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Monday, November 30, 2015

Thybault Versus Romeo

وأصدقائه   Joey

Joey and his Friends (Joey: center)

It is the day for the monthly meeting of the TYBALTs at Hanaan's Diner.

The TYBALTs, in case you do not know, are  The Young Bucks At Lunch Together.
We are the sworn enemies of the ROMEOs, or The Retired Old Men Eating Out.

Hanaan painted a dividing line on the diner's tile floor and said
"Yous  (meaning: we Thybalts) that side! (pointing to the west) Yous (meaning: they Romeos) that side! (easterly enough to be east)"

We just heard from Joey Nasser, the youngest of the Thybalts; he is a young buck, actually. He will be there today.
He had been in Lebanon and the Middle East, but he calls it the Middle Easy
I guess like an apotropaic euphemism; a cutesy thing to turn away bad luck.

I guessed it worked.


Our Lives In The Bush Of Ghosts 2

reprint from The Bush Years

Our Foreign Policy... which, by the way, is a mirror of our Domestic Policy.

acknowledgements to Amos Tutuola

Spotlight On Abuse!

I went to see the film Spotlight yesterday.
It deals with the Boston Archdiocese's cover-up and mishandling of the sexual abuse of children by its priests in the late 20th century, and the Boston Globe newspaper's exposure of the affair.

It was a masterful film, and everything was superb.

Except for the fact that the story was more like a report, like journalism than a story.

I suppose it suffered from the fact that we had seen Brooklyn just two days before, and that was a story about a young Irish girl who emigrated to the USA. That was a story that was filled with characters, love, tension, conflict, suffering, and achievement.
It was the stuff of enchantment.
When it was over, I looked at She-who-must-be-obeyed and said I could not believe how fast the time went by.

During Spotlight, however, in the far reaches of the film, I was often aware of my wallet... which being in the general area of meiner toches, began to frequently remind me of how Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures used to rate movies: if his toches began to go numb and he moved around in his seat, the film was a loser.
Towards the end, I was moving around a bit and began to pray for closure.

I regretted that the intensity of the film tends to focus on one class of events and ignore others. By watching this film, we probably forget that it is open season on children everywhere in the world. Within the orchard of youth there are fruits for every abusive taste: sexual, verbal, spiritual, physical... Everything.

We forgot children killed in present wars.
We forgot children enslaved in present poverty.
Why we even forgot the tear-jerking photos of drowned children from Syria washing ashore upon the golden sands of the Mediterranean. We forgot the soon to be dead children behind barbed-razor-wire fences on the verges of Europe...

WE FORGOT  the Governors of our own United States saying,

"We don't want them Syrian refugees here!"

In Spotlight, the question was frequently asked,
"Why did we not do anything? Why did we not take a stand?"

Why do we not do anything?


Does God Change?

Fyodor Dostoevsky

When I spoke the other day about the Dictatorship of the Righteous, I was talking about Religion in a fundamentalist form, yet revolutionary in political form.

Every religion is anarchy at first: it breaks with the old norms, so is illegal and revolutionary. It is anarchic in its breaking of the old and bringing in the new.
Most religions end their revolutionary there. They may export their creed, and in that sense their missionary work is spreading religious revolution, but in the home provinces, the rule of the New Law pervades.

Religions, however, may yet be revolutionary in areas other than Faith. For example, they may be revolutionary in politics, such as those groups seeking to spread not only creed, but also political ideas, such as the Christian Dominionists and the Islamic Wahhabis.
The core of religion remains imprisoned in creed, whether for good or ill.

Thus, a new Religion is both anarchy and dictatorship, for as it breaks the old law, it establishes a new law. It both denies Law and affirms Law.

Does God change his mind, then? Is it time to move on from the old to the new? Has the established order lost the mandate of heaven?

This is even more of a question when there is religious upheaval within the same creed, such as the Protestant Reformation within Christianity. Things have changed. Has God changed?

Consider the history of events contained within the the Christian perspective of the change from the Old Covenant of Moses to the New Covenant of Jesus.
There is change.
No Christian would say God has changed his mind.

