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Sunday, May 31, 2015

To Dolomite With Love

I am working on a post about my love affair with limestone, lakes, rivers, trains, freighters, and the few weekends I spent at Port Dolomite among Les Cheneaux Islands at the northern end of Lake Huron.

Even writing this, I can smell the air, and it fills me with the symphony breath of urgent spiritual wind instruments, desiring to be free...

Every time I went to Northern Michigan, there was a certain spot, a certain elevation where the clouds were closer, as if they descended to meet us, and we were filled with clarity.

The picture above reminds me of the bays I used to haunt.
When the water was low, it was a long hike along a rocky shingle.
When the water was high, I jumped from boulder to boulder. I had a good sense of balance. Every prominence was lofty, every rock a secret, every glen a fairy circle...



Some of Dr. C's Kids

Dr. C's Blog

Dr. C. is a dentist on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. His blog is moribund, in that it has not had a posting since this in 2013. The last entry, actually, is a comment by myself on this post, and that may indeed have been the straw that broke this camel's back. My comment seems upon my re-reading to be dimwitted.

Regardless of any of that, this is meant to be read in conjunction with my post on Dennis Hastert:

When I wrote that post, I greatly suspected some sort of abuse, but details had not emerged.
Dr. C's post was on the Newton shootings. There was a Mr. Lott on FOX who as opined that mass shooters pick venues where few people are carrying guns, thereby ensuring the mass shooter a good time.
This theory seems to ignore the Fort Hood shooter, however, but never let facts interfere with a good theory.
I think there are various types of shooters. Some like to prey on kids. Simple as that, pedo-shooters.

(In this post, he references two other moribund blogs, Psychobabble and the Growlery.)

Dr. C
Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Recently, on the blog Psychobabble, I made a comment regarding the school shooting in Newton, Connecticut:

We all "have a right to our opinion" and mine corresponds with yours (the author of Psychobabble). But, opinion only covers things that are not, by nature, logical. To me, if children are being killed by guns, the answer is either to get rid of the children, or, get rid of the guns.

I guess one of my many failings is speaking in hyperbole. It does often tend to dilute the emotion, in this case sadness. My good friend from the Northeast corner of the Pond, took issue with the my contention that this was a logical question. Hoping he will give permission, I'll copy his comment:

Trouble is, Doc, that logic starts from premises ... and people pick their own premises.

Your unspoken premises in the above logic (and ones with which, of course, I passionately agree) include "children should not be killed by guns" and "children matter more than guns". The NRA and its fellow travellers would agree the first one but equivocate over the second.

And we all do the same in different ways. Which of us argues for constraint on road vehicles which currently kill about two thousand people a year in the UK (of which approx 8-10% are children), thirty thousand in the USA, three hundred thousand globally? As societies we tacitly accept, as the NRA does with firearms (and governments do with foreign wars, and industrialists used to do with child factory labour), a level of child mortality as the price of our chosen norms. And those acceptances become premises in our logic.

As always, there is a lot of wisdom in what the Growlery has to offer. However, I think his comment raises several profound questions. The first, of course, is our "tacit acceptance" of certain occurrences as norms, in particular, the death of children. This is an issue that has occupied my thinking for some time and it has multiple ramifications. It bears remembering that children have only recently gained the status of real people. The reason for this is quite clear. Up until the 20th century, the mortality rate for children even in first world countries (e.g. Italy p 8-9) was very high. I have an old Pediatric textbook from the 1920's that estimates that upward of 40% of children died before the age of 5 y.o. in the 19th century. In Tudor England p 113, for which records exist, the death rate by the age 10 years was circa 42%. One can only shudder to think what the death rate of children in the ancient and medieval must have been.

As one consequence, until very recently, children did not become real people probably until they left childhood and went into adulthood bypassing the current extended adolescence. Certainly Romeo and Juliet were considered people though it is obvious that they are adolescents. The heroine in Balzac's Les Chouans, the Republican operative (sic), is in her mid teens but I can't find the reference. Thus, if my hypothesis is correct, the death of a child while tragic at any time for a parent, probably did not have the ramifications that such a death does today.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Starting in the 1970's, many medical centers established neonatal intensive care units. Younger and younger babies were surviving. Every life became more and more important. The age at which a newborn is judged "viable" has dropped in my professional lifetime from 26-27 weeks to as low as 23 weeks! The consequences of this pushing of the frontier of viability are many. Firstly, and most importantly for the discussion here, it places more and more emphasis on survivability of children. (the ethics of the viability question is also important but not part of this discussion).

Many other developments have changed the focus of Western Society to put importance on the survival of every child. These are well known. Families are small because of less demand for ready farm workers. And families do not need have many children to replace those children who died, usually from disease. (I should put a plug in here for getting vaccinations).

As a result of this, children are extremely valued in our society. We spend millions of dollars on a NICU baby. Since the 1960's one might even say that our society is youth oriented, though an argument can be made that dollars have replaced it. The reaction to the massacre in Newton I think exhibits this concentration of attention. (One wonders if the reaction would have been the same if it had been 20 African-American children.) note A   However, I don't think this feeling is in anyway universal across all scenarios. As the Growlery points out, the fact that we are so complacent when hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq were slaughtered and continue to be slaughtered in Syria, Afghanistan and Gaza lends some credence to his contention that some things matter more than the actual life of a child, in the minds of some people.

Yet still, I would argue that anyone who held the possession of a assault-rifle above the life of a child (always in the abstract, of course) is in some way perverted. After all, we are evolutionarily driven to produce and nurture children. Can the momentary pleasure of causing a deer to die of lead poisoning compare? Children are, as some crazy Greek said, immortality for some of us. But, it is also true that we as a society in a certain way accept the carnage of the automobile. But, I would argue, it is certainly not in the same ethical category as guns. I would like to point out that there is at least some control of who drives a car and increasingly severe penalties for using it for slaughter, even unintentional, which can't be said for a gun.

