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Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Hwore Of Cancer

Hwore of Cancer

The Hwore of Cancer came against the hospital
and spread her lofty legs above it all -
batshit all Akkadian crazy! -
from info desk to the parking garage,
like a syphilitic Rhodian colossus;
steaming in the winter’s cold air,
tinted and varnished giantesse
bids us enter into Avernus.
A mighty apostassy
the heressy of our time.

Is not the cable tv glow a atheisstical plot
to foil and mimic the light of God?
And are not the blond ladies who read the news
honoring Semiramis or Cybele…
the mother of the Babylonian messiah?
the devil is in
the lymph-nodes,
the flesh, the world…
and doctors fail their Turing test
and they scatter to avoid the family eyes -
big eyes, sad eyes,
greedy for more pagan gifts of Life!


Netanyahu In Washington

In the meantime:


UN demand
The United Nations on Friday called on the Israeli regime to immediately stop the destruction of Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank.
“In the past three days, 77 Palestinians, over half of them children, have been made homeless,” James W. Rawley, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, said.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israeli authorities have razed to the ground as many as 42 Palestinian-owned structures in Ramallah, al-Quds, Jericho, and al-Khalil since January 20.
This is while according to international law, the destruction of private or public property in occupied territories is prohibited.


Einstein's Nightmare

Albert Einstein:
I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. Apart from the practical considerations, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power ….
Einstein signed an open letter to the New York Times on December 4, 1948:
"Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the 'Freedom Party' ... a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy, and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist right-wing chauvinist organization in Palestine.

The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who opposed fascism throughout the world, if currently informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents ... A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin ...

Einstein's nightmare was how the State of Israel would deal with the Arab population under its effective control. His signature on the letter of 1948 shows he was clearly worried about certain elements with Israel.

Now we see:
Israeli settlers storm Islamic religious sites in West Bank
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Dozens of Israeli settlers have stormed Islamic religious sites in a village in the occupied West Bank and insulted Muslims.

A large number of settlers backed by Israeli army troops entered the village of Awarta, northwest of Nablus, early on Monday and performed Jewish rituals at the Islamic holy shrines at the western side of the village, Head of Awarta village council, Hani Darawsheh, said.

According to Palestinian media sources violence against the Palestinian population in the West Bank has recently increased as settlers attack Palestinians and their properties as well as holy Islamic sites...


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Feast Of Malanka

If you can read the caption, it says "Villagers wearing hay bale costumes celebrate the winter festival of Malanka on January 14..."
... Malanka is mostly a rural feast but lately it has begun to make inroads into cities as well. Basically, Malanka is celebrated — or performed, or whatever other verb would be proper to use — in accordance to a set pattern which differs in certain details in different parts of Ukraine.

The celebrations of the Feast of Malanka begin on the night of January 14 (which happens to be the New Year’s Day by the Old Style Calendar). The central character in the celebrations is Malanka, “a girl of many talents and of exceptional beauty.” Who actually this Malanka girl was, and what she did to earn a public celebration, nobody knows for sure. All my enquires produced little result — except for some information that I obtained from some old-timers according to whom the day of January 13 is a feast day of St Malania the Roman Martyr. But evidently, it was an ancient pagan holiday of uncertain origin which was “adjusted” to the Christian ritual.
There were times when Malanka was celebrated in virtually all the villages and towns of Ukraine but these days only some places have managed to maintain the traditional Malanka celebrations. And even, as I’ve said, Malanka has begun to gain in popularity...

Mon ami canadien, Gil, who is French-Ukrainian,sent this along.

I pointed out that those rural fellows are not wearing hay stack costumes; they are actually wearing hay stacks.
Furthermore, no self-respecting young Ukrainian would be without a couple of designer hay stacks in the back of the closet, ready to don for the agricultural festivities.

I refuse to wear them because of the special cleaning required.


Politics Of The Imaginary Kind

Of course, I'm going to see Sni-Per !

I mean, I saw the previews and that dude is going to shot that bomb-toting kid, or his mama, or he's gonna waste both of them.

I knew right then I had to see it. I'm serious.

I think 70% of the audience goes to see that...
How could you miss it?
In the preview, they kept cutting back to the hospital room where the Sniper's own baby was, then back to Iraq, back to dad and kids... It promised to be good.

However, now the controversy may have ruined it. I don't want to comment on anything except the irony that the best sniper in history was shot by some guy on a shooting range. Irony needs to be noticed.

The controversy is a hubbub about a war we waged against some country that had nothing to do with Al Qa'ida, except in our imaginations.
We have spent too much time waging wars against non-Al-Qa'ida entities to face the possibility that it was a waste of precious life.
We have to make it good, if only in our imaginations.


Clock Clepsydra

Automata and ancient cybernetics.


Dino Days

Roy Chapman Andrews in the Gobi

Yesterday, January 26, marked the anniversary of the birth of Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews in 1884.

I remember reading his book about his expedition into the Gobi Desert searching for dinosaur fossils. I think it was All About Dinosaurs, published in 1953. I read it in grade school at an early age, and it was my first fascination in science.


At Which Point I Reconsider Animal Rights...

Misplaced Trust

Daily Yonder

Speaking of the USDA, the New York Times has a story about the agency’s U. S. Meat Animal Research Center, a mad-scientist-sounding program aimed at helping meat producers (read: corporate farms) make more money, doing some things that should repulse even the most unapologetic meat eaters (like me). I’m just going to give you a couple paragraphs from the story to set the scene.

