying to give people a peek at the "good words" hidden within those holy scriptures we all hold so dear.
I know I would have an entire phantasmagoria of rules and do's and don'ts.

I found God instead.
He was very pithy and brief. He smiled, said something like "We had been waiting for you", pumped my hand happily, and walked off down the street... a street that for some unknown reason I think of as being near an old-time baseball park, maybe in Brooklyn near the Polo Grounds.

I was glad I did not receive some new "revelation" that I felt it necessary to preach. That would cut into my Halo 3 time.




--

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The New Middle East

Good blog on Middle East affairs.
http://new-middle-east.blogspot.com/


--

Reconciliation



From the Ottawa Citizen:

Truth and Reconciliation: What Joe Canadian needs to know
By Steve Bonspiel, Special to The Gazette April 26, 2013
MONTREAL - The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada opened hearings Wednesday in Montreal at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel that will run through Saturday — and there are a number of reasons you should be there.
The commission was created after the $1.9-billion residential-schools settlement in 2007 between the government of Canada (along with partner Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist churches) and the Assembly of First Nations.
Frank disclosure of the atrocities committed at church-run, government-backed residential schools have finally started to come out into the open since the settlement. An apology by all federal political parties, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House of Commons in 2008, was seen as a step forward...
Progressive countries deal with their past, and try to build for the future.

The US Congress has apologized for enslaving populations and moving whole nations and genocide, but we have never addressed the karmic inheritance for these actions. If you do not believe that the heinous sins of the fathers are visited upon the heads of their children, you are willfully obtuse.
Case in point, we are still reaping the harvest of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, which began over 60 years ago.

--



Goodbye, Egypt Independent

Al Masri Al Yaum is pulling the plug on the Egypt Independent after about 4 years.
Too bad.

 حظا سعيدا
 Good Luck





click on picture to enlarge

--

Postcards From Lebensraum

In the news today from Lebensraun, or what used to be called the West Bank. It is "west" of Jordan, hence the name. It is also "east" of other nations, who are bumping along haphazardly - so we are told - to the East.
...soldiers have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse about 500 Palestinian villagers marching towards an illegal settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank.
Friday's procession, the largest of its kind for years, followed charges by Palestinians that... settlers, whose caravans abut village land, had attacked them twice this week.
Around half a million settlers have moved to the West Bank and East Jerusalem since Israel captured the area, along with the Gaza Strip, in 1967.
Growing populations need space; that's all there is to it.
The word "illegal" has recently defied all efforts at definition.
--

Studying French Botany

This is my weekly poem from the other blog of mine, and I thought to include it here since it reminds us all of Coleridge and Xanadu.





 Absinthe - Wormwood




Rêves d’Absinthe

Saint Luc, Saint Luc, si gentil que tu sois;
utile et gentil, Saint Luc, avec moi:
marjolaine, romarin, thym,
et encore un peu d'absinthe;


Saint Luc, Saint Luc, pilote auto,
miel et vinaigre avant le feu;
je dors dans le temple à colonnade
couronnée de feuilles d'acanthe!


--

St. Luke, St. Luke, however kind you may be,
helpful and kind, Saint Luke, to me:
marjoram, rosemary, thyme,
and a bit of absinthe.

Saint Luke, Saint Luke, auto pilot
honey and vinegar before the fire:
I sleep in the temple with the columns
crowned with acanthus leaves!

--

notes

I woke up this morning with "absinthe" in my head. I seek old Coleridge having myself overdosed on fried chicken and popsicles... which is just as good as what he "did", apparently.

I had been reading about wormwood - or absinthe - in an old herbal, and there was a bit on love charms and philters addressed to various saints.
The herbs probably make up a love charm, Saint Luke is in charge of the whole process... and I apparently put him on "auto pilot" so as to not interfere with whatever dreams of love may come.

The temple with columns crowned by acanthus is a temple with Corinthian pillars, and I assume it is the temple to Artemis, or Diana of Ephesus. If you remember the well known statue of her, she is rightly called "amazon", a term which I read as initial "a" intensifier + "mazon"...    for obvious reasons if you recall the statue.
The usual books on mythology read the intial "a" as a "privative", but that is a very facile and thoughtless translation.

--

The Preliminaries

I am going to soon discuss the book Bel Canto.

I do not summarize books at length. If someone has not read it, fine. I do not recall it being as popular as the Grey Shades Of Sadism books... but then, what could be as pop as sadism these days?

I do not use the concept "spoiler alert", even though I have alerted you to this fact ahead of time.

--

Friday, April 26, 2013

Studying Russian




Россия имеет свою логику;
Россия имеет свою красоту;
каждая галактика... Вселенная

--

Inflated With Propane




Why do I care about Syria?
It is more the case that I have had enough wars and enough lies to pave the way to war. I think there is something brutally amiss with our leadership, and the way in which they view the world.
For me, the War in Iraq based on a little faulty intel was a enormous karma, an act which cries out for redress, yet in the public forum is strangely ignored.

It is tantamount to what South Africa would be if Nelson Mandela had decided not to have a Reconciliation Commission:  by not facing the truth, we condemn ourselves to wander in the desert.

Everywhere I look, I see the weaponization and the covert-operation transformation of the world into a seething cesspool of violence...

... upon which we try to maintain our daily lives.

It is like trying to balance upon a water bed filled with sewage...

Or to live in a Bouncy Castle inflated with propane...

--

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan

Madame Thatcher has passed away.
From what I have read in the press, I am glad I never knew her, nor did I ever have a chance to live in a country under her rule.

If I had, I would either have to party wildly celebrating her death, which is very unseemly, or I would have had to write obsequious and rather over-blown and mendacious eulogies to her memory... again, unseemly is the word which seems to describe the process.