What exact value do we then place on the life of a child? Versus the life of an adult? What about the value of the elderly? (stop looking in the mirror, Dr. C.) Our Congress at the very minute debates slashing funds for social programs that will result in untimely deaths. Who is the arbitrator?

Children are immortality...
Children always are something, and we shall take advantage of that something, whether it be immortality, pleasure, dreams, or just a miserliness which allows them to die of disease and hunger since they are so small and insignificant.
If children are immortality, then we have murder'd the future.


note A:
notice how things have moved along since January, 2013:
" One wonders if the reaction would have been the same if it had been 20 African-American children."

or if it had been 20 African-American young men...
lots of people are being mowed down these days.


Кавказ: Caucasia Flows To ISIS

Map of Caucasia, the Black Sea bottom left and the Azov above it

[Years and years ago - before the fall of the USSR, I read about the future problems the USSR would face with large Muslim populations growing restive.
I do not think the writers at the time had any idea things would get so far out of control and end up like it is today.]

The attraction of ISIS is growing, pulling adherents from other potential Islamic states.
Watching their magnetism while the USA, the EU, Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia and its stooges all dither about is fascinating in a ghastly way.

Here are stories on ISIS's attraction to militants:

Imarat Kavkaz = Caucasian Emirate

Caucasian Knot
Magomed Suleimanov appointed leader of "Imarat Kavkaz", his relative confirms
28 May 2015, 21:55


"At present, he  [ Magomed Suleimanov]  is the acting Amir of the 'Imarat Kavkaz', and in the coming days, his election will be formally announced," the "Caucasian Knot" was informed by a source, who preferred to remain anonymous and who had contacted a relative of Abu Usman of Gimry by phone.

According to the source, the difficulties with the appointment of Amir of the "Imarat Kavkaz" arise because of the fact that at present, the organization has got no shura, an advisory decision-making body.

"In fact, the 'Imarat Kavkaz' has no members empowered to make such decisions collectively. There are only individuals, including Magomed Suleimanov. And he is the only member, who got Sharia education. So, there was little choice. A lot of leaders joined the 'Islamic State'," the source has said...

"A lot of leaders joined the 'Islamic State'"; there you go.

Caucasian Knot
"Imarat Kavkaz" is rapidly losing its influence in Dagestan
29 May 2015, 22:55
The growth of the number of cases, when residents of Dagestan swear to the "Islamic State" (IS), suggests that the "Imarat Kavkaz" is losing its influence in the region and could eventually join the IS, said the experts, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot".

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Nadir Medetov (Nadir Abu Khalid), a well-known Salafi preacher from Dagestan, swore to the leader of the "Islamic state", which was recognized terrorist organization, and urged his supporters to follow his example. Video, showing how Nadir Abu Khalid met members of the IS and sworn to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the terrorist organization, was posted on YouTube on May 23.

Abdullah Rinat Mukhametov, a political analyst and an expert of the Council of Muftis of Russia, is confident that the IS is becoming more and more popular amidst the radical part of Caucasian youth.

Geidar Jemal, the chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia, is sure that the main factor of IS' popularity is in its successful actions.

So far, it is too early to discard the "Imarat Kavkaz", but one cannot but note a serious decline in its functioning...

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Truth Or Comment?

The Last Of The Mohicans 
Russel Means and Wes Studi

New game.
Brilliant. Just made it up.

I hope it does better than my last one, which was based on guessing an individual and a movie, all based upon a vague description of the individual and a correlated something from a movie which had a connection, no matter how tenuous, to the individual.
I do not think I even got so far as to have a name for it.
However, for example, I had a friend who did contract work in Kentucky for a while, so the clue was "guy who worked in Ken-tuck-eee".

Now all the syllables in "Ken-tuck-eee" had the same flat accent on them, and if we were really doing well, it would be delivered in the voice of Daniel Day Lewis. Then it is obvious that the film is The Last Of The Mohicans. (Many of the native American languages do not have the same type of accentuation that we may be used to.)
Assuming we guessed the guy who did the contract work, we got everything at that point.

The only problem was I tried this game out on the guy who himself did the contract work in Ken-tuck-eee, and who had seen the film The Last Of The Mohicans, and he drew a total blank. I mean, he did not have a clue.
I mean, he said he did not know anyone who did any work in Kentucky for a week, then came home for the weekend, then returned Mondays. Since this is what he himself had done, it was perplexing. I think the movie section frightened him.

I don't know exactly what his mental processes were, but apparently they were something like:

"These are not the way of the Huron. Magwa does not understand this nonsense."


This new game is much simpler.

Truth or Comment?

Just open up two or three different stories in newsie sites that let the readers comment.
Then take the comments and mix them up.

West Coast drought: Why California water is so cheap
Jane Wells Thursday, 28 May 2015 | 11:29 AM ET

When it can be illegal to withdraw your own money
Zack Guzman 19 Hours Ago

Thus, we have drought, water, rivers, blah-blah-blah, and money, banks, government, IRS, FBI, yadda-yadda-yadda...

a) I seldom use my credit card unless I am buying something online or large like appliances, furnace, air conditioner. I usually pull out a $1000 to $5000 at the beginning of the month depending on what I intend to spend money on that month. Based on this article looks like I am going to have to keep records of how I spend every dime.
b)  Start by drinking your own pee..
c)  That's what your tax forms are for...

d)  bad idea.. pee is full of toxins that your body is excreting. urea is one. now if you had access to a still you could probably distill your pee and extract pure water from it....

e)  This is not freedom. It is close monitoring by a government who wants to know who you call, email, text, and how much money you have and where you spend it.
This is slavery, but the slaves don't know they are slaves.

f)  Hillbillies have a leg up on the competition....