At a remote research center on the Nebraska plains, scientists are using surgery and breeding techniques to re-engineer the farm animal to fit the needs of the 21st-century meat industry. The potential benefits are huge: animals that produce more offspring, yield more meat and cost less to raise.

There are, however, some complications.

Pigs are having many more piglets — up to 14, instead of the usual eight — but hundreds of those newborns, too frail or crowded to move, are being crushed each year when their mothers roll over. Cows, which normally bear one calf at a time, have been retooled to have twins and triplets, which often emerge weakened or deformed, dying in such numbers that even meat producers have been repulsed.

Then there are the lambs. In an effort to develop “easy care” sheep that can survive without costly shelters or shepherds, ewes are giving birth, unaided, in open fields where newborns are killed by predators, harsh weather and starvation.


Continuous Transportation

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige


Monday, January 26, 2015

Which War?

 Burning The White House in the War of 1812

I was having Sunday dinner with my mother, my niece, and her two daughters at my mother's residence. One of the oldsters seated nearby, having finished their dinner, got up to leave, and my mother needed to read the inscriptions on his sweatshirt out loud:

"If you can read this, thank a teacher"


"If you can read this in English, thank a veteran."

Since the young girls studied American history, I asked them which war the sweatshirt referred to.
Obviously, it could not refer to the American Revolution, for both sides spoke English. Ditto the War of 1812. Ditto, ditto the Civil War.
So it had to be the Spanish-American War or later.

One of the girls, Madison, said that they were studying the War of 1812 in school.
So I asked, "Who was the US President during the War of 1812?"

I waited. I looked at them both, then turned to the elder.
"Madison...?" I asked, addressing her.

"Madison... ?"

She got it. No one else did.


Continuous Transportation: Seeking The Equinoxes

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

New Zealand's Farmers Call for Drought Declaration
26 January 2015

My blogger friend Knutty Knitter  ( )  sent word about the hot summer in New Zealand, so I started to read about heat and drought in 2013 to the present in New Zealand. The hottest June in NZ since records began being kept was in 2014.

I thought that as winters became more vicious and summer more devastating, we should be left with only the spring and autumn, and we would continuously cruise, seeking the equinoxes across the globe.

There are ominous parallels with the mediaeval notion of a Narrenschiff, or Ship of Fools, whose passengers sail on, heedless of their ultimate fate.
The US Congress has agreed that climate is changing, but cannot agree on causality.


 Ship of Fools Singing "Let Us All Be Happy!"  
( "Gaudeamus Omnes") under the 5 line musical staff )


Oświęcim i Śnieg

Auschwitz in the Snow

We have finally returned from Toronto where my good sister, my wife's sister, is dying in what the Canadians euphemistically call Palliative Care. We took her daughter to see her every day, then turned to a mountain of tasks awaiting us.
We are involved greatly in this Toronto family of mother and daughter.

Even the snow cannot bring beauty...
... it remains severely cold, not gentle; it is grey, not white; it is a threat of glacial grinding and the digging of aretes and the tossing up of moraines upon the battle ground of Earth...

It took me 2 days to be able to write this.


Tilting At Saddam

I had a post recently  ( Murderous Quixotes )  where I used he above illustration. The post was about how our war on terrorists, specifically Al Qa'ida, we have managed to spend trillions attacking non-Al-Qa'ida peoples, while only spending billions on attacking Al Qa'ida peoples.
The idea was that we were modern day Quixotes, and we thought that we saw Al Qa'ida in the windmills, so we attacked... but they were not Al Qa'ida after all and they had no weapons of mass destruction... and so on.

I never noticed how much the windmill resembled Saddam Hussein.


Winter Storm Juno

 Winter Storm Juno In Raccoon City

There is a winter storm heading for the Northeast of the USA. It has been named Juno. Apparently I have missed storms Abie through Ike.

Even though the frantic and storm-anal-retentive Al Roker is prophesying climate doom and snow of biblical proportions ( although I don't recall how much snow there was in the Bible ), I don't think there'll be over 18 inches on Long Island, lesser amounts west of there.

I hope everyone is safe.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Clinic Challenge !

Instead of shooting ferocious giraffes, perhaps we should try and promote different ways to prove manhood/womanhood/adulthood by a new challenge:

The Ebola Clinic Challenge.

Say work a month at an Ebola Clinic, take some snapshots of yourself there, and come back to quarantine and a new sense of self worth.


ROOTS: How Important Are They?

Old Chrysler HQ in Highland Park, Michigan

I was driving She-who-must-be-obeyed to her dental appointment down by MLK Jr.Boulevard and Rosa Parks Boulevard. We were taking I-75 to the Davison Freeway; the Davison is the world's first concrete depressed freeway, and it is driving the way it should be.
I remember once taking Oakman Boulevard  (lots of "boulevards"... we used to have a lot of stately elm trees in Detroit which lined them and the streets were beautiful) from Dearborn up to catch onto the western end of the maybe 3 miles that make up the Davison.
Oakman Boulevard at the Davison was a vibrant, bustling black community. In my memory, it is sort of like a Midwest Harlem, but my memory must be embellishing. It was bustling, but it could not have been as interesting as I remember. It was still a living community, however.
My memory is script, script writer, redactor, editor, actors and actresses, Foley editor, camera man, producer and director. One cannot rely too heavily upon it, as it seeks fascination rather than truth.

It makes me think of doing a project documenting the neighborhoods of Detroit, actual and disappeared. Same thing for Flint. I have already spent hours scooping out things around the Millard Saxton House in Flint.