I did have Ronald Reagan as President for a spell.
I wish I had known him, but merely as a human being, not as some awful lord-of-the-flies totem that Republicans have turned him into.
What could be better than a human being?

--

Better Dying Through Chemistry

Better Living Through Chemistry



If the rebels take over Syria, and if the factions which are aligned with Al Qa'ida take over much of the rebels, who gets the chemical weapon stockpile?

How many soldiers of which nations go into the hornets' nest and secure them, since they are probably at multiple locations?


How many people have chemical weapons in Syria?
https://leaksource.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/hacked-emails-reveal-washington-approved-plan-to-stage-false-flag-chemical-weapons-attack-in-syria/

 “Mention of acquiring chemical weapons from Libya is particularly troubling. Libya’s arsenal had fallen into the hands of sectarian extremists with NATO assistance in 2011 in the culmination of efforts to overthrow the North African nation . Since then, Libya’s militants led by commanders of Al Qaeda’s Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) have armed sectarian extremists across the Arab World, from as far West as Mali, to as far East as Syria.”

On January 28, 2013, it was reported that a UK defense contractor was planning a false chemical attack to bring about active NATO intervention against Syria:

Is UK Defense Contractor Planning Syrian WMD False Flag?
Unconfirmed "leaked" documents indicate Washington-approved, Qatari-funded false flag attack using Libyan chemical weapons in Homs, Syria.
January 28, 2013 (LD)

Documents allegedly "hacked" belonging to UK-based defense contractor Britam (official website here) appear to show the company considering an offer from Qatar to use Libyan chemical weapons in Homs, Syria in order to frame both the Syrian and Russian governments. The plan involves using Britam's Ukrainian mercenaries and Soviet-era chemical weapon shells brought in from Libya's large, Al Qaeda-linked, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) controlled arsenals...

There is a YouTube video purporting to be Syrian rebels testing chemicals...
I have not watched it, however.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H-6O-gApVrU


--

Museums Of Memory

World War II Re-enactment


This is a photo of people re-enacting World War II.

My father would only speak of World War II in generalities and superficial descriptions. He never spoke of the horrors of Salerno and Anzio.

It is for us the survivors to honor their memory by continuing to play at war, and to define appropriate icons for future sacrificial feasts.
The spilling of blood is often a necessity, but it need not be a recreation nor need it be recorded and replayed as a sadistic pornography.

What would we say if the many Holocaust Museums were regarded as playful recreation of horrors, rather than a manner of teaching every generation the true nature of evil and why it should be avoided?
Am I mistaken here? Do you think me extreme?

I wish I were mistaken.
Consider the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit; consider those exhibits dealing with slavery. Are these depictions "re-enactments" of a playful nature or are they warning admonitions?

Does it matter? I mean, what are the chances of modern day people trivializing the ways of evil violence?

Actually, they are pretty good.
Referring back to the Charles H. Wright Museum, I am familiar with numerous divergent depictions of slavery, from Gone With The Wind to Birth Of A Nation to Django Unchained. Each of these widely popular films uses slavery and its evils as part of the story very much subsidiary to the main thrust of the plot. And the main part of the plot is a basic trivialization or dismissal of the evil upon which the story is based.

We are fortunate enough to have current examples for both slavery and World War II: Tarantino's Django Unchained already mentioned and his Inglourious Bastards, for even though the latter depicts violent and brutal Jews as well as Nazis, I find this equation to be the acceptance of evil, not an inspection which will lead us to avoid it.

--
photo: Ric Wright,  BBC

An Adventure In Art (20)

Artichokes and Garlic



Pencil and white conté

Debbie
"What I Drew Today"...  My Drawing Journal

--

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tsarnaev's Future

By helping the authorities and by being put on trial, the younger Tsarnaev will be rehabilitated.

He can no longer be a blood sacrifice like his brother was, a sacrificer and the sacrificed, the killer and the killed, playing the part of master of violence which is the focal point of our world, then succumbing to that same violence as a offering to the gods which really rule us. (And their names are unknown as yet, not merely unspoken.)
He has gone outside the stage of the Holy War, where we watch Baghdad being bombed, Saddam Hussein being hanged, Gaddafi being lynched; he has become one of those blessed by our ongoing sacrificial rites.

The saving of the younger Tsarnaev will prove our righteousness, and he will become a novice into our realm.

He may even get a job as a pundit.

--

The Dating Game

She-who-must-be-obeyed was watching TCM's presentation of 1937's Between Two Women, starring Franchot Tone and Maureen O'Sullivan. I was in the kitchen, finishing the last few pages of the novel Bel Canto, standing at the side counter where I usually stand when I am eating and reading.
I thought I heard, "Did I ever tell you I had a date with Franchot Tone?"
I did not know what to do. I mean, she could not have had a date with Franchot Tone, unless she had dated him in his dotage, I suppose. So had I actually heard that? She must have had something important to say, and the best my ears could do was "date with Franchot Tone".
She probably had made an important statement about household affairs, and I had turned it into nonsense.

It turns out that what she had said was, "Did I ever tell you I was supposed to have a blind date with Franchot Tone's son?"

That was a relief, auditory acuity-wise and generally magna cum-a-general-with-it-ness, instead of being out-of-it and daft.

Then I was captivated by it all, the glitter of celebrity.

My attempts:

(1) Did I ever tell you I had a blind date with...     Mary Wicke's daughter?



(2) Did I ever tell you I had a blind date with...     Slim Summerville's granddaughter?


The idea is to have a name of a character actor that is somewhat obscure and not right on the top of peoples' minds, causing them to work a little at it. Then, there may be a jolt when they remember the actors or actresses in their funnier moments... and so on.

My personal favorite is

(3) Did I ever tell you I'm going to have a blind date with Elaine Stritch? (Now that's she retiring nearby.)



My mother knew her sister, Sally, back in the day.
Not that they were friends, actually. Sally taught dancing, and my mother was her nemesis...