The only problem with this game is that it begins to sound strangely like cable TV and radio talk shows.
Instead of being some sort of "Mad-libs" craziness, it reminds us of our TV shows and Government officials.


We weren't going for scarey, but it'll work.


Friday, May 29, 2015

The Man Who Couldn't Say No

He could never say no to George W. Bush's mad spending. That is the reason I took an oath never to vote for a Republican again. It wasn't any of their other nonsense, it was not their infernal war-mongering; it was their out-of-control spending during the Bush Administration.
If you do not remember, look it up.

Mr. Hastert is in the news again, unfortunately.

The Indictment of Dennis Hastert
Bradford DeLong
And I immediately flash to John Micklethwaite and Adrian Wooldridge's 2005 book, The Right Nation. One important argument of it was that:

Nancy Pelosi and her constituents in San Francisco are decadent perverts living in a city that is "stagnating... nondescript houses... [with] some districts (particularly south of Market) downright tawdry... thumbing its nose at business..." yet somehow "aristocratic".
Dennis Hastert and his constituents on the Illinois prairie are hard-working middle-class strivers who fear God and focus on being parts of stable, normal families.

It was obviously false and lazy back then, to Americans at least: A discussion of the prairie that doesn't mention methamphetamine? A discussion of San Francisco that does not mention the growing software and internet-media industries?


John Holbo had a nice review of The Right Nation back in THE DAY:

John Holbo: Intelligent Design: "[The book] affords many irritations to the non-conservative reader...

...The authors still enjoy toying with the idea that America is a 50/50 nation, half of which isn’t really American, but more … European. They equivocate between using ‘right nation’ as a tag for America, and a tag for half of America. 'To people who wonder 'What sort of place is Texas? the simplest answer is that it is America exponentiated. Texas is America’s America, or at least conservative America’s America' (p. 134).
Lots of little nudges like that.... They don’t belly up to the bar and drink the conservative kool-aid, but they do take many a debonair, pinky-raised sip. Then, on p. 159-60 these Brits do some Texas-style kool-aid bong hits....

and so on.

John Micklethwaite and Adrian Wooldridge (2005): The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America: "Dennis Hastert, the Republican Speaker, and Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic minority leader...

...typify the political clash that we have followed.... Hastert, a hulking former wrestling coach, is a fairly straightforward conservative: antiabortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-Kyoto, pro-invading Iraq, pro-death penalty. Pelosi, a tiny birdlike woman... at the other end of the political spectrum....
Revealing even more of the country’s political differences are the districts these individuals represent. Pelosi’s district (California’s eighth) is more or less coterminous with San Francisco, the “bluest,” most liberal city in America.... Hastert’s (Illinois’s fourteenth) is deep scarlet. It begins in the suburbs thirty miles west of the Chicago Loop and then stretches out through miles of cornfields to a point just forty miles short of the Iowa border....
The differences between the two places are so striking that it is difficult to know where to begin. San Francisco is part of vertical America—a land of soaring skyscrapers and high-density living. Hastert’s district is part of horizontal America. The same arguably goes for the people: in Illinois, a broad girth is a sign of health. In San Francisco, even the chefs are thin. San Francisco is as edgy as America gets--a peculiar mix of blue bloods and gays, dotcom millionaires and aging hippies. Hastert’s district is resolutely “normal.” The local citizens think of themselves as typical Americans....

It is such a shame that no one learns the lesson that prides goes before the banana peel; when you set yourself or something you value up as a moral paradigm, it is only a matter of time before fate trips you up grievously.

Think of the Duggars.

I mean, I did not even know about these people until a few days ago.
So now I am forced to make their acquaintance... if I were related to them at a distance that required gift giving on birthdays and holidays, I would be at my wits' end.

Their message seems to be to procreate.
That is all well and good, but I'm not so sure I'd watch a TV show based on it. It is just the type of thing that 10 years from now you read about in articles about how dysfunctional the whole thing was, and now they are not talking to each other.
Fecundity is a process that is pretty much outside morality; taking care of 19 kids or so requires incredible skill and help, I would think.
I mean, I used to have to worry about Middle Child Syndrome; imagine if you had to ponder whether you were suffering from 12th Child Syndrome?

Be careful of people who set themselves up before you.
During a snowstorm of fresh, powdery, and excellently-packing snow, why would you dress up and step out for a stroll wearing your top hat?
Did you really expect that no neighborhood scallywag would heft a snowball at it?

I will not write about what possibly Mr. Hastert did back in the day.
Everyone abuses kids; they can't fight back.
Some how, some way, we all take what we need from youth and leave them crippled.... like the thousands we let die in Iraq.... for a lying dream of the violent incontinence of the elderly.


Everyone Is Kevin Bacon's Second Cousin

Francesco Rosi's Le mani sulla città, 1963

Sorry about that title, but it is the only thing I could think of to express the threads of actors remembered and the films in which they starred.

I came across this picture today:

so I immediate thinks 8 1/2-like.... Fellini-mente.... Mastoianni-mente.... capisci?

But I am wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, even though there is a remembered scene in 8 1/2 in which this guy is a film producer speaking to Marcello Mastroianni's character descending a staircase  (fully-clothed, however),  asking for some guidance on which direction - if any! - the movie funded by his money was going.

The only thing I got to hang on him is the name of the film in French, Main Basse Sur La Ville.
So it is not 8 1/2 after all. But I swear it's the same guy, same type of shot... maybe.