That is all not part of Roots, however.

As you turn onto the Davison from I-75 heading south, you immediately pass Oakland Avenue - not Oakland Boulevard, even though there is a median with trees for a mile or so - and that is in the City of Highland Park, and a stone's throw from the Davison Freeway is where the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation was until the 1990s, when it moved to Auburn Hills, Michigan.

The financial effect of Highland Park was devastating. Lee Iacocca worked out a fund of some sort to help the city financially for a while, but city politics being what they are, the fund is gone.

In Flint, within walking distance from the Millard Saxton house is the site of the old vast Chevrolet facility - "Chevy In The Hole" as it was called, probably because it was built on both sides of the flood plain of the Flint River, and there is a bit of a drop as you drive through it.
GM's abandonment of Flint has been recorded in many places. Michael Moore's Roger and Me comes to mind.

Some Remains Of Chevy In The Hole

Now, is it not interesting that the two car companies - GM and Chrysler - which abandoned their birth places, causing great financial upheaval, both had to be bailed out in 2009?

Ford Motor Company did not need any government and taxpayer money.

Ford World Headquarters still exist in Dearborn, Michigan, not far from the rural farm where Henry Ford was born.

 Ford HQ

He was born in what was then Greenfield Township. Greenfield Twp. is now part of Detroit and Dearborn and Highland Park. His first motor car was built and run on Mack Avenue in Detroit, and Mack avenue exists today, running from the eastern suburbs into Detroit up to Woodward Avenue, or M-1 and Woodward has its own long history, where Mack changes its name to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard...

Which is where we were going.....

And Mack Avenue is named after a Mr. Mack who had a farm there.
He was the maternal uncle of Joseph Smith, the prophet of Mormon. I cannot remember whether Joseph Smith ever was documented as having spent time with his uncle at the farm....

And Greenfield is remembered in Ford's Greenfield Village, Henry Ford's recreation of the era of his birth:

 Greenfield Village At Christmas

History is everywhere, coming from our Roots.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On Torture Considered As One Of The Fine Arts: Zero Dark Thirty

As you must know by now, Thomas De Quincey, whom I often conflate and mistake for Daniel DeFoe, wrote a pamphlet entitled On Murder Considered As One Of The Fine Arts.

I have finally decided to view the film Zero Dark Thirty after a year.

I decided to wait until the release of the Senate Committee Report on the CIA and Torture.

I also watched Jean Seberg in Joan of Arc.

The Inquisition seemed to know quite well that information gained under torture is worthless.
Not so American 21st century policy makers. Not so President Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney, and all the vile Minions indwelling in the caves of Langley, and all the Mengeles of psychology who oversaw the torture.

We are making the future as we sleepwalk through life, and walk the knife-edged expressionistic roof tops like Cesare under the spell of our Caligaris, our Caligulas, our Cagliostros of celebrity, nobility, and mud.

Read one of the few perceptive reviews of the time on this ghastly cinematic brief pro torture :
Zero Conscience in “Zero Dark Thirty”
By Jane Mayer

Read about how the film "shows the complexity of the debate".

If they had watched Joan Of Arc, the debaters might have gotten a 400 year leg up on the discussion.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Egypt's President El-Sisi

The American Conservative

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi visited the main Coptic Christian cathedral Tuesday during its Christmas Eve mass (Coptic Christians celebrated Christmas yesterday), “the first such visit by an Egyptian president in history” according to First Things writer Mark Movsesian. “It’s important for the world to see this scene, which reflects true Egyptian unity, and to confirm that we’re all Egyptians, first and foremost. We truly love each other without discrimination, because this is the Egyptian truth,” Sisi told service attenders.

Coptic Pope al-Tawadri thanked Sisi for his visit, calling it “a pleasant surprise and a humanitarian gesture.”

It isn’t the first such gesture that Sisi has made—in a speech celebrating the birth of Mohammed on New Year’s Day, he called on Muslim religious leaders to help fight against extremism: ”I say and repeat, again, that we are in need of a religious revolution,” he said, according to CNN. ”You imams are responsible before Allah. The entire world is waiting on you. … We need a revolution of the self, a revolution of consciousness and ethics to rebuild the Egyptian person—a person that our country will need in the near future.” ...

There are 2 important points in this article.

The first and most obvious is the embrace of the Coptic population of Egypt. They are ancient, and it was their language Coptic which was the language used by those who deciphered the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, as the base of the Coptic language extends back to Ancient Egypt.

The second, and not quite as obvious, is the speech of el-Sisi celebrating the birth of the Prophet on New Year's Day.

That is a holiday strictly forbidden by Saudi Wahhabis and Islamic Fundamentalists. Celebrating the Birthday of the Prophet is waving a red flag in the face of the bull of religious intolerance.
It is a big deal to fundamentalist Islam.

So el-Sisi's speech said as much or more by the choice of the day upon which it was delivered as by the words of the speech themselves.

I admire the spirit of this ex-general.
Too bad there are no real generals left in Turkey's army.


photo:  Francisco Martins / Flickr

First, Second, And Third Impressions

Seth McFarlane and Bill Maher

I never actually liked Bill Maher, and I counted it one of the random benefits of life that he was on a premium cable channel, and only available to the really important minds of the universe.
He was reserved to the "movers" and "shakers" of reality, and Montag the Obscure need not be troubled by the mind-boggling mix of politics, morality, religion, philosophy, satire, sarcasm and comedy.