--


Free Tariq Aziz




Tariq Aziz is still in prison, serving a sentence of 15 years for the charge of executing merchants accused of profiteering. Executing war profiteers was apparently one of his functions as Foreign Minister of Iraq under Saddam Hussein. If he was not traveling around the world, he was executing profiteers.
From what I have read of the trial, I consider the charges were not proved by any standard of justice other than that of the conqueror and revenge.
He was the only Christian in Saddam's cabinet, and is a fine metaphor for what is left of the the Christian community in the Middle East - in suspension, waiting for all the shoes to be thrown or dropped.

The original charges were vaguely put down as :
 (1) the events of 1991, (2) Kuwait, (3) human rights violations and (4) waste of national wealth.
(Univ. of Minnesota)

All the people languishing in prisons are fit metaphors for our times:  crime and maybe punishment, punishment and maybe crime, torture and despair...



--

The Smoking Gun of Aleppo

Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo - Before and After
BBC photo


Someone in Syria destroyed the minaret of the Aleppo Umayyad Mosque, a world heritage site.
Who could have done such a deed?
The minaret of the ancient Umayyad Mosque in the northern coastal city of Aleppo, a famous landmark and cultural treasure, has reportedly been destroyed in savage fighting between rebels and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
SANA, the state-controlled news agency, accused rebels of blowing up the 11th-century minaret, stating that "terrorists ... placed explosive materials in the minaret and the mosque's southern door and set them off.”
However, opposition activists claim a government tank shelled it to rubble.
"The deliberate destruction of this minaret, under whose shadow [sultan of Egypt and Syria] Saladin ... and [10th-century Iraqi poet] Al-Mutanabbi rested, is a crime against human civilization," the opposition National Coalition said in a statement.
"The Assad regime has done everything it can to destroy Syria's social fabric. Today, by killing people and destroying culture, it is sowing ... bitterness in people's hearts that will be difficult to erase for a very long time.”

BBC reported that not only were antique furnishings and sculpted colonnades ruined by fighting, looters have also made off with ancient artifacts, including a box that supposedly carries a strand of the Prophet Muhammad's (saw) hair.
First, the opposition claims that it was deliberately destroyed by the Syrian Army. This is a much more credible claim than what I heard first: that it was unintentionally destroyed  by tank fire.
Tank fire doesn't just spread out randomly.
In World War II, Monte Cassino was destroyed because the Allies targeted it, not because bombs and shells randomly sought to wreak violence.

Second, who in the Muslim world is well known for an arrogant hatred of things like "World Heritage Sites" - such as the Bamayan Buddha Statues - and archaeological antiquities relating to religion?

Islamic Fundamentalists have a pretty good track record of wanton destruction.

And these fundamentalists and Al Qa'ida supporters have been tutored in their beliefs by the Wahhabi clerics of Saudi Arabia.

Now merely Google on "Saudi Arabia" and "destruction" and "archaeology" and "antiquities" and see what turns up. 

I searched on "saudi destruction of archaeology", and my first hit was:

The Telegraph

Analysis: Saudi Arabia's war between god and archaeology
For decades, Saudi Arabia's powerful clerics have waged a bitter battle against pagan faiths, idol worship, heresy, alcohol – and archaeology.
By Praveen Swami
9:00PM GMT 04 Feb 2011
News that David Kennedy, an Australian scholar, has succeeded in identifying almost 2,000 unexplored archaeological sites using Google Earth has focused attention on the wages of that battle: the destruction of Saudi Arabia's own heritage More than 90 per cent of the archaeological treasures of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, experts estimate, have been demolished to make way for hotels, apartment blocks and parking facilities.

The $13 billion project that led to a wave of demolitions in the middle of the last decade was part of an effort to modernise infrastructure in the ancient cities, where millions of pilgrims gather for the Hajj each year.
Sami Angawi, an expert on Arabian architecture, lamented that history had been " bulldozed for a parking lot". "We are witnessing now the last few moments of the history of Mecca,", he said.
The Kingdom's ultraconservative clerics believe that the veneration of ancient sites associated with the Prophet Mohammad and his family is heretical, and want potential shrines obliterated...
 Having read this and some other accounts, it becomes obvious why I had emphasized the section "strand of the Prophet Muhammad's (saw) hair."

The hard-line fundamentalist would be furious about the possibilities of idolatry involving such things. Add to that the fact that they have no use for the history of Islam, nor the history of anything else, and I think we have found the smoking gun of Aleppo.

--

note:
There is the expression "saw"  or  .

written after the name of the Prophet in accordance with normal usage and respect.



The Age Of Unenlightenment (3)



The Age of Guess-timation:

USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/rieder/2013/04/18/media-boston-fiasco/2093493/

On Boston bombing, media are wrong - again
Rem Rieder, USA TODAY9:55 a.m. EDT April 19, 2013

 ...the beleaguered cable news pioneer was in the midst of making yet another high-profile mistake: reporting that an arrest had been made in the Boston Marathon bombing.
CNN had company: the Associated Press, Fox and the Boston Herald, among others, also went with the rapidly discredited story.
Once again, four months after the error-riddled reporting on the massacre at Sandy Hill Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., there was a major media malfunction in the coverage of a mega-story.

...Sadly, these mistakes seem to go with the territory. Think of the morning of 9/11, when there were reports of a car bomb at the State Department and an explosion on Capitol Hill. Neither took place. Or Sandy Hook, with the killer was misidentified, to cite one of many media swings and misses.

... News outlets also received some journalistic wisdom form an unlikely source: the FBI. As it knocked down the arrest story Wednesday, the bureau noted that reporters had gotten a number of things wrong by relying on "unofficial sources." It suggested, "Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting."
The CNN follies inspired humorist Andy Borowitz to write, " 'After monitoring every minute of CNN's broadcast since Monday, we have found hearsay, rumors, falsehoods, and a steady stream of inane commentary,' " one authority said. "'Everything but information.' 