So I go for a drive on Noon Street, looking to pickup some dirt on this type à deux mains... two-hand Joe who does the same shtick in every movie he's in?!  Right hand, left; droit, gauche.... ya see 'em in the still, right?

The film Main Basse Sur La Ville was Italian, Le Mani Sulla Città; Hands Over The City:

Rod Steiger was in it, so I used him as a terminus with which to establish the time of Hands Over The City.
Here is a still of Steiger from Hands:

Although blurry, it is clear Mr. Steiger is quite young, so I would put the time at 1960 +/- 5 years.
(I suppose I could have just looked it up in IMDb.)

That means that we are in the same time period as Fellini's 8 1/2.

So I finally gets to looking up the two flicks on IMDb  (  and compare the full cast lists.
Guido Alberti plays the producer in 8 1/2, and he is also in Le Mani Sulla Città:

And, in case you have already forgotten the topic of this here post:
Guido Alberti was born in Benevento, and was indeed the cousin of Leonora Pancetta
-  and "pancetta" being a pork product in Italy! -  thus making him the second cousin of Kevin Bacon!
Ya unnerstand what Ah'm sayin' ?!


Films: A.I.

A.I. came out in 2001, and recently it was brought up during a discussion about Ex Machina (which film caused a brief problem for me when I bought the ticket, for I could not remember where the stress should be placed in a Latin phrase derived from a Greek expression; I remembered enough to pronounce it as "ex mah'keenah", and I hoped for the best.)

When A.I. was brought up, I had to wander back through the Haley Joel Osment halls, Jude Law-only-a-gigolo-robot memories, and came to rest with the kindly William Hurt character who built the child robot, whose name was either David or Awesomo (that may have been Cartmann, come to think of it).

I dismissed it as not being science fiction, because it was actually about motherly love.
Having said "motherly love", I began to hum Frank Zappa's Motherly Love, which no one had ever heard before..........
(obviously a glitch in the programming; I was talking to people my age, and there was no reason for such blatant Zappa deficiency.)

And it was not merely a paean to motherly love; it was a philosophical musing on the place of motherly love in the universe and a love that has the potential to transcend time.
I may be mistaken, but that seems to me to be a weighty theme.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Continuous Transportation

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

The Detroit, Toledo, and Ironton Railroad

Track West of Washington Court House

Abandoned Right-of-Way at Bondclay

Abandoned Right-of-Way at Lyra

I used to work near a spur where the DT and I used to run trains.


Continuous Transportation

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

Train going up Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador.


Drought 旱災


The current drought...., that is, the drought in Taiwan, not in California nor Australia.

The picture above is Shinmen Resevoir, which is said to be on the verge of being empty in 32 days.

Furthermore, the nine frogs of Sun Moon Lake are all revealed back in February. I do not know how many are visible now, but it is a different way to think about a drought. Instead of a severe drought, we could say a nine, ten frogger.

Or if there are torrential rains, such as in the south of the USA over the last few days, instead of saying there was a rain of biblical proportions, we could say that it was a frog-topper!

On the other hand, I doubt we need such metaphorical expressions.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Vatican II Revisisted

What Critics Get Wrong About the Significance of Vatican II
Drew Christiansen | May 22 2015
French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran opened a four-day conference at Georgetown University Thursday celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican II quoting the late French President Charles de Gaulle. Reflecting on the significance of the council, the cardinal recounted, the general told the apostolic nuncio to Paris, the council was “the most important event of the century, because you can’t change the prayer of a million men and women without affecting the balance of the planet.”

“Without pronouncing dogmatic sentences,” the cardinal said, “the Second Vatican Council expressed its teaching on many questions which occupy the conscience and activity of man.”


Georgetown University church historian John O’Malley, S.J., took direct aim at the mistaken belief that a pastoral council is less weighty than a dogmatic.
 “If, indeed, we look at the number and importance of Vatican II’s teachings,” Father O’Malley said, Vatican II is not Council Lite but the very opposite.” He went on then to identify the council’s teaching. Among those he listed were:
  • what God has revealed is not a set of propositions but (Christ’s) very person;
  • Sacred Scriptures is inerrant only in what “serves to make the people of God live their lives in holiness and increase their faith”;
  • the purpose of church is to promote the holiness of its members;
  • “‘the people of God’ is a valid, crucially important and, moreover, traditional expression of the reality of the church”;
  • the church has “the responsibility of exerting itself for the well-being of the world”;
  • “the dignity and excellence of political freedom”;
  • freedom to follow conscience in choice of religion; and
  • “the dignity of conscience, ‘that most secret core and the sanctuary of the human person.’”
These teachings are not constitutive doctrines, like the Trinity and Incarnation, “but they are nonetheless,” said O’Malley, a historian of both the Council of Trent and of Vatican II, “truths of the utmost importance for understanding…what it means to be a Christian in the world today.


I And Thou

 Martin Buber

As I have mentioned, I do not believe in God.

If someone were to ask me, I say that I expect God.

Having reached this point, if someone asks me to explain what I mean by "expect", I use the metaphor of a conversation; if people are engaged deeply in a conversation, if they are speaking intimately, such as Martin Buber speaks of in "Ich und Du" ("I and Thou"), you "expect" a continuation of the conversation.
If you speak and there is a silence, you are greatly surprised.
What has happened?
Has the telephone gone dead?
Has the other party hung up?

Those things happen when you really do not expect too much. When you think you are speaking to a dope, you are not surprised when there is a vast silence, or there is some bizarre nonsense in return. But when you are intimately engaged in an interaction between intelligent entities, you "expect" that the other party is engaged, and you "expect" responses.