I just noticed that Bill Maher has "Man in the Glass Booth" eyes!
Just draw some spectacles on the photo, and see whether he doesn't.
He looks as if he's waiting to go on trial in front of some vastly important tribunal.

I just read Michael Moore's (Yay, Flint, Michigan!) defense of Bill Maher  -   -  and it strikes me that the logic Mr. Moore uses leads to such conclusions as odd or as natural as the following:

"This Wounded Knee business proves that American Capitalism is genocidal, and it must be destroyed."

Although the premises are ghastly, the conclusion goes too far, as if the logical deduction can be forced to greater issue by the heinousness of the situation.

The only problem I have with people talking about "Islamist threats" is the demonstrated fact that all of our wealth and war effort will be expended on Non-Threats

such as:

1)  Iraq under Saddam Hussein  (non-Al Qa'ida),

2)  Afghanistan under the Taliban  (non-Al Qa'ida),

3)  Libya in 2011  (non-Al Qa'ida... but we had it in for Qaddafi, and Libya has been a mess ever since).

The only political will that exists in the USA is the will to settle petty grievances with blood and arms. The true dangers are shoved to the side and have been for a long, long time.


The Department OF Education Kicks Butt !

The American Conservative

It’s a morning Kenneth Wright will never forget: 15 armed agents break in his front door and grab him by the neck, still in the boxer shorts he slept in. For six hours, a handcuffed Wright sat in a cruiser parked outside with his three children, ages 3, 7, and 11, while agents searched his house.

“They put me in handcuffs in that hot patrol car for six hours, traumatizing my kids,” the Stockton, Calif., resident told a local news outlet at the time.

Drugs? Weapons? Domestic violence? No. As Wright later found out, his gun-toting visitors were from the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). What the neighbors mistook as a S.W.A.T. team raid was really the execution of a search warrant in a student loan fraud case involving Wright’s wife, who wasn’t even there at the time.

“They busted down my door for this,” he exclaimed, “it wasn’t even me.”

The Department of Education took a drubbing from conservative and libertarian media but was unrepentant in its explanation. It offered no information on what the search warrant was for, other than to say that the OIG got it signed by a federal judge, and that the OIG routinely executes warrants for bribery, embezzlement, fraud, “and other criminal activity.” The department also said it “assesses” the danger of each search based on “a number of factors” before bringing the guns, like the whether the “persons” known to be at the house have a criminal or violent history.

Wright had no previous record, according to the above-mentioned report.

It might come as a surprise to most Americans, but the DOE considers its inspector general’s office to be its “law enforcement” arm and has outfitted it as such. In 2010, the department purchased 27 Remington Brand Model 870 police 12-gauge shotguns to replace its old firearms. “OIG operates with full law enforcement authority,” the department said after the Stockton incident.

And it was right. After the 9/11 attacks, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 gave inspector generals’ offices across the federal spectrum statutory authority to build up such law enforcement capabilities—including the right to carry weapons and arrest people.

Not surprisingly, as the nation debates the militarization of local and state police in the wake of several high-profile use of force cases, the proliferation of the law enforcement culture within the federal bureaucracy has largely gone unnoticed. The fact is, agencies whose prime directive is to audit and investigate regulatory transgressions like waste, fraud and abuse, are arming up with rifles and submachine guns—in essence, getting ready for battle.

“Not only is it overkill, but having these highly-armed units within dozens of agencies is duplicative, costly, heavy handed, dangerous and destroys any sense of trust between citizens and the federal government,” declared Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, in a statement to TAC. He plans to re-introduce language he sponsored in the last session that would repeal the authority given to the OIGs in 2002 and prohibit any federal agency outside “those traditionally tasked with enforcing federal law,” like the FBI and federal marshals, to get their hands on machine guns, grenades, and other military weapons...

(emphasis mine)

A Weaponized Society is more than merely scads of individuals packing heat to the grocery store and to church; it is bureaucrats now armed to the teeth, too. Everybody gets a chance.

Things are really getting... Waco


Reading About France : The Beatitudes

 Pope Innocent X   (not actually relevant to the body of the post)

"Bienheureux les artisans de paix, car ils seront appelés fils de Dieu"

"Blessed are the peace makers, for they will be called sons of God"

I remembered "children of God" rather than "sons of God", but upon looking into my Greek NT, I saw clearly:

μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί, ὅτι [αὐτοὶ] υἱοὶ θεοῦ κληθήσονται.

and   υἱοὶ   is most definitely "sons".

We could meditate right about now...
I did and it came into my head that we live in the time of

"blessed are the peacemakers... yadda-yadda-yadda."

Think of what happens when one makes a satire of the Beatitudes.
Instead of insulting cartoons of various entities, what happens when we satire the Sermon On The Mount?

Why, you get Today's World, all wrapped up in a bow and looking as murderously fine as a rendition of Pope Innocent X by the painter Francis Bacon:


This is the first time I tried this method of posting:
the pictures are not literally related to the prose, but are more illustrative of some other parallel and parabolic point of their own, implied by - perhaps - but not stated outright within the writing.
The second icon, Jesus, actually does directly refer to the Beatitudes, however.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Schrödinger's Railroad Train

I go to this website often, being able to subscribe due to my previous employer, and to the years I spent making small rocks out of big ones - in this AREA #57 out of boulderous limestones. (American Railroad Engineering Association; ballast rock sizing 57)

My younger brother, God rest his soul, was more a fancier of lake vessels.