The New York Post...  has done a particularly wretched job covering the Boston massacre. It reported Monday that 12 people had died in the Boston bombing, four times as many as the actual total. Today, its front page features a photo of two men who might — might — have had something to do with the heinous crime.
The Post reported later Thursday, without apology or further explanation, that the two had been cleared by authorities. Even for the Post, this is pretty outrageous. The paper was pilloried on social media, and rightly so.
This situation is exactly that of Orwell's 1984; the only difference is the motivation does not seem to be a deliberate desire to change the historical record, nor is the process under the control of an authoritarian government. The outcomes are the same.

The outcomes are, first, an unreliable stream of information, and second, an establishment of a historically rootless populace that possesses no abilities of critical thought; critical thought requires that something endures and does not change with the speed of a Tweet.

What would the situation be if the perpetrators had not yet been identified?
More inane comments? More identification of the wrong people as criminals?
Panic in the streets, essentially...

--

An Adventure In Art (19)

Circus Rose


Carol Marine
Carol Marine"s Painting A Day

--

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sense of Snow




It is April 24, 2013 and it is snowing again.
If anyone gets this note, send help and brandy, not necessarily in that order.

--

Big Rice and Syria

Oh, by the way, I consider the Secretary of State to be Big Rice in his approach to Syria.
I suppose by implication I consider others to be so.

--
see "Big Rice"  http://fatherdaughtertalk.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-good-bad-and-really-bad.html

Big Rice

 Rice Paper Envelopes


Law enforcement has had its highs and lows over the last fortnight - "feathers in one's cap" and "black eyes".

(1) It has run down the Boston Marathon bombers, one being killed in a gun fight, the other in hospital (feather in one's cap!), and

(2) it has had to release an Elvis Presley impersonator that had been charged with sending letters laced with the poison Ricin to the President and a Mississippi Senator (definite "black eye"!).
The charges were apparently based on the fact that the man misunderstood the FBI questions, and when asked whether he was fond of Ricin, thought they were talking about "Rice", possibly Pork Fried Rice. I mean, I would have said "yes" to a little pork fried rice after a lengthy session at the police station.
(It probably struck him as odd that the FBI referred to it as "rice-in-envelopes", but pseudo-Elvis probably thought envelopes would be no worse than chop sticks.)

(Let us ignore the fact that Elvis impersonators are, by and large, an unruly bunch, and should properly be one of the first group of cutthroats law enforcement suspect of a crime!)

These things happen.

(As an aside, there is a beautiful young child named "Little Rice" who is the affine niece of the brother of my god-daughter. I do not know if there are kinship terms for relations of god-offspring-type-things.
Anyway, my god-daughter's brother went to Shanghai, he took a fancy to a local girl, she had a niece named "Little Rice", and... wedding bells.)
Whew.

So, in the interests of shorthand references, I shall use the moniker "Marathon Man" , or "Marathon Woman" to refer to men and women performing at the absolute top of their game under intense pressure, and doing so consummately that they become immediate role models for the rest of us...

... and I shall use the moniker "Big Rice" to refer men and women who sort of fall far short of the above level of competence, people approximately at the level of arresting someone for saying "Mmmm! Yummy!" and rubbing their stomachs when someone said "Rice..."

Now that the ordeal is over and the Media is back to their favorite ideological drones of death - such as bashing testosterone-carrying Muslims until they have a 50 year blemish-free record - we are back where a proper ship of fools should be.

The experience of Big Media As Usual (and a New York Times piece over the weekend about the Today show) make it immediately clear that Big Media and Big Politics are collectively Big Rice.

Question: how does a country where there are so many individual Marathon People get together and form a Big Rice?
It is almost as if the good and smart people of an area come together and hit each other over the heads with baseball bats, then decide to interview each other, or to run for public office.

--

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

?

I met a person;
this person owned a gun;
this person was not part of the Gun Culture:
no opinion,
no membership in the NRA,
no letters to Congress;
just a person...

--

Sancte Leibowitz, Ora Pro Nobis


In Al Jazeera:
http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2013/04/201344105231487582.html
(a story on the oil cartels)
...The US and Putin‘s Russia would prop up despots, and exploit regional conflicts to maintain a grip on the oil fields of the Caucusus and the Caspian.
But they would not have counted on the rise of a new, strong and hungry China, with an almost limitless appetite for oil and energy. Today, the US, Russia and China contest the control of the former USSR’s fossil fuel reserves, and the supply routes. A three-handed match, with the world as spectators, between three ferocious beasts – The American eagle, the Russian bear, and the Chinese dragon.
This type of scenario emphasizes why it is so important that a certain level of civilization and technology be maintained, for if there were to occur a major war or major disruptions, economic or climate, and the level of civilization were to suffer a depression and loss of wealth, would the survivors be able to use the remaining fossil fuels.... which would be the most difficult to tap into?

We have no guarantees. By consuming irreplaceable resources, we deny any easy fix for future generations who find themselves in a temporary technology deflation, decline, or hiatus.

When plain song is heard in the cloisters of St. Leibowitz, fossil fuels will be too far away and difficult of access.
From the depletion of cheap fuels to warm us on wintry nights, O, Saint Leibowitz, deliver us!

(inspired by Arsen at Gulf Ghenes)
--

An Adventure In Art (18)

Shaken, Not Stirred


Rita Marandino
Rita Marandino

--

Monday, April 22, 2013

More Pleasures of the Perverse


Hogarth The Rake's Progress
(note the two proper ladies just right of middle who are on
a little party, slumming and viewing the wretched)


What could be more appealing than a visit to Guantanamo Bay with its population of prisoners, many of whom are on hunger strike to force their captors to do something about their status. (Some have been there a whole decade or more! Wow!)
Every time we think someone is going to be released, the Congress intervenes.
It is like having our own little ant farm of suspected terrorists.