Most people would say that God had such transformations already incorporated within his infinite plan, and it is only from human imperfect understanding that it appears that the Holy has changed.

I would think God is not a list maker, nor a planner, nor an "intelligent designer", nor does he employ such folk on his staff.
God establishes the ground of being; all that would be has a chance to be.
The free will of humanity chooses among that which it may choose, and accepts that which is beyond  humanity's choice or desires.

If God choose one thing, then he might have to change.
God does not choose.
All states of being have a chance. Any state of righteousness has a chance of being immediately followed by immorality and any peaceable kingdom may be transformed into nature bloody in tooth and claw.

There is no determinism of fundamentalism.
By abolishing determinism, we do not affect the Holy.

Dostoevsky had a character once ask:
'Without God and the future life? It means everything is permitted now, one can do anything?' 

I would say that everything has a chance to be, but it is humanity's task to establish a pious moral order according to its understandings of the Holy upon that quantum field of probability.

As the determinism of the moral order disappears, the burden of choice weighs heavy upon us.

We then fly to the prison of fundamentalism to save us from our works for the Holy.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

The 40 Day


The Independent:
One of the world's biggest and most dangerous pilgrimages is underway
Shia Muslims are travelling near Isis-held areas of Iraq for Arbaeen
Lizzie Dearden
Tuesday 25 November 2014
One of the biggest pilgrimages in the world is underway, with millions of Shia Muslims risking their lives to travel through Iraq. They are making their way to the city of Karbala, 62 miles south-west of Baghdad, for the holy day of Arbaeen on 12 December - a journey that has previously been the target of numerous terrorist attacks.

Arbaeen marks the end of a 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual that commemorates the death of the Prophet Mohammad's grandson Imam Hussein in 680. Shia Muslims revere him as their third imam and mourn his defeat at the battle of Karbala, when he and his companions were killed and beheaded by Caliph Yazid’s army.

The city holds the Imam Hussein Shrine, which was the destination of an estimated 20 million people from 40 countries in 2013...

The logistics must be awesome.
Hopefully there are no construction cranes ready to fall... No Mina-type incidents, either.


Friday, November 27, 2015

ISIS Gas And Fuel, LLC

Friendly Neighborhood ISIS Gas Station

After the attack in Paris, I wrote a post about the exceedingly strange nature of the war against ISIS.

What Kind Of War Is This?

New York Times:
U.S. Warplanes Strike ISIS Oil Trucks in Syria
ISTANBUL — Intensifying pressure on the Islamic State, United States warplanes for the first time attacked hundreds of trucks on Monday that the extremist group has been using to smuggle the crude oil it has been producing in Syria, American officials said...

And I asked, ".... the first time ?!?!"
The USA has had airplanes there and this is the first time it has used them to disrupt the flow of funds to ISIS? The USA never did this before? It took a hundred people in France to be killed before we could bomb and oil convoy of our ostensible enemy?

Was this war on terror against ISIS another one of our phony wars, like the war on drugs?
The war on drugs during which NATO occupied Afghanistan, after which Afghanistan jumped into first place in the world production of opium?

Now Mr. Putin of Russia says that oil from ISIS has been flowing into Turkey now for a long time. Therefore, a NATO country, Turkey, has been a major component in the flow of funds to ISIS through the sale of oil.

‘Commercial scale’ oil smuggling into Turkey becomes priority target of anti-ISIS strikes
Published time: 27 Nov, 2015 00:42
Edited time: 27 Nov, 2015 03:09
... “We assume that the top political leadership of Turkey might not know anything about this [illegal oil trade]. Hard to believe, but it is theoretically possible,” Putin said, adding that this however does not excuse Ankara from not stopping the illegal smuggling of oil.

Putin pointed out the lack of smoke from any fires or the existence of any commercial enterprises created to deal with the destruction of oil, which would be possible to find if the Turkish leadership is aware and is seizing and destroying smuggled products, as it claims.

“But if the top political leadership [in Turkey] doesn’t know anything about this, let them find out. I can admit that there may be some elements of corruption, secret dealing, they should sort it out,” said Putin.