In the spring of 2014, we sat together at a scenic lookout in Port Huron just south of the USCG ship Bramble, and we were gazing across the river to Sarnia, Ontario or Point Edward, Ontario... never sure where the boundary was.

Anyway, there were two Canadian Steamship vessels which had wintered there in a slip just south of the fishery. One of the vessel had the normal lakes configuration of bridge in the bow and motors, stack, engineering, etc. in the stern. It had a clear, open deck. It was the most westerly vessel.
The other vessel was configured that all superstructure was in the stern, the bridge and all, with a self-unloading conveyor stretching forward.

What was amazing was that the angle at which we viewed things, the two boats looked to be exactly only one vessel! A vessel over-bridged, as it were, a bridge in the bows and a bridge in the stern!
As the minutes wore on, I strained more and more to try and disambiguate the vision. I mentioned it to my brother, and he noticed it, too.

CSL (Canadian Steamship Lines)  Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin

This was not the first time I had gazed at that spot. I remember a day earlier in the winter when the sun disappeared early and the lights came on the vessel with the clear deck, and I watched them twinkle in the darkling evening.

The other boat seems to have come later, possibly early in the spring. Else, I would have noticed the strange effect before.

That's not to say that Railroads are not without their enchanting visions!
I remember sitting on train A at rest, all the while Albert Einstein was on train B moving past us at a good clip, and for all the world, I thought my train was moving!!!

Schrödinger's Train, eh?


Holes In The Credo

Find the True Linen Threads, and Find the False.

An interesting thing about religious belief systems is that they do not really fall apart if some of the basic proposition of faith are denied or changed.

For example, there are many Christians today who have no use for the poor and homeless, and they are quite vocal about it. It is just as if they hear a Sermon on the Mount from the Anti-Christ.
Yet, their Christian lives are not impoverished, not materially changed, not spiritually transformed. They are considered Christian, and they live their lives accordingly.

Even though they seem like Christians with a big, gaping hole in their Credo.

ANd in Wikipedia, we read:

Nestorianism is a Christological doctrine advanced by Nestorius (386–450), Patriarch of Constantinople from 428–431. The doctrine, which was informed by Nestorius' studies under Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch, emphasizes the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus. Nestorius' teachings brought him into conflict with some other prominent church leaders, most notably Cyril of Alexandria, who criticized especially his rejection of the title Theotokos ("Bringer forth of God") for the Virgin Mary. Nestorius and his teachings were eventually condemned as heretical at the First Council of Ephesus in 431 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451, leading to the Nestorian Schism in which churches supporting Nestorius broke with the rest of the Christian Church. Afterward many of Nestorius' supporters relocated to Sassanid Persia, where they affiliated with the local Christian community, known as the Church of the East. Over the next decades the Church of the East became increasingly Nestorian in doctrine, leading it to be known alternately as the Nestorian Church.

Nestorianism is a form of dyophysitism, and can be seen as the antithesis to monophysitism, which emerged in reaction to Nestorianism...

Nestorians reached China and left their mark. Their lives of faith were not impoverished by their so-called heresy.

Arianism is the nontrinitarian heretical, theological teaching attributed to Arius (c. AD 250–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of God the Father to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Arius asserted that the Son of God was a subordinate entity to God the Father. Deemed a heretic by the Ecumenical First Council of Nicaea of 325, Arius was later exonerated in 335 at the regional First Synod of Tyre,[1] and then, after his death, pronounced a heretic again at the Ecumenical First Council of Constantinople of 381.[2] The Roman Emperors Constantius II (337–361) and Valens (364–378) were Arians or Semi-Arians.

This is one great difference between religious discourse and scientific discourse, this ability to transform.

The religious philosophers will have problems, but the faithful will not. The philosophers will complain of contradictions and inconsistencies, but not the faithful:  their faith transforms their lives and their lives flow from the past to the future...
It is all like a great river.

Science and Philosophy and Logic as we have developed them in our Western Tradition cannot allow holes in the Credo, or gaps in the Canon.

When we talk of "belief systems" we forget this.

We like to think that the proposition "I believe in X" must be true or false.
But that feeling of necessity is derived from the philosophers, from the scientists, and from the logicians.

The Faithful have demonstrated for all of human life that Faith is not "atomistic" and "axoimatic"; rather, it is a great carpet of many-colors with infinite selvages blowing in a ceaseless breeze.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

An Adventure In Art (63)


Jason Felix

Gun Fun

Firearm violence trends in the 21st century
December 17, 2014
University of California - Davis Health System

While the overall death rate from firearm violence has remained unchanged for more than a decade, the patterns for suicide and homicide have changed dramatically, a UC Davis study on the epidemiology of gun violence from 2003 to 2012 has found. The study posted online in the Annual Review of Public Health on Dec. 12 and will appear in the print edition in January.

"Suicide by firearm is far more common than homicide," said Garen J. Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis. "Over the past 30 years, firearm suicides have exceeded homicides even when homicide rates were at their highest in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But, since 2006, the gap between the two has been widening, with firearm homicides decreasing and suicides increasing."


Firearm homicide: Young blacks at high risk


Firearm suicide: White males and females at higher risk


Mass killings: a small percentage of deaths


Firearm violence facts from 2003 -- 2012

(1}  300,659 deaths from firearm violence -- more than U.S. combat fatalities in WWII An average of    82.3 deaths every day.