So do I when it comes to God. The expectation is that of mutually active engagement and interaction.
I expect the mail lady to come every day between 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM, but there is no particular mutually active engagement between her and me. Different expectation.
Similarly, I believe in certain forms of the Theory of Evolution, but I do not "expect" any sort of "I and Thou" relationship to be established between it and me. I am using beliefs for some purpose other than "hanging out" together.

Reciting Homer's Odyssey

Story is a form of this mutually active interaction.
A good storyteller - Plato's Ion comes to mind; there is a dialogue devoted to Ion's recitals of Homer and it was the first dialogue I ever translated - however does not engage in a conversation with his audience, although he holds them in a state of enchantment.

The hearer of the story is very active in hearing, processing, interpreting and finding meaning in the story to which he is listening. However, there is no response to the storyteller.
If I am having a telephone conversation and the person on the other end of the phone is telling me a story, when she finally stops for air - I am imagining that this "she" is my mother - I often do respond with a story of my own.
But typically good storytelling does not have this response, and I think it is because of the enchantment of the story told by a good storyteller: although I am very active in understanding the story, I am almost zero in trying to think of a response or my own story, because I am mute with that enchantment and wonder.

Syrian Odyssey

Everyone seeks to engage and tell their story.
When I was young, I did not talk much, and when I did, it was usually something I found important. My father was diffident, and my mother could not listen; even now she hears but does not engage actively to understand what others are trying to say.
As a teenager, I found this maddening.

Now I write to tell my story. Some people listen, some don't.

Other people are hobbled by poverty and cannot develop their ability to make their story in the world.
Others are hampered by illness and disease; others by wars and violence.

This is where we shall all overcome: where we triumph over the shortfalls of our lives, the failed picnics, the wasted parties, the things over which we had no control..... the regrets, the weeping and keening over galactic spills...

The future is the world where all of us may tell our stories, and there will be some one intimate "Thou" listening and understanding.

God may perform that function if we stop believing - which is a silly practice in philosophical epistemology, for pity's sake! - and begin to expect and live the Presence.

The above picture is a time-worn scenario of "holiness".
It tells us to "practice" God, mainly by (1) staring upwards into space, and (2) folding one's hands tightly, and (3) having a caption in a famously fancy script telling everyone else what is going on.

Godliness is not a movie following a script. All the saccharin smiles of all the saints on all the engraved holy cards in the world do not help any individual on the road to God.

God is not practice, nor exercise. God is not a cabinet separated from life, not a special compartment of the train of life, not some first-class meditation hall on the airplane of life......

We have everything we need to live.

Apartheid Denial 2

Israel jails Palestinians for Facebook comments
Activists say Israeli authorities are "watching social media closely and targeting Palestinians" for online postings.
Patrick Strickland | 23 May 2015 13:49 GMT

The "double standard", he added, also extends to "protests and other events". Last Sunday, Israelis marched through Jerusalem's Old City, home to many Palestinians, to mark "Jerusalem Day", a holiday celebrating Israel's 1967 occupation of East Jerusalem.
The week before that march, the Israeli High Court ruled against two non-governmental organisations' appeal to prevent the Israelis from marching through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Although the court deemed it permissible for them to march through the area, it also demanded that police have a "zero tolerance" policy for anti-Arab chants and incitement, adding that anyone who chanted "Death to Arabs!" should be arrested.
During the march, hundreds of Israeli protesters nonetheless chanted such slogans. "Death to Arabs!" many were filmed chanting without police intervention. "Muhammad is a homo," others sang, referring to the Islamic prophet. Several Palestinians were arrested during the Jerusalem Day march during clashes with police.
Back in Jerusalem, Iyab Shalabi echoes Rimawi's comments. "There are so many Israeli groups on Facebook calling for Arabs to be killed, but nothing ever happens," he said. "[Israel] wants Palestinians to shut up and be quiet, to accept the occupation. Israel is trying to deliver a message that any Palestinians - whether from Hamas, Fatah or the Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine] - can be arrested."...

As the Mothers of Invention asked, "Who are the brain police?"

As long as the violence continues, people will continue to interpret reality as a process of violence.  Therefore, there will be no end to violent acts and violent language, and thus no end to free speech turned to violence and denial of free speech to monitor violence.

Violence only truly ends in exhaustion.


Apartheid Denial

Palestinian laborers with permits to work in Israel step off a minibus as they return to the West Bank at Israel's Eyal checkpoint near the West Bank town of Qalqilya, May 20, 2015. (photo by REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

First international blunder of Bibi's new government
Author Mazal Mualem Posted May 21, 2015
TranslatorDanny Wool
“A government was elected. It has a clear agenda, which is the security of its citizens throughout the country, including in Judea and Samaria. People sitting in the cafes on Shenkin Street in Tel Aviv must not be allowed to set the country’s agenda.” That was part of a response by the Likud’s new Knesset member Oren Hazan to a decision to suspend a pilot program segregating Jews and Palestinians on buses in the West Bank.

Palestinians who enter Israel for work now can return directly to the West Bank using public transportation. According to the new plan, they would have to get off the buses for a security check when they re-enter the territories. What these instructions effectively do is create a situation in which Palestinian commuters are forced to leave their buses, while Jewish commuters can continue unhindered...

Moti Yogev, a colonel in the reserves and a resident of the settlement of Dolev, waged a long struggle on behalf of this kind of segregation. When the pilot segregation program was announced May 20, Yogev of HaBayit HaYehudi was quick to congratulate it, considering it a personal and political achievement. He responded to widespread condemnation of the plan by saying, “None of those criticizing the decision is actually familiar with the reality of the situation. What they are saying about it is hypocritical, false and irresponsible. The reality is that the Arabs in Judea and Samaria live better here than they would in any of the neighboring Arab states. (note A)

Ya’alon also defended his decision, saying, “There is no segregation. A properly functioning state can keep tabs on who is coming in and leaving. That’s all this is about.” This time, however, the use of public safety considerations to excuse the galling ethical injustice of segregated buses did not withstand the test of reality. Security arguments barely survived a few hours before Netanyahu ordered that the pilot be stopped. By then, however, the plan itself had already caused serious diplomatic damage to Israel, including the settlements of Judea and Samaria.