Putin stated that sales of oil from ISIS are in direct violation of international law, and that the proceeds from ‘black gold’ cost innocent people their lives.

“In this respect there is a special UN Security Council resolution banning the direct purchase of oil from terrorists, because these barrels, that they supply, it is not just oil, there is the blood of our citizens, because from the money [received], terrorists buy weapons, ammunition, and then conduct bloody actions,” Putin said...

Suddenly it may become clear why NATO has not bombed the oil convoys from ISIS: they may have been headed to a NATO ally, Turkey.
And there may be an answer for why ISIS stays close to the Turkish border, where the Russian fighters were shot down a few days ago, following terrorists and straying too close for Turkish comfort.

ISIS is just another means to the end...
as I said yesterday.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Continuous Transportation: Running

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

First Snow of the year, Saturday, November 21, 2015


Stouffer's Cookies

 Stouffers Logo Until the 21st Century

I could no longer put it off; I had to take my mother shopping.

I had been able to get along since summer by going by myself to the store and buying what she needed, but no longer. She wanted to go to the grocery store and to the drugstore and to the bank. Fortunately, there is a convenient corner with a grocery store and drugstore on one corner, a bank on another corner, another drugstore on another corner, and then on the 4th corner was a Shell gas station and an empty wine store for lease.
I looked forward to a wonderful couple of hours.
At least we were not going to Sam's Club. A foray to Sam's Club, round trip, takes just over 2 hours; 30 minutes driving, parking, and schlepping to the doors - round trip, and 1 1/2 hours wandering about in a daze inside that retail mausoleum.

I believe I have already told the tale of hunting for the exactly right Kit-Kat candy bar in Sam's Club. My mother wandered with her rollator up and down the candy aisle for twenty-plus minutes looking for individually wrapped Kit-Kats. A double Kit-Kat would not do. According to her, they did not taste as good.
The Kit-Kat minis were out, and the much larger sheets of these rather tasty wafer-like chocolaty confections were out.

Of course, Sam's Club did not have the individually wrapped Kit-Kats.
I slouched at one end of the aisle, standing vigil for nothing at all: no one was going to kidnap her, for heaven's sake! She's 94, and a kidnapping would be a bigger disaster than The Ransom of Red Chief ! And if somebody tried to snatch her purse, it is so stuffed that it would probably explode rubber bands and scraps of paper.
There was a lady who was shopping in that aisle, and she had a rather large cast on her leg from a skiing accident, and it was not easy for her to get around.
I asked if she needed any help. She thanked me, and said her own menfolk should be there to help her, blast their eyes!
I eventually told her my story of Kit-Kat woe, and we both looked far down the aisle at my mother holding a candy package in her grip, eyes darting back and forth, up and down the stacks of candy, tossing packages back into the stacks, pushing her rollator across the aisle to a better fishing spot.

The lady with the cast said sometimes it doesn't get any better, but you will miss them when they're gone.
I said, "Hmmmmm........." and let it drift off.

Well, this day there was a sale on Stouffer's cookies.
Stouffers had been around for years. We used to go to their restaurants in Detroit when I was a kid, and we still buy frozen foods from them.

When we got into the drugstore, we wandered around for a bit while my mother acclimatized herself.
"Who buys these things?"
"Why does oatmeal help your skin?"
"Do you think they have any Halloween candy left?"

Since this was about a month after Halloween, I went to the clearance table and found a minute bag of candy corn and other sugar grub. It was candy corn she craved.
"You know, if we had bought this just before Halloween, we probably could have gotten quite a bit for you."

She said nothing. Last Christmas she said she could not find Russell Stover's marshmallow chocolate eggs anywhere.
"Stores don't sell 'em any more!" she said.

I asked how many, she said all I could get, but "they" don't carry 'em anymore!

I bought her 18 dozen. She has 7 dozen still in the freezer. Her taste for things changes rapidly, so this year I won't buy as many.

So, back to Rite-Aid and the cookies.
At first we went to the food section and found cookies. She looked at them for a while. I did not see anything Christmassy, so went in search of a Holiday section of the store. I found the cookies, and went back to get her at the food section, where she stood analyzing the situation.
"I have come to the conclusion these are your standard, run-of-the-mill cookies... Christmas cookies should be elsewhere."