There should be trips organized on Carnival cruise ships; we could spend the day much like Londoners did in Hogarth's day having a picnic lunch viewing the crazies in the local Bedlam.
If we are there on the right day, we may get to watch a forced-feeding... sort of the flip side of forced drinking, or water-boarding.

Another little benefit of our war.

--

When Do I Talk About God?

Someone asked that. Since my blog has a title that mentions talking about God, when do I actually do so?

Interesting question.

First, I heartily dislike the traditional stereotypes of people who do talk about God. I dislike saccharine smiles and statues of mystic dullards. Religious people that feel the need to label the product annoy me.
Everyone looking and acting the same is a scandal that disavows the universality of God. By thinking that God's oneness must limit diversity is an improper use of analogy.

Second, I do not like traditional discourse about God. Same reasons as above. To me it sounds like someone has cut up sections of sermons and the Bible and other holy texts and cut and pasted them into a collage.

Third, we are always in the folds of the Holy. There are no degrees of separation.

Fourth, I do not wish to teach anybody anything. I do wish that I and others find the road to peace and harmony, but not on my terms nor according to my lights and interpretations, for heaven's sake!
I may as well try to wrap up the morning mist within a box and keep it to give to you for Christmas.

--


An Adventure In Art (17)

Rainy Day In Venice


Miro Sinovcic
Miro Sinovcic: NY Frame Of Mind

--

Zen




If you go to Buddhanet.com, and you read the introduction to Buddhism, what do you see?

You see a discourse that denies itself.

Every word of religious books are similar in nature to footprints:  they must be left behind, even though they may seem "cast in stone".

--

The Concept of Sacrifice

Moloch in Fritz Lang's Metropolis



I have paid attention to the political debate on economic well-being involving Austerity versus Stimulus.

In summation, both will work... eventually. In the future, life goes on, and the gears of industry will turn again. The manifestly bad apples will be plucked from the bushels, and the good apples will be bright again.

Austerity, however, has the advantage of requiring Sacrifice.
It may require millions of peoples' well-being to be sacrificed.
That is an appealing notion to our societies, for our societies are thoroughly bred into the idea of intentional sacrifice as an augment to accidental death.

Please take note how often we downplay Risk, in order than the inevitable may happen: people lose their money, people lose their livelihoods, people lose their lives; these are all forms of sacrifice.

For example, why would a fertilizer plant store 270 tons of violently combustible ammonium nitrate in the middle of West, Texas, immediately adjacent to housing, a nursing home, and a school?

Downplay Risk, Increase (potential) Sacrifice.

We offer up people every year in the name of guns. We assembly-line sacrificial offerings every year in the name of automobile transportation. Somewhere around the world, there is another Bhaupal, India, or another West, Texas, being nonchalantly plotted in the name of industrial profitability.
Even now, we are charting a course for Syria that is sure to maximize the occurrence of bloodshed and ongoing fighting, which is our new avatar for foreign policy.

It is the God-like Inevitability of Teenaged Kids being killed in car crashes that lets us accept our grief and suffering like mute and weeping stones, rather than reacting with alarm and condemnation and demanding a change in the way transportation is funded and automobiles are driven.

It is the Divinely Decretal nature of toddlers being shot by their own family's guns that causes us to accept the sacrificial burden and duty, rather than clamoring for a rational gun policy.

No deity demands these sacrifices, no king does; there is no agency nor parliament of power which commands us to sacrifice these lives. We do so by our own choice of actions or inactions.

We have created a society wherein we sacrifice lives when things go wrong... or even when they do not go wrong. We sacrifice lives for such little things as more profits in a quarter - arguably a more depraved reason for unnecessary death than anything that ancient Nero or Caligula ever dreamed up.

The freedom of our society now demands a constant flow of sacrificial victims. Not just victims that are mute to us, victims of far away earthquakes and storms, but real, flesh and blood, and long-lived victims who will linger in their agony for our perverse inspection.

We will sacrifice entire generations up to economic disaster if... O, God of Cataclysms!... if only after some short time we could come out from our bunkers of wealth, look around at the depopulated cities, breath a sigh into fresh air, and marvel that "we" - the "nation" - had magically pulled through.
But we "the nation" did not pull through.
What came through is a new nation, a new entity formed by its actions, its karma.
Part of the old nation was sacrificed, and that act was a new Constitution and Bill of Rights creating the Nation of Survivors - Amen! - and there's no jury in the world would convict us! Whether we consign thousands to starvation or whether we murder people in their encampments by Wounded Knee, we are creating a new nation.

Every Life Is Sacred.
Every life form is covered by a declaration of its independence.

Now, shall we Cut, or shall we Grow?

--
note

this is sort of messy, but I've always said I use this blog as a notebook, too. 

West, Texas grew up around the fertilizer plant, so it was more a matter of almost criminal indifference of a number of people and local governments. 





Economics Is Not A Real Science

I have paid attention to the debate between Austerity and Stimulus, particularly recently when it has been discovered that an important study used to support Austerity has been shown to have some errors. The authors of the work say that it is minor, the opponents say it is a distortion that has more important consequences.

If it were physics, I would not wish to launch a Mars mission based on it.
I think the lives and economic well-being of the citizens of the countries around the world are as important and valuable as any scientific effort using physics.
I mean, it is tantamount to relying on a compass to orienteer myself out of a wilderness, all the while carrying a powerful electro-magnet in my backpack.

Economics is Faith based on Meditation of Material Things, with Mathematics thrown in.

--

note

Or, as Schumacher says in A Guide For The Perplexed, Economics would be a descriptive science...