This example of segregation for reasons of security was immediately presented as an example of Israeli apartheid. As an exceptionally talented apologist, Netanyahu immediately recognized the potential damage that the sinister combination of buses and segregation would have in an enlightened international narrative, and particularly in the collective memories of the United States and South Africa. (note B) 

With the term “apartheid” appearing more and more over the past few years, in the context of Israel’s occupation of Judea and Samaria, Netanyahu realized that he must act quickly to limit the damage, and ordered the program to be suspended immediately...

This article speaks for itself. What I found interesting was the speed with which it was stopped due to similarities to segregation in the two USAs (United States of America and the Union of South Africa) - note A:

- and the line of thinking that bore similarities to discourse about slavery, in particular how certain slaves, the ones who worked in the master's house, were better off than slaves who did not - note B:

Although many deny that Apartheid exists, yet its manner of thinking and processing information exists in the minds of many.

Friday, May 22, 2015

It Takes A Whole Criminal Cartel To Raise A Child

From the enormous and influential gangster banks that have just been fined 5.7 billions of dollars - but no one goes to jail, of course - to a national past time that creates celebrity quarterbacks that cheat and lie about it, we provide an education for the coming generations.

There are articles which assert now that the New England Patriots are not protesting NFL discipline, because the head coach cannot entirely believe the account of his star quarterback.

The Clintons made $30 millions dollars last year due to - gosh, would you believe it!? - their folksiness and God's grace.

When I write the post The Critique Of Ouroboros

I had not yet read Seymour Hersh's article trashing the official government-media-(intel-military-industrial-complex-yadda-yadda-yadda) account of the death of bin Laden. I wrote the post because I did read the criticism of Mr. Hersh, and I found the criticism so bizarre that I wrote about it.

It was so odd to me that I have looked into the matter, and I tend to side with Mr. Hersh.
The Columbia Journalism Review has harshly criticized the media and government:
The media’s reaction to Seymour Hersh’s bin Laden scoop has been disgraceful
Seymour Hersh has done the public a great service by breathing life into questions surrounding the official narrative of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Yet instead of trying to build off the details of his story, or to disprove his assertions with additional reporting, journalists have largely attempted to tear down the messenger.
Barrels of ink have been spilled ripping apart Hersh’s character, while barely any follow-up reporting has been done to corroborate or refute his claims—even though there’s no doubt that the Obama administration has repeatedly misinformed and misled the public about the incident. Even less attention has been paid to the little follow-up reporting that we did get, which revealed that the CIA likely lied about its role in finding bin Laden, which it used to justify torture to the public...

How corrupt are we?

I mean, this is the bin Laden affair where barely a few months had gone by and all the Navy Seals had signed on to book deals and helped provide expert advice to the movie industry...

We live in a Stalinism of the morally deluded.

Since we have nothing of substance to function as a spiritual guide, we create anomalous fairy tales to be our guide. For example, in Syria, we follow the convenient fiction that Assad must be removed at all costs - just as we ten years earlier freely chose to be deluded that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 - and that forms our policy of catastrophe.

And we enforce those delusions!

And we teach them to the next generation.


Der Schatten Des Vampirs

“…the inadequacy of our plans,our contingencies, every missed train, the failed picnics, every lie to a child.”
John Malkovich as F.W.Murnau in The Shadow of the Vampire.

On Mothers’ Day we couldn’t go to my parent's summer cottage, because they had two or three dogs,  and my daughter was allergic to animals. Ditto Fathers’ Day... July 4th... my birthday... and so on.

We used to have picnics with our friends on Fathers’ Day. The fathers would play tennis. The mothers minded the children and laid out a picnic.

We don’t do that anymore, and have not for a long time.The children have families of their own and we have all fallen away.

Die ausgefallenen Picknicks...
Die Zufälligkeiten...
Der Schatten des Vampirs...

The failed picnics… the contingencies...the shadows of the vampire.

 Walking through the forest at Babi Yar today...

 מיין אייגן פּריוואַט באַבי יאַר
 meine private Babi Jar, wo meine Freunde getötet wurden.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mozilla Madness 2

It seems highly possible that my problems with Firefox are due to the Google Search.
I cleaned everything up again, and then switched to for searching, and so far no extra page listings that consists of advertisements.

I'll keep my fingers crosses.


A Vast Despondency


... covers the planet, as we await our fate.
The graphic story of Hellboy is very much positive and cheery compared to the thoughts of the impossible dilettantes of destruction that have mused and mourned about our futures in the media since 9/11.

Just the other day, I ran a composite of the Seven Gods Of Chaos:

Top: Wolfowitz, Kristol, Perle, Feith
Bottom:   Libby,  Bolton,  Ledeen

but there are more than a mere seven eldritch eminences... many more.

In the New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman has delved into dark and dangerous palantiri, I think:
Go Ahead, Ruin My Day
March 18, 2015
 As the saying goes, “to err is human, to forgive is divine,” to which I’d add: “to ignore” is even more human, and the results rarely divine. None of us would be human if we didn’t occasionally get so wedded to our wishes that we failed to notice — or outright ignored — the facts on the ground that make a laughingstock of our hopes...