"Indeed, they are," I said, and steered her to the holiday cookie section and away from the run-of-the-mill section.

There we found the cookies were not Stouffer's, but rather Stauffer's.

I pointed this out to her.

"No," she said. "That's right. That's the way you spell it."

I goggled. "It's pronounced Stowww-fers, not Stō-fers. The "au" in German is "owww", not "ō"."

"Who says it's German," she responded. "German, Shmerman."
"Shmerman?!" I said to myself.

So I did this whole long spiel about going to Stouffer's with my parents, and all the Stouffer's things we had done in my youth. I asked her if she remembered my parents... you know, like her and my dad... going to the restaurant.... going to Stouffer's with the name spelled out twenty feet high.

"That's how I always spelled it all my life," she said. "S-t-a-u..."

I offered to bet her a thousand dollars, but she did not want to take my money from me.
So I took out the list of groceries she had written for our trip. There in a good-sized, clear hand was written "Stouffer's cookies".
It was "S-t-o". Just look at the two logos here; the cursive "o" connects from the top, the "a" from the bottom. Her "o" was connected on the top.

I waved the list. She said that her hand shakes when she writes.

When we went to check out, she asked the man at the counter about it.
"These cookies, are they Stouffer's?"
"No, ma'am," he said. "They're Stauffers", pronouncing it St-ow-ferz.

"Is that the same Stouffer's as the restaurant people?" She pronounced it Stō-fers
"No, ma'am. They're different"
She thought for a split second.
"Do you think that Stouffer's could have been recently purchased and this a new spelling?"
"No, ma'am. I doubt it."

She said no more about it.
Later I told her that I admired the way she just makes this stuff up on the spot. Instead of admitting she was wrong, she will attempt to create a seamless alternate history to make things consonant with her take of things. She will even tell outrageous falsehoods, like saying she spelled the word "Stau..." all of her life, when it is obviously "Stou", and this was back in the day when we all knew how to read cursive. It isn't even close to an "a".

I told her she was still as smart as a whip if she could create such tall-tales on the spot.

She smiled and said no more.


The Main Theme Of The Age: The Dictatorship Of The Righteous

I woke up this morning with that weighty subject on my mind.
I mean, literally: I woke up thinking about what was the main theme of the age. Hitherto I had intimated that it was Terrorism, but the terror is only a fervent detail of the theme that was in my head.

People have paid a great attention to the concept of jihad without coming to much insight that I can see. For me jihad is an important and interesting facet of a religious system that had a founder that led a military outfit and had to engage in battle to fight for his life.
In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the ancient Hebrew actually waged quite a few battles, and there are psalms about the Lord of Hosts. As we entered into the Diaspora, Rabbinical Judaism changed the tone of Jewish cognition, but there still remains many who see the world as a fight between the sons of lights and the sons of dark.
In the Christian tradition, Jesus lay down his life, for as Joe Stalin quite rightly pointed out, He had no army corps to lead into the fight.
The Lord Buddha did not engage in war, nor did the Jain saints.

There is nothing in any tradition that touches on the Terror of the Day, which is what we are witnessing. It is not jihad.
Fighting for one's life against one's own clansmen, the Quraysh, is fighting for existence, for one's life and the lives of one's companions.
Jihad always did and always will maintain a predominantly spiritual motif, regardless how bloodthirsty an entity as ISIS may act and how ravening they may rant.

So what is the Terror?
If it is not a religious jihad, what is it?

The Terror is the perfect dictatorship over mankind, an authoritarianism over body and soul, the acme of Power and Attraction..... of Prison and Human Values....
for as we are drawn to what we hold dear, we enter the trap of Power and are imprisoned.
All values are enticements to the snares of the powerful, and we shall only be allowed those toys and enticements which lead us to our prisons.

When did the joint exercise of Religion and Power begin in our lifetimes?