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bahrain and Syria

Protesters in Manama, Bahrain, 2011


Bahrain, neighbor of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and also a US ally, routinely discriminates against its Shia majority. When there was toruble, Saudi Arabia sent over some troops to bash heads. Bahrain started back in 2011 put civilians on trial in military courts.

TIME
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2067895,00.html

The seven men who went on trial in Bahrain on Thursday have made history as the country's first-ever civilians to be tried before a military court. Facing the death penalty, they've been sequestered in an unknown location for weeks and accused of murdering two policemen by running them over with a car. They've had no communication with family or friends since being taken into custody last month. Human rights activists fear they have been subjected to torture. More worrisome, they have been denied access to legal counsel and face trial proceedings sealed to the public. The Bahrain News Agency said the seven men have pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.
It is the first trial to be publicly announced since the country fell under martial law on March 15, when the Sunni regime (and U.S. ally) began a severe crackdown on the opposition, a campaign that has seen about 500 mostly Shi'a anti-government supporters arrested and held incommunicado. "Putting civilians to military court is a surprise," says Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. "The government has taken it too far."
Rights advocates fear that a conviction in this case may start a wave of death penalties for activists in the island Kingdom, which has rarely imposed such a sentence. The last time Bahrain handed out a death penalty was two years ago. (And according to state media, the military court in Bahrain convicted four Shi'ite protesters and sentenced them to death for the killing of two policemen during anti-government demonstrations last month in the Gulf kingdom. The three other Shi'ite activists, who were also on trial, were sentenced to life in prison for their role in the policemen's deaths.)
Bahrain is our ally, Bashar Al Assad is not. Simple as that.
Back on March 5, Mr. Kerry said he was concerned about human rights in Bahrain.

I have a feeling Mr Obama is itching for his own "Mission Accomplished" moment in Syria.
God forbid this arrogance crashes about our heads like Mr. Bush's Iraq moment did.

--

Movies




I am watching Take Shelter again, along with Melancholia and Another Earth.

I am not sure whether Another Earth is in the same group as the first two.
Take Shelter and Melancholia become more and more engrossing each time I see them; they also become more frightening. They are the paradigms of Burke's Sublime, which overwhelms those who view it.

I am suddenly thinking Another Earth gives us another outcome for the disaster awaiting the characters in these films:  
Take Shelter has the family resonating with minute head movements, a silent accord saying "Yes. There is indeed a disaster waiting to pounce after all.", as we wonder if there is any possible way to avoid the tidal wave and tornadoes and lord knows what else;

Melancholia takes us into the disaster, but the main characters have drawn a magic enclosure and built what I called a "naked wikiup" - a wikiup uncovered by matting or woven material - which surprisingly enough seems just possible to protect some article of their being from immolation;

Another Earth might be seen to provide an alternative reality, hopefully better, than that in which we find ourselves. However, there is more to it than mere alternate reality; there is a hint that what we see as reality has at least one other layer, a layer which is not altogether a different reality, but another stratum of the same universe.
Things are not as they seem, certainly not to someone who has lost their sense of self-worth and is living a shadow of life as a punishment for their "crimes".

These three are very important films for me. I do not know about the rest of the world, but for me they are like flocks of blackbirds, swarming into impossible arabesques, listening to some unseen piper.

--




Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Faith of Political Economics... and the Republican Budgets




Which Economics do you believe in? Which do you pay to?

If you prayed to the god of austerity and cutting budgets based on the famous - now infamous - Reinhart and Rogoff paper of 2010, which demonstrated that countries with debt at 90% of Gross Domestic Product experience dramatic slowing of economic growth, your god has been blown out of the waters rather than dividing them and allowing us to pass between......

It's everywhere. Check the BBC:
Reinhart, Rogoff... and Herndon: The Student Who Caught The Profs
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22223190
"I don't think jobs were destroyed because of this but it provides an intellectual rationalisation for things that affect how people think about the world," says Daniel Hamermesh, professor of economics at Royal Holloway, University of London.
"And how people think about the world, especially politicians, eventually affects how the world works."
I am not in favor of high debt.

The reason I swore never to vote for another Republican again was the inability of the Republican Congress in George W. Bush's second term to say no to any sort of spending, as well as the gross delusion of accepting the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan "off the books" so to speak.
(Greece is a country with high debt and slow growth, but Greece's situation did not come about in the manner described by the Reinhart-Rogoff paper.)

However, Economics describes present economic events. That's all it does.
It has no "laws".
Most of our political economics is Faith, quaint beliefs like "One should run a government like a household." or other maxims from a simpler time complicated upon a spreadsheet.
And when they makes mistakes, you and your children go without a roof over your heads and put food off to some time in the future.

The Republican budgets, as exemplified by the Ryan proposal, are based on an ancient Faith of a vengeful God, angry at the elderly and poor...
because "Economics teaches us thusly!!"

--


Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Age Of Unenlightenment (2)

The present is an extension of the past. This computer age mimics the television age: our experience of each is solely Sight and Sound.
Cinema is sight and sound, too, but on a much more complex scale.

There is no Smell, no Touch, no Taste.

Our social networking is tending to be widely spread, but limited in the sensory information that is conveyed.

Information is suppressed...

--

Dyslexic News

I read the News today, oh, boy!, that an Elvis impregnator had been picked up on the ricin charge.

--

Sudden and Terrible

Sudden and terrible juxtapositions, unruly thoughts and images that intrude into one's awareness:

Madama Butterfly as produced by Anthony Minghella for the New York Metropolitan Opera in 2009,
and the children affected by the atomic bomb blasts in Hiroshima....

The puppeteers who worked the child puppet are ominous...