Well, we know what he's talking about now, even though he has deftly hidden his topic from us.
He says, "...facts on the ground..."
Most people when they wish to talk about facticity or what is real and factual, merely use the expression "the facts".
Since Mr. Friedman's facts are "on the ground", we know he is talking about military matters, conflating "facts" with "boots" and imagining both being "on the ground".  Since Ramadi - which to me is the City of Ashes, just as Falluja is Pumbedita - has fallen recently to ISIS, we in in for a ride through the Middle East.
O.K., so we learn to live with Iran on the edge of a bomb, but shouldn’t we at least bomb the Islamic State to smithereens and help destroy this head-chopping menace? Now I despise ISIS as much as anyone, but let me just toss out a different question: Should we be arming ISIS? Or let me ask that differently: Why are we, for the third time since 9/11, fighting a war on behalf of Iran?
"I despise ISIS as much as anyone"?! Really! Nothing like establishing your creds, Friedman.
In 2002, we destroyed Iran’s main Sunni foe in Afghanistan (the Taliban regime). In 2003, we destroyed Iran’s main Sunni foe in the Arab world (Saddam Hussein). But because we failed to erect a self-sustaining pluralistic order, which could have been a durable counterbalance to Iran, we created a vacuum in both Iraq and the wider Sunni Arab world. That is why Tehran’s proxies now indirectly dominate four Arab capitals: Beirut, Damascus, Sana and Baghdad.
ISIS, with all its awfulness, emerged as the homegrown Sunni Arab response to this crushing defeat of Sunni Arabism — mixing old pro-Saddam Baathists with medieval Sunni religious fanatics with a collection of ideologues, misfits and adventure-seekers from around the Sunni Muslim world. Obviously, I abhor ISIS and don’t want to see it spread or take over Iraq. I simply raise this question rhetorically because no one else is: Why is it in our interest to destroy the last Sunni bulwark to a total Iranian takeover of Iraq? Because the Shiite militias now leading the fight against ISIS will rule better? Really?
"Homegrown Sunni Arab response..."  Sounds rather grassy-rootsy... if you ignore the beheadings and tortures and what-not.
If it seems as though we have only bad choices in the Middle East today and nothing seems to work, there is a reason: Because past is prologue, and the past has carved so much scar tissue into that landscape that it’s hard to see anything healthy or beautiful growing out of it anytime soon. Sorry to be so grim.

Mr. Friedman does not even condemn the choices that led us to this point. Why does he not rend his garments, pour ashes (ramaad) over his head and beg forgiveness for his support of the intrusion into Iraq.

What he calls "scar tissue" is the residue of the freely chosen sins of the fathers that shall be visited upon their children.

He is a frightened man who sees his past decisions coming to consume him.

 Second Great Awakening in America

The shallow ideas of American Exceptionalism and the mission of spreading its gospel in the form of globalization was a hidden theme of Mr. Friedman's. It is a direct descendant of the revivalist and missionary fervor of the 19th century American second and third Great Awakenings, where according to Percy Miller, quoting Edwards A. Park:
God had kept America hidden until the art of the printing press and the Reformation were achieved; then he ushered it on stage, and only now... can we see what God intended...
So has He designed this land for the comprehensive and variegated activity of His church; and as He has  mingled, so he will continue to mingle in it those diversified elements which coalesce with the richest and the most durable character... A character gleaned thus from all nations, will be so versatile, so energetic, as to qualify us for mingling with them all and elevating their religious spirit.
Miller; The Life of the Mind in America

Compare that to Friedman as discussed in Wikipedia:

Friedman first discussed his views on globalization in the book The Lexus and the Olive Tree (1999). In 2004, a visit to Bangalore, India, and Dalian, China, gave Friedman new insights into the continuing trends of globalization and the forces behind the process, leading him to write a follow-up analysis, The World Is Flat (2005).
One of Friedman's theses states that individual countries must sacrifice some degree of economic sovereignty to global institutions (such as capital markets and multinational corporations), a situation he has termed the "golden straitjacket"

Friedman supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, writing that the establishment of a democratic state in the Middle East would force other countries in the region to liberalize and modernize.

 I Abhor Firebombing Luxury Vehicles As Much As Anyone...

Through all of his work runs the thread of the superiority of his ideas of democracy, economy, religion, and society.

Now he sees what his ideas have wrought.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Apparently Oklahoma is the earthquake capitol of the contiguous USA, and this is due to fracking.

When I first read about fracking, it was obvious that introjecting large amounts of fluids into the earth would be a problem, because the fluids would tend to decrease friction between adjacent stone particles. First one disturbs the ground, then one reduces the friction, and that seemed a bad idea.

I did not take any particular braininess to see that.
The principle is that of shaving every morning: water makes the razor move across the beard easier.
Water, not soap. Water accounts for most of the ease of shaving, and soap accounts for no more than 10% of total friction reduction.

If the chemicals which are in the fracking fluids also reduce the surface tension of the water, then the water is made "wetter". This is what laundry detergents do: reduce the cohesion of water molecules, allowing them to infiltrate the pores and interstices of the fabrics in the washing machine.

You can even hear it. Start filling the washing machine and listen to the sound of the water falling into it. Add the detergent. You should immediately be able to detect  a reduction in the harshness of the noise of the water falling. The water's surface tension is reduced, and the infalling water easily pushes the water present in the washing machine aside.

If this particular problem of fracking was not contained in every environmental assessment of potential fracking sites, then the personnel involved were either incompetent or liars or both.


One Of My Totem Films

8 1/2

People between the present and the past; both the burden of the traditions of society and the personal history of his own odyssey.
We attempt to make sense by stringing together words and images.
Fellini strings things together to present his life thus far.