For me, when World War I destroyed the last vestiges of the divine right of kings, the phenomenon also arose of a state without Religion, the Soviet Union.
When this occurred, many states, and the USA in particular, began to define themselves at least in part with expressions of the basic religious nature of their existence. They told the story of their religiosity being a bulwark against the atheism of Communism.
Power was still king, but Religion now became an important political character, too. Religion had always been an important character of the story, but it had not played so blatant a political role before. Now Religion saw fit to become a king maker and to join the boys in the cigar-smoke-filled backrooms of power.

World War II in its ghastliness reinforced the victor nations identification with themselves as agents of the will of God - the USSR excepted of course, but they had already identified themselves as the agent of History, which in their opinion was better.

Throughout the Cold War era, Religion was always used as a prop for the rectitude of the West.

The West waged wars against Communism and there was always a mention of the threat to religious freedom. Thus, the religious were drawn more and more under the influence of those with Power... as if - given enough time - Jesus were to become pals with Caesar.

The only justification for these wars was (1) a threat to our liberties, and (2) a threat to our religious freedoms, and (3) rationales based on crude analogies to childrens' games: the domino theory.

Religion and Power in the West became so intertwined that there were strange examples of their intimate relationship, as in the bombing of Cambodia:
In his diary in March 1969, Nixon’s chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, noted that the final decision to carpet bomb Cambodia ‘was made at a meeting in the Oval Office Sunday afternoon, after the church service’.
Operation Menu

"...after the church service."
What gods were they making obeisance to in that Lovecraftian church service?

Cambodia was one of many dress rehearsals:
From Pol Pot to ISIS: The Blood Never Dried
...A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today's Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of an American-made apocalypse, this time in Asia.

According to Pol Pot, his movement had consisted of "fewer than 5,000 poorly armed guerrillas uncertain about their strategy, tactics, loyalty and leaders". Once Nixon's and Kissinger's B-52 bombers had gone to work as part of "Operation Menu", the west's ultimate demon could not believe his luck.

The Americans dropped the equivalent of five Hiroshimas on rural Cambodia during 1969-73. They leveled village after village, returning to bomb the rubble and corpses. The craters left giant necklaces of carnage, still visible from the air. The terror was unimaginable. A former Khmer Rouge official described how the survivors "froze up and they would wander around mute for three or four days. Terrified and half-crazy, the people were ready to believe what they were told... That was what made it so easy for the Khmer Rouge to win the people over."...

In the Middle East, the USA and NATO have assisted in the destruction of a secular regime in Afghanistan, leading to the rise of the Taliban and Al Qa'ida.
The USA and NATO have destroyed a secular regime in Iraq, leading to disaster and chaos and the rise of the Islamic Caliphate.
The USA and NATO have assisted in the destabilization and civil war in Syria, a state with a secular Ba'athist background.

The future as conceived by Neoconservatives is a Perfect Dictatorship of the Righteous, where Power and Religion are in synchronous lockstep.

Yesterday I saw a bit on the news about some organization rating the religiosity of companies based on such things as whether they force their employees to work on Sunday.
This is Religion learning the ways of Power and Compulsion, and from history we can learn that when Religion battles with Power, Power wins and Religion takes on the face of the oppressor.

That is why we in the USA find anti-clericalism in Europe so quaint: we never really had much of a religious tyranny here in the USA as they did in Europe. People came to the Western Hemisphere to escape from religious Power.
We really do not know what it is like. So often we hear people chatter and prat that this country was founded on such-and-such religious principles and that this is a such-and-such a religion country...  a litany of perfect oppression if we but give them a chance.
God and Politics do not mix. God is demeaned by the blasphemy and Politics is megalomaniacally inflated into a suicidal hybris.

The rulers of the world are not really opposed to ISIS. They know it is a momentary aberration caused by the swing of the pendulum far from their disaster in Iraq... but the pendulum will swing back again, and the only people really harmed are the Dead.

ISIS, like the Khmer Rouge,  is but a very imperfect foreshadowing of the Dictatorship of the Righteous from the West.
First we wreak havoc from the sky, then the Pol Pots and ISIS come in and torture people on the ground, and at last the survivors will welcome the 1984 World of the Future...