(2)  $165 billion in costs to society in 2010

(3)  In 2012, 96.2 percent of all firearm deaths were from homicide and suicide, and 64 percent of deaths from firearm violence were suicides.
(4)  Compared to other industrialized nations, the U.S. has a low predisposition to violence but the highest firearm mortality.

Point 4 is interesting, stating that our predisposition to violence is low, yet our mortality due to guns is very high.
Risk factors for firearm violence
According to the General Social Survey, more than 50 million people in the U.S. own firearms. Firearm ownership increases risk of firearm homicide or suicide at the population, household and individual levels, Wintemute said.
"Focusing on known risk factors and predictors for firearm violence can have a broad impact," Wintemute said. "We know alcohol and controlled substance abuse are important predictors of future risk for violence directed at others or at oneself, whether or not mental illness is also present." ...


Alternate History?

 Al Wakrah Sports Complex in Qatar

Interview with Architect Albert Speer: The Search for Sustainability at the Qatar World Cup
Albert Speer has done much to change the world's appearance. The 80-year-old architect designed a satellite city near Cairo for 3 million people, the Chinese automotive city of Anting, a new capital for Nigeria and the 2000 Expo in Hanover. He also developed the Olympic bids for Leipzig for 2012 and Munich for 2018. Speer's stadium designs are a significant reason why Qatar was awarded the 2022 football World Cup...

It happens that this is the son of the Albert Speer who left Spandau Prison in 1996.


Times Square


Mulligan Iraq

(In case you are unfamiliar with golfing terms, a "mulligan" is a chance to hit the ball again without counting the first unacceptable stroke.)
How the Iraq War Financed a Beltway Real Estate Boom
By Ken Silverstein

Back in the DC real estate doldrums of the mid-1990s, before he helped pave the way for war in Iraq, Stephen Rademaker owned a modest condo in Arlington, Va.

Then, a few years later, as a House staffer on the International Relations Committee, Rademaker wrote the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which called for regime change, a phrase that altered the course of history. Bill Clinton signed the Act, which became the basis for the congressional authorization for the use of force against Saddam Hussein four years later; by then Rademaker was working at the State Department.

Things soon took a turn for the better, at least for Rademaker; he left government and went to work as a lobbyist, eventually joining countless numbers of retired government officials who cleaned up, directly or indirectly, by leading the country into war.

I wrote the other day about two of these former senior government officials, who have made a killing in the post-9/11 era: former CIA director George Tenet and former FBI director Louis Freeh. But when it comes to those who profited directly from the last thirteen years of war, Exhibit A perhaps is Rademaker, a man for whom the Iraq war became a giant piggybank.


Also worth mentioning is that Rademaker is married to neocon Danielle Pletka, another former Hill staffer who is now senior vice president at the American Enterprise Institute, and who clings by her nails to the cliff’s edge of sanity. She and her think tank were major proponents of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and last August, Pletka co-authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed that called President Obama’s response to ISIS “inadequate.” She demanded that Obama arm the Syrian opposition, send military advisers and trainers to Iraq “by the thousands, not hundreds,” and stop “blocking the delivery of much-needed weapons” to Iraq.

There is a lot of interesting skullduggery here, but I am most interested in the portion I underlined in the paragraph first quoted and the one last quoted.

Imagine this:

(1) instead of attacking Al Qa'ida directly, we went off and attacked somebody who we have been taught to hate since the Gulf War on TV in 1990,

(2) this person and his regime had nothing to do with 9/11 or the terrorism of that day,

(3) the official cause for war was a lie.

By today, we have spent just over a $ trillion in this misplaced endeavor, with future costs estimated to total $3 trillion +plus ( a large portion being medical care for injured vets).

So, why not go back now and do it right for another coupla $trillion?

Well, why not?

It takes a while to get it right.

And while we're at it, let's bail out the Financial Sector again in 2017, and get it right this time.



The Future....


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dr. Strange

I have a number of quite old Dr. Strange comic books.
I love comix.


Bizarre Et Charlie... Et Un Imbécile En Train De Se Poser Des Questions

I do not think I have ever read Charlie Hebdo.
I suppose I shall now.

I assume it is a weekly magazine, "hebdo" being short for hebdomedaire, meaning "weekly". It is interesting how the Latin picked up the Greek, the Latin "septem" dropping the "s" and turning it into the rough breathing "h", and the breathed "p" becoming the sounded "b" and same thing for the "t" to "d".

Not that interesting, though.

I used to read Bizarre magazine, which was a humor and cartoon magazine published in France - not the Bizarre magazine published by Brits!

Bizarre est une revue littéraire et artistique fortement influencée par le surréalisme. Fondée par Michel Laclos, éditée par Éric Losfeld en 1953 puis reprise par Jean-Jacques Pauvert en 1955 après deux numéros, elle a publié 48 numéros de 1953 à 1968.

Bizarre is a literary and arts review heavily influenced by surrealism...

An example:

There are not many example on the Internet, and this one is not one I was familiar with.
The schoolboy being disciplined is writing "I must not kill little pals" on the chalkboard.
I used to find the old issues in the basement of Assumption College library, and I would go through them 'tween stacks.

Imbécile en train de se poser des questions...
(a drawing of fellow with an air of being in a philosophical mood sitting on the edge of a cliff, looking up at the full moon...)


Is Paris Burning?

Prominent Saudi Fundamentalist

After the events in Paris, I am very sad to see that now some people say that Bill Maher is half right, half wrong, whereas before they considered him wrong.

I do not understand.
Did we not expect more violence?
Did we think all terrorism had stopped, and this recrudescence of the terror is so unforeseen that we must stop and re-think?