--


Lies My Senator Told Me

From the Daily Yonder:
 http://www.dailyyonder.com/

(reference http://www.kentucky.com/2013/04/16/2602266/coals-forecast-cold-in-e-ky-mcconnell.html#storylink=cpy )

The Lexington Herald-Leader editorial page took note of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell's continued description of a Democratic "war on coal," this time during the confirmation hearings of President Obama's choice to be head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy. Then they started counting.
Turns out there are more coal miners nationally under Obama than under President Bush — and more coal miners in Kentucky. That's true even with the large number of layoffs in Kentucky recently and as production in the region fell.
Eastern coal's problem is that it is now more expensive that coal from the large strip mines in the west or natural gas. A lot more expensive. The paper concludes: "McConnell can blame Obama and the EPA for driving up the cost of coal, but the real culprit is 100 years of mining that has left only thin seams in Eastern Kentucky that are costly to mine...

--

Defeat of a Gun Law

A society is not bad in its entirety.
When Rome was declining, there were still great works being done. When Diocletian persecuted Christians, I am sure there were a number of non-Christian Romans who aided the persecuted.

What we saw yesterday was the victory of the vilest portion of a society, the portion that stains and colors the rest of the society, leading future historians to use epithets such as "declining" and "evil" and "morally twisted".

The godly will endure.

--

ps.
It was brought to my attention that "vilest" may be a bit extreme.
I guess it is.

--

The Age of Unenlightenment




The Age of Missing Information, Bill McKibben, 1992

We believe that we live in the 'age of information,' that there has been an information 'explosion,' an information 'revolution.' While in a certain narrow sense that is the case, in many more important ways just the opposite is true. We also live at a moment of deep ignorance, when vital knowledge that humans have always possessed about who we are and where we live seems beyond our reach. An unenlightenment. An age of missing information.

This age of Media Explosion is an age of diminishing information, not increasing.

--

Weaponized Society: Interior and Exterior

Tucson, Arizona, Gun Buyback Event


I feel as if I am living in some nightmare world:  a world of guns and violence and a constant weak and half hearted litany against Weaponized Society. But there are monsters from the conscious and subconscious which are calling the shots, and we are constantly going into that dark corridor all alone...

The mantra goes that criminals are not subject to gun control laws, yet how many people are actually shot by criminals in the pursuit of criminal activity each year? How many children under the age of 12 are shot by criminals each year?

The Senate did not pass a law to toughen gun laws. Did anyone think they actually... could?

Now Arizona is seeking to re-sell guns that had been turned in at buyback events. This goes beyond ending buybacks of guns, which are probably not effective. This is actually the government becoming a weapon shop... and everyone who has read A. E. Van Vogt knows the government cannot be a weapon shop, neither in Isher nor here in the USA.

Yahoo News 04/18/2013:
There is research showing that such events don't have much impact, said Michael Scott, a University of Wisconsin Law School professor who is director of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing.
"The main reason that's the case is that most gun buybacks tend to yield guns that are highly unlikely to be used in crimes," including old, broken or worn-out firearms, he said...

"There's just so many guns in private hands in the country that collecting a relative few of them at any one time is not going to have a big impact on their availability," he said.
And the last sentence underscore what startled me one day: the realization that guns are everywhere.

Automobiles are everywhere; we spend billions of dollars to support them by building free roads. Yet autos cannot be used in criminal pursuits... other than as a get-away car. And autos do not kill in criminal pursuits... unless the get-away car runs into someone.

Guns are everywhere, and we support them by law:
(1)  There is collateral damage from automobiles: so many casualties every year due to accidents.
(2)  There is collateral damage from guns: so many casualties every year due to accidents.
But beyond the gun accidents, there are gun crimes. Beyond crimes, there are killings among families due to anger and passion. Beyond passion, there are the role-playing figures of perfect revenge, as evidenced by the affection that the Columbine killers had for the film Natural Born Killers, reciting dialogue from it frequently.

What is obvious now to me is that, just as in the film Forbidden Planet, we are playing the role of the Krel.
We believe ourselves to be moral and intelligent, yet we are playing with a dangerous Weaponized Society World View which will destroy much of the world and our own homeland, just as the Krel destroyed Altair IV when they achieved matter-from-mind and released their own monstrous subconscious passions into the world.

Some may say my understanding comes from stories. Maybe so.
I agree my understanding comes from stories and narratives; that is why I am able to spot a plot a mile away. Writers should be able to see at least dimly the general trend of normal events, certainly gun events in a Weaponized Society are easy to forecast:
No great miracles will occur in weaponry in the near term, other than becoming more deadly.
There will be more slaughter.
There will be more outcry.
There will be more treason of politicians.

The Violence of the Weaponized Society will breed a Perfect Storm of Violence.

Weaponized Society needs "enemies" at home - criminals or the government itself - and guns to "protect" ourselves; Weaponized Society needs enemies abroad, and explains why we are blindly supporting factions in Syria which swear allegiance to Al Qai'da. (Indeed, which explains why we supported bin Laden in Afghanistan in the first place many years ago.)

Weaponized Society breeds not only its interior of violent acts, but also its exterior of violent weather events due to exacerbation of Climate Change.
The Society where the hand (with a gun in it) of each man and woman is raised against each other - the Weaponized Society - is the Society that wreaks violence against the Environment and the Earth.


Phoenix, Arizona, Dust Storm 2011
--





Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Feast On Skull Island: "Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!"


 Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack


We seniors in Michigan now face having pensions taxed. Social Security is not... yet, but other private and public pensions are. I am in the group that would face taxes on any amounts over $40,000 per year; my brother is in the wonderful 100% group, having been born after 1952.

One of the reasons given is that old folks' money is a good way to get JOBS! and keep 'em...
This conveniently ignores the fact that we once had enough jobs to choke a mule, and let them drizzle through our fingers like toxic sands in the hourglass of Unkind Fate.

I actually heard this on the radio on Tax Day, April 15. Governor Snyder and his ilk think that taking money from old folks and giving corporations tax breaks will wave the old magic JOBS wand.