... where the Harness of Power is absolute and the Yoke of Religion is sweet and we rejoice at the Bit in our mouths, for our pain is nothing compared to the suffering of unregulated freedom.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Controvery Of Timepieces

Controversial Timepiece From Dallas

I started out looking for some information on Ahmed Mohamed's father. Ahmed is the "clock boy" who was suspended from his school in Dallas for bringing a homemade clock to school, and the school authorities suspended him because they thought a timing device was a bomb.
I suppose it was because most movie bombs prominently display the timing device, usually in the act of counting down to zero. One could get the idea that a timing device was indeed a bomb... sort of synecdoche for the masses: a part stands for the whole, the timer is the bomb.

The size of the timepiece is in question. I have seen it described as a clock placed within a pencil case - a dandy bit of miniaturization, no doubt. However, the photos I have seen show it in some sort of briefcase. Such a briefcase would be large enough to store a bit of plastic explosive in.
A bit largish for a pencil case... unless you have quite a slew of pencils.

The family is now living in Qatar, and they are suing the Dallas school district for $15 million.

I wanted to learn more about the father of this interesting clan.

I did not find anything of interest to me. Oh, there was a lot about his participation in Sudanese politics and the fact that he was a "9/11 Truther", which took me off on a tangent to find out what possibly a 9/11 truther could be.
It turns out a 9/11 truther asserts that 9/11 was an inside job, and lets Al Qa'ida off the hook. I did not find that especially telling. I did not suddenly expostulate "Aha!"

There is something here, but I have not been able to find it.
I have no idea why the conservative blogs find 9/11 trutherism to be so interesting. I mean, why would a blog that esteems "birtherism" find flaws in "trutherism"?
I don't get it.

Anyway, there was plenty of time for gasps and chuckles as I read along... plenty of shaking of the head, too. My favorite post was one that seems to explain Tea Party conservative views on race relations in the USA:

Young Conservatives:
Ben Carson backs Donald Trump, says he saw American Muslims Celebrating Twin Towers Collapse
John S. Roberts
November 23, 2015 6:50 pm 
Just yesterday, presidential contender Donald Trump said he witnessed American Muslims celebrating the falling of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

Now, fellow GOP candidate Ben Carson is backing Trump…

From Washington Post via RS:

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Monday that he has seen highly disputed footage showing thousands of Muslims in northern New Jersey celebrating the collapse of the twin towers following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump has made the same claim, but no such video has emerged and fact checkers and news anchors on assignment at the time have said such footage does not exist.

“I saw the film of it, yes,” the retired neurosurgeon told reporters Monday during a news conference at the Pahrump Nugget casino and hotel.

“There are going to be people who respond inappropriately to virtually everything. I think that was an inappropriate response,” Carson added. “I don’t know if on the basis of that you can say all Muslims are bad people — I really think that would be a stretch.”


What does everyone make of this?

Is it possibly Carson’s way of letting “The Donald” know that he’s willing to be his VP?

Now this post gave me a good deal of information, much more than I ever dreamed of wanting.

(1)Ben Carson is the sidekick.
Trump is Prez, Carson is VP.

(2) Ben Carson is smiling.
Trump is serious, Carson provides some comic relief.

It reminds me of the ancient TV shows My Little Margie and Trouble With Father (or The Stu Erwin Show), both of which had memorable comic relief supporting actors.

 Stu Erwin


Monday, November 23, 2015

The Nephewing Season

It is the season.
So many things popping up: Thanksgiving, Shopping, Christmas, Boxing Day, St Stephen's Day, Childermas or the Feast of the Holy Innocents, New Year's, Feast of the Epiphany, Twelve Days, and so on until Malanka for the Ukrainian Orthodox among us.
It is also the time of year my nephews stop by à la posse, that is, as a group; a trinity, to be exact, which brings to mind the atomic bomb - Trinity was code for the test - in more ways than one.

They are older now, and not such a handful as they used to be. However, as Sun Tzu said à propos of war, never trust one's family entirely. It is best to come to the family feast, but make sure of one's escape route, and have the keys to the car in your pocket - not in some vastly unhandy place, like a glove box with a hole in it, or tossed thoughtlessly into a bowl of Thanksgiving walnuts, like that clown who drives himself and four other teenagers - his girlfriend, his best friend and his girlfriend, and the class nerd - on their way to a cabin in the woods for a weekend of good times.
No one wants to fumble for keys when Freddy Krueger - or worse, Aunt Stella - is nearby.