Directed by
Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini
Ennio Flaian0

Marcello Mastroianni
Claudia Cardinale 
Anouk Aimee
Barbara Steele...

A full list of Cast and Crew is available at IMDb:

Asa... Nisi... Masa... ?

A+sa; ni+si; ma+sa which is a substitution cipher on the word "anima", meaning "soul" in Latin. (It goes "first syllable" plus "s" plus "vowel of syllable", then repeat for following syllables.)

The children used the chant "Asa nisi masa" three times (I think...) to make the pictures on the wall of their bedroom come to life, hence instilling the pictures with animae, or souls. This is a good bit for a film about a film director's life.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bush Reunion

Top: Wolfowitz, Kristol, Perle, Feith
Bottom:   Libby,  Bolton,  Ledeen

A Mendacity of Neocon Republicans...

"Mendacity" is used as a term of venery:
Venery refers to hunting game animals such as wild boar, hares, wolves, bears and — especially — deer. A close relative to venery is venison, nowadays always meat from a deer but in earlier times the flesh of any hunted animal.

Venery dates from medieval England and is closely connected with the royal forests established by the Norman kings and nobles after the Conquest of 1066...

This led to the expression terms of venery, collective nouns for types of game and other wild animals, such as cete of badgers, murder of crows, parliament of rooks and paddling of ducks.


The Reality Of ISIS

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities.”
Karl Rove, advisor to President George Bush 

If you ask yourself "who and what created ISIS?", recall this good article on the the deliberate lies that were used to destroy the balances of power in the Middle East:
The Phony ‘Bad Intel’ Defense on Iraq
May 15, 2015

Just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld began promoting the notion that Iraq might have weapons of mass destruction and that “within a week, or a month, Saddam could give his WMD to al-Qaeda.” This was an early articulation of the bogus “conjunction of terrorism and WMD,” now immortalized in what is the most damning, first-hand, documentary evidence of U.S./U.K. collusion in launching a war of aggression on false pretenses and how it was to be “justified.”

This evidence was contained in the “Downing Street Memorandum,” written on July 23, 2002, though not published until May 1, 2005, by The London Times (discussed in more detail below). The goal was to systematically conflate Iraq’s supposed stockpiles of WMD with al-Qaeda and 9/11, as a kind of subliminal fear/revenge message to the American public.

It was not long before the agile Rice did a demi-pirouette of 180 degrees, claiming that Saddam had suddenly become “a danger in the region where the 9/11 threat emerged.” By the summer of 2002, the basic decision for war having been taken, something persuasive had to be conjured up to get Congress to authorize it. Weapons of mass deception, as one wag called them, together with warnings about “mushroom clouds” were just what the Doctor Rice ordered.

Sadly, CIA’s malleable director George Tenet followed orders to conjure up WMD in a deceitful National Intelligence Estimate issued on Oct. 1, 2002. The NIE’s main purpose was to deceive Congress into authorizing war on Iraq, which Congress did just ten days later.


We are still suffering the karma of bad intentions that flows from this cynical and debased deception.

We were all guilty, so we shall all be punished.


Siberian Odyssey

Young Cadets In Siberia

The Siberian Times
Stunning photos of Siberia and its people feature in new book
By Derek Lambie
21 October 2014
Stunning images of everyday normal life in Siberia have formed the basis of a new book by a French photojournalist. Guillaume Chauvin, who was born in 1987, spent a year documenting Russia armed with nothing more than his camera and a note pad.

Much of his research for Le Vie Russe – Russian Life – came during a long, but fruitful, stopover in Siberia where he admits he fell in love with the area and its people. Part-photo book, part-diary, it spans 272 pages and is a snapshot of the vast country as it stands at a crossroads between the traditions of the past and the modern world.


Le Vie Russe, Entre Siberie et Aujourd’hui  can be purchased directly from Guillaume Chauvin’s website for 19Euros.

the boys are playing with some electronic game.

Monday, May 18, 2015

East Of Mad Men

I tried my best to find a reason not to like the ending episode of Mad Men, but I admitted failure.

Of course, it was long and tedious for a bit, and I finally gave up at 10:45 pm and hit the <record> button in order to watch the rest of it in the morning. I mean, I am in bed by 8:30 and rise at least an hour before the birds begin caterwauling, so I was really into this show.

I had watched a number of episodes in the preceding Mad Men Marathon, but they were interspersed with homely chores, ironing, folding clothes, etc., and it did not seem to drag. Once I sat down to watch the final episode with no interruptions, it was another matter.
I could not muster enough feigned interest in what was going on, and rapidly began to fail.

I saw the last 20 minutes this morning, and it was a good ending.

It was the best way to handle things, I think.

I wondered a bit about the character of Don Draper, and I kvetched about his seeming "bi-polar" sociopathology, but it was good.

I am firmly convinced that the germinal inspiration of Mad Men was Mr. Weiner musing on what would happen to Caleb or Cal,  the character played by James Dean in East of Eden, when he grows up.

The character in Mad Men, Richard Whitman, who later assumes the identity of Don Draper, is the son of a prostitute, and so also is Caleb in East of Eden.
Richard Whitman spends some time in a bordello, and Cal happens across his mother running a bordello in Salinas.
Cal's father is remote and cold;  Whitman's father is gone and the only male influences he has are abusive.

Whitman joins the US Army and fights in Korea, where he inadvertently causes an explosion which kills the real Don Draper; Caleb takes his brother Aron to Salinas to their mother's bordello and forces him to meet her, an act which causes Aron to recoil in disgust and eventually join the US Army to fight in World War I, where he is killed in battle.

From the basic equivalence of Cain and Abel and Caleb and Aron in East of Eden was born Richard Whitman and Don Draper.

A very good journey.