All religions contain messages of peace and messages of war.
Islam is not alone. Even Buddhism attacks Muslims in Myanmar, and some Hindus attack Muslims in India, whereas in Pakistan it is often open season on everyone.

Again, I repeat that we have gone to war against terrorism with a Pork Barrel Political Agenda, wherein everybody that thinks they have a stake in the matter gets a say in who should be attacked. Most of the big time targets have ended up being non-Al Qa'ida entities... which is the usuall outcome of the Pork Barrel: a bridge to nowhere, a war for no thing!

We must fight terrorism and the intolerant sect of philosophy that bred it, the radical Wahhabi fundamentalism of the Saudi ruling elite.
If we have to even refuse to purchase the cheap oil, then so be it. Those who fight us understand the prices to be paid in their chosen confrontations. 

As Hadrat 'Ali ibn Abi Talib spoke:

اتَّخَذُوا الشَّيْطَانَ لاِمْرِهِمْ مِلاَكاً، وَاتَّخَذَهُمْ لَهُ أَشْرَاكاً، فَبَاضَ وَفَرَّخَ في صُدُورِهِمْ، وَدَبَّ 
 وَدَرَجَ في حُجُورِهِمْ، فَنَظَرَ بِأَعْيُنِهِمْ، وَنَطَقَ بِأَلسِنَتِهِمْ، فَرَكِبَ بِهِمُ الزَّلَلَ، وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الخَطَلَ، فِعْلَ مَنْ قَدْ شَرِكَهُ الشَّيْطَانُ في سُلْطَانِهِ، وَنَطَقَ بِالبَاطِلِ عَلى لِسَانِهِ!

They have made Satan the master of their affairs, and he has taken them as partners. He has laid eggs and hatched them in their bosoms. He creeps and crawls in their laps. He sees through their eyes, and speaks with their tongues. In this way he has led them to sinfulness and adorned for them foul things like the action of one whom Satan has made partner in his domain and speaks untruth through his tongue.


A Week At The Cinema

We saw Big Eyes.

I thought that I would be fatally bored, but instead I found a film that got my initial attention, then never let loose. The pace of this film was wonderful.
I mean, not once did my interest flag, not once did I feel a need for a piece of black licorice, not once did I dis-connect and look around the darkened hall.

It was impressive.

Then I saw Foxcatcher.

The pace was entirely different, rather glacial.
Of course, the story was very different and the film tried to reach deeper areas of the psyche, and my mind wandered quite a bit.
As I think back, however, I realize that this film was deep enough that I actually should have a second viewing to be able to analyze it better.

There were important things being said. There was the distinction between the government supported Soviet system of Olympic sports ( the year was 1986 or so) and the rugged individual USA approach... except the whole thrust of what was to be done was to obliterate the old amateur Olympic ideal in the USA and replace it with support by the Rich.
At which point, the distinction between the Soviets and the Americans is sort of quantumly schmeared like cream cheese on a bagel of indifference.

I also found brief interest in the depiction of an old American flag in a glass cabinet mounted on the wall behind John Eleuther DuPont's desk, which image caused me to think that the Rich have a different perception of the flag and patriotism.
For the Rich, Patriotism is yet another asset class.
These little ways that the plot was developed were great. It is a good film.

Then we saw Into The Woods.

Broadway musicals are sources of enchantment on the stage. Most do not survive their transgendering into films.
I liked everyone. Meryll Streep as the witch was the stuff of nightmares, and Anna Kendrick as Cinderella was the stuff of dreams. Everyone was superb.

But the film was tedious. Sondheim's approach to dialogue works on stage, but does not work in films. I think it s due to the physical immediacy of the actors on the stage which sweeps us along into the enchantment. The 2 dimensions of the big screen require something else.

I recall being repelled by Anne Hathaway's enormous Fantine in Les Miz, which filled the screen like the giantess from Into The Woods.
Not appealing.

On the bright side, the Cockney urchin singer was very intelligible, which was definitely not the case in Les Miz, when at the funeral of General Jean Maximilien Lamarque, the requisite Cockney urchin leaps onto the back of a tumbrel and launches  (along with the cast)  into what in my experience was the longest unintelligible song in the English language.
I think I could have understood more had he sung in Setswana.


Murderous Quixotes

The murderers in France were closely linked to Al Qa'ida.

For over 13 years we have been fighting, but whom have we been fighting?

We have been in Afghanistan since October, 2001, fighting the Taliban, who are:
(1) not Al Qa'ida,
(2) had no role in the 9/11 attacks.

We invaded Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Saddam Hussein was:
(1) not Al Qa'ida,
(2) had no role in the 9/11 attacks.

We have supported civil war in Syria by supporting insurgents, a great portion of which has become the Islamic State. We did this to remove Bashar Al Assad from power, and he is:
(1) not Al Qa'ida,
(2) had no role in the 9/11 attacks.

An ominous pattern takes shape. No Enigma Code here. It is quite obvious.

It is as if every politician in Washington D.C., every member of the Likud, every blow-hard right-wing media mouthpiece was handed a "wish list" soon after 9/11, whereon they could mark down whom we should spend trillions of $ fighting wars against.

Peop-le have spoken for years about focus, and we hear them again, but it is so much easier and rewarding to use the martial ardor of the populace to go crusades like some dim-witted Quixotes of murderous intent.

Oh, and we did kill Osama bin Laden, who was:
(1) indeed Al Qa'ida,
(2) had a major role in the 9/11 attacks.