Maybe he's right. It worked for Robin Hood, although in a slightly different spirit and manner. It is sort of like King John Lackland robbing from the poor and giving to the rich.

Republicans chant "Jobs! Jobs!" like extras in a Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack film with no other lines.
It is uncomfortable to watch, and definitely is self-defeating, because "King Jobs" always runs amok and ends up in New York.


--

Post 2



This year, this 2013, I have lost a brace of kinsmen.

No weddings and four funerals have occupied us since January 27.

And now this morning...  I ran 3 miles in 32 minutes. Not only did I run the 3 miles, but I did it without my ankles being wrapped by Ace bandages. Two years ago, July 2011, I hurt an anterior knee tendon, necessitating 6 weeks without running. I stuck with the re-hab and knee braces.

Now I seem to be past those knee tendon problems, having changed my stride to prevent the pull I was experiencing. Then the pain went into the ankle tendons about 3 or 4 weeks ago, and today I was able to go without the bandages. I felt like Forrest Gump outrunning his braces, by golly!

I am so happy to be alive.
At any time in the past 17 years I could have died by nature, by stress, by terror, or by my own hand.

I did not. I endured as a witness to the Universal And Overwhelming Blues, and the Absolute Beauty Of Keeping On Keeping On.
When I came into this time of death of 2013, I think I was ready.
I hope that I shall be ready when the Sundered of Delights and the Destroyer of Good Company comes.

It should be party time, I hope.
Life eternal should be a party.

--

Copy Cat

Yahoo News:
 WASHINGTON (AP) — An envelope addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi tested positive Tuesday for ricin, a potentially fatal poison, authorities said, heightening concerns about terrorism a day after a bombing killed three and left more than 170 injured at the Boston Marathon.
In 2001, it was terrorist explosions and then anthrax on envelopes to Senators. What are the odds that this was a coincidence?

One of the comments states:
 As if Senators opened and read any mail...
which is a true observation, and one wonders, then, about the meaning of these symbolic threats.

--

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Yom Ha'atzmaut

 Star of David


Joyous Yom Ha'atzmaut!

But, I do not recite Hallel this day.

http://jewschool.com/2013/04/09/30511/hallel-on-yom-ha%E2%80%99atzmaut-an-american-jewish-story/

--

School's In !




President Obama has included in his budget a proposal that would privatize the TVA, Tennessee Valley Authority, the largest public utility in the nation and an icon of the New Deal. The TVA brought electricity to the rural areas of Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and other states.

Such proposals to privatize government run entities usually come from Republicans, but Republican politicians from the entire Tennessee Valley are up in arms, saying that the cost of electricity would go up, and that the proposal had been made before and was a very bad idea.

This reversal is a perfect irony, by which Mr. Obama teaches the entire nation how to stop and consider the benefits of government and its programs. It teaches us to avoid the knee-jerk simplicity of things like the Tea Party.

The response indicates that the lessons are being learned.
--

The Rustic and the Sublime



Everything is filled with sapor ... a Latin word I shall use instead of "flavour" . I could say everything has flavour for me, but that sounds a bit too much of my childhood days, when I merrily put pennies into my mouth, discovering the cuprous delights of coinage.

I'm sure everyone is the same, and every object "tastes" of what is seen and known, what is unknown and odd, what happened within the past 10 days, the last 30, the last 3 months, and then sometime "before then"; the taste of smells, where perfumes intoxicate with gustatory delight, and bring back memories of the long ago: the private history of the age of tropic palm trees and grandmother; where she lived in a zebra-mansion  (pronounced "zĕb' - ra" as in Botswana, not "zee-bra" as is common here)  of sunlight filtered through white plantation blinds; of sun rooms facing the brick wall dividing her home from that of Benson Ford, son of Henry... whereon whose cinnabar serpentine surface are projected memory's flickering nickleodeon.

So I came across a remnant tasting of the countryside, ancient pagan (Latin: one who lives in the country) that it was, standing stoic.
It was a house by the side of the road, and it was much, much older than the main road. Its genesis may have been contemporary to the side road which ran off at a right angle, leading west, and forming the southern boundary of Matilda Dodge's old estate.
But it tasted of the sea, or - if not the great ocean - then some smaller flow, an inland lake, perhaps, or a river.

It had all the earmarks of an antiquity that had once stood shoreside upon one of California's vanisht lakes, the water having been diverted to quench the thirst of Los Angeles. It reminded me of Africa's paleo-lakes running from Tunisia through rivers and wetlands larger than Mauretania all the way to the present-day quickly evaporating Lake Chad.
Or Jenne-Jeno with its inland delta mouth, denying its water to the lubricious sea. Old witness of the deluge! - fast disappearing like the Aral Sea, sucked dry like our aquifers, prelude to our own Sahel future!
It had a long porch, glassed-in, giving a great view... if there were something great to look at anymore. And there was a widow's walk like a crown-of-thorns upon a third-floor enclosed vedette, where one could safely scan the stormy horizon.

No water now. Rather, the impetuous stream now ran through a subdivision and a development, and was hidden at the base of a hill, cut off from the house's view by nice apartments.
It raged to move and catch sight of the river! I could sense it! Taste it! - like the blood of adolescent desire. Yet there it sat, like my old Da within an airless nursing home, a nursing home which breathes at regular metronomous intervals like the sound-track for SCUBA divers: ...pffssst.......... pffssst.......... pffssst .........

It tasted all wrong. It was all singular and gershom - stranger in a strange land - darkling cut-out dolls from Gabon fetched across the ocean's breadth to enslavery and fetters all bedight!

---
ps
this sort of got away from me...lakes, rivers, and streams - whether real or imagined - take control of me.
lubricious above is used in the sense of "slippery", not necessarily "salacious".

reprint