Friday, January 09, 2015


Ice Castle:

 The 30th annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin has this entry from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.


The Truth About Fracking Change !!

NBC News
Fracking Examined as Possible Factor in Texas Quakes, Experts Say
After at least a dozen earthquakes hit North Texas in 36 hours, geophysicists said they're looking into whether fracking might have been a factor. The largest quake hit Irving, Texas, with a magnitude of 3.6 on Tuesday evening. By then, local nerves were already frazzled from the initial 2.7-magnitude earthquake that hit Tuesday morning and the 3.5-magnitude earthquake that hit earlier in the afternoon. "It could just be a natural event that just happened to occur," Robert Williams, a geophysicist with the USGS, told NBC News. "We're going to be exploring all possibilities, including any contributions that the oil and gas industry might have in terms of injection of fluids or extraction of fluids in the subsurface."

Earthquakes have historically been rare in the area. That means scientists know very little about the cause of temblors in the area as compared to in seismic hot spots like California. "Generally speaking, we have not been studying earthquakes in our backyard until recently," Heather DeShon, an associate professor of geophysics at Southern Methodist University, told NBC News. She said that studies had linked fracking with increased earthquake activity in North Texas and Oklahoma, but urged against jumping to conclusions, saying "We cannot say yet what's causing the Irving earthquakes."


All I can say is that when I first heard of fracking and saw how it was done, I immediately thought that it would de-stabilize the ground.

But there are some Fracking Destabilizing Deniers, too, and they deserve their say that there is no ground Fracking Change being brought about by human well-drilling activity.

The town of Azle, Texas was having problems a year ago.
Look it up and see what's happened to them in the past 12 month.

A.I. Again

On AI - artificial intelligence - we read at Bloomberg's:
Texas Hold’em Mastered by Computer With No Wrong Moves
By Michelle Fay Cortez Jan 8, 2015 6:21 PM ET
... A breakthrough in artificial intelligence has allowed a computer to master the simplest two-person version of the poker game, working through every possible variation of play to make the perfect move every time. When performed without mistakes, just like the childhood game tic-tac-toe, there’s no way to lose. In this case the player is Cepheus, an algorithm designed by Canadian researchers.

“We have a strategy that can guarantee a player won’t lose,” said Michael Bowling, a computer scientist from the University of Alberta, who led a team working on the program. “It’s going to be a break-even game. It’s only when someone makes a mistake that they could end up losing.”

You don’t have to take their word, though, their work is published today in the journal Science. The researchers are calling for poker players to test the program for Limit Texas Hold’em by challenging Cepheus online. The results may cause gamblers to rethink some common moves, Bowling said in a telephone interview.

“Not only did we prove some things that most people already believe, like the dealer holds a substantial advantage, we got some answers where the poker community isn’t settled yet,” he said. “For example, re-raising with very low pairs. Most good poker players wouldn’t do that.”

The term for what Bowling and his colleagues did was “solve” the game, creating an optimal way to play that will never lose. It’s the first time that researchers have solved a game played competitively by humans that involves imperfect information, meaning that players don’t know everything, such as their opponents’ cards, as it progresses, said Tuomas Sandholm, from Carnegie Mellon University’s computer science department in Pittsburgh, in an editorial that accompanied the article.

The results apply only to the most basic form of the game, known as Heads-up Limit Hold’em, where there are two players and bets and raises are limited. Even with those restrictions, there are more than 10,000 billion decision points in the game...

... Solving the game required even deeper control than when the computer-program Chinook took the world championship title in checkers against humans in the 1990s or when International Business Machines Corp.’s Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in chess in 1997. While a computer program may one day beat the world’s best players of No-Limit Texas Hold’em, the most popular form of the game, it’s unlikely anyone will ever solve it because there are so many possible moves, Bowling said...

... The researchers devised a computer program that had no poker knowledge, playing in an utterly random fashion, and used artificial intelligence and game theory to calculate the best possible moves. Advances in general algorithms allowed them to work with larger-scale models; essentially the computer played 28.8 trillion hands per second for two months.

“By the time it was done, it had played more poker than all of humanity combined,” Bowling said. “It is so close to perfect right now that we call it essentially solved. You would never be able to know it wasn’t perfect.”

Cepheus’ winning ways aren’t just a matter of knowing the odds, something many professional and amateur poker players already have down. Instead, game theory and reasoning come into play, with the computer making complex decisions about bluffing and betting designed to throw off its competitors. For example, when the computer knows that it has a winning hand, it may not always bet that way -- instead pretending the cards are weaker than they actually are...

I have underlined two small sections. The first says that this is about artificial intelligence, and it is only about game playing.
The second mentions perfection. That which is perfect is not-human. Human is that which ceaselessly strives for perfection, for to have achieved perfection - however that goal could be judged! - is to stop trying. Period. Full stop. It is death-in-life.

Human intelligence is not merely running through billions of outcomes.

Faith is not based on the probabilities of Pascal's Wager, rather is is an intuitive shining within the World.

"Belief Systems" are based on the business of running through all the possibilities and finding them to be true or false. Our understanding of logic is very much based on the "atomistic" logic of Carnap and Wittgenstein and Russell, etc. and very close to machine theory mathematics.

Do not have belief systems. Live, don't believe.

As Sister Maria in The Great Beauty says, "Poverty is not to be talked about.... it is to be lived."
The virtues are not matters of discussion; they are to be lived.
God is not a book, a study, a belief system  alone... God is Life.