So... nephews.
The trouble is that they are still unhappy about the last time I wrote about them:

 My Three Nephews On Whitey Bulger Look-Alike Day

They did not take to the comparison to Whitey Bulger.
And now that there is a high profile film, starring Johnny Depp, about Whitey and crew, well, I suppose they will still keenly feel the avuncular blade of wit stinging their pride. I mean, I sure would!

They are en route from their various domiciles.
(en route,  à propo,  à la posse.... a lot of Frenchy-isms in the post today. Of course,  à la posse isn't French at all. It is just something I made up for going about with a posse.)


Americans Take The Lead

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Rick Jacobs Tells Reform Jews To Fight Israel's 'Misguided Policies'
November 6, 2015
The leader of American Reform Jewry said Diaspora Jews should not support the misguided policies of Israeli leaders and that Israel should look to North America for moral guidance.

“Asking Jews around the world only to wave the flag of Israel and to support even the most misguided policies of its leaders drives a wedge between the Jewish soul and the Jewish state. It is beyond counterproductive,” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said in his keynote speech Thursday night to the union’s biennial conference in Orlando.

“Jews who see brokenness in the treatment of Israel’s minorities, or in the way ultra-Orthodox views of Judaism are being enshrined in secular law, are being told that, when it comes to Israel, you should check your commitment to tikkun olam at the door; we will not,” Jacobs said.

Tikkun olam, the Hebrew term that means repairing the world, traditionally has meant doing good works that benefit the wider community. Jacobs said it also applies to repairing Israel. ...

!  שטאַרק ווערטער


The Real Housewives Of Hate-Muslim County

Pamela Geller

I have not read    פֿאָרווערטס for a while, but I have read Forward, which is the English weekly and is a righteous newspaper.

So there's a piece about Ms. Geller:
Why Is a Mainstream Jewish Charity Funding Pamela Geller?
Eli Clifton November 21, 2015
Pamela Geller is the flamboyant and unfiltered representative for the anti-Muslim far-right on the Internet. Her organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, has mounted legal campaigns to force public buses across the country to run her advertisements, including one claiming “Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Quran,” and urging an end to “all aid to Islamic countries.” The media coverage of Geller and AFDI’s actions often includes denunciations from interfaith, civil liberties and Jewish groups seeking to distance themselves from her actions.

But Jewish Communal Fund, a mainstream philanthropic fund that describes itself as “dedicated to the welfare and security of the Jewish community at home and abroad,” has funded Geller’s work. JCF’s annual tax filings show contributions of $30,000 in the 2012 tax year and $70,000 in the 2013 tax year, the last tax year for which filings are available, directed to Geller’s AFDI. ...

Suddenly it dawns on me that Ms. Geller is a Reality-Media creature, who - not being able to sing, act, nor be adorably sexy in a remote-yet-vulnerably-empty way like Paris Hilton, not susceptible to making videos of herself, and too old to really matter to the Korophiliac Media of the modern day, has had to find a new way to stardom.

(note:  "koros" is Doric Greek for a youth who has entered into adolescence. The female is "kore".
The forms are often seen as "kouros" for male and "koros" for female, reflecting the ancient Linear B "kor-wos" [male] and "kor-wa [female] where the Homeric Greek would drop the "w" after the "r" and sort of modify the preceding vowel by dumping the "w" as a "u" right next to it = kou-ros
So I use "kor-" for both male and female, and heartily thank the Lakedaemonians for their help.)

Ms. Geller has found her place in the sun by the canny use of web-hate, sort of being an Eurinys, an avenging flash-mob-of-one who descends upon the Muslim community when one of their members sins.

She is a celebrity. I mean, look at the care she takes with her personal appearance so as to appear like a re-incarnation of Carly Simon!

I am looking forward to the time when Kim Davis gets on board the Reality-Media-Creature train:

The probability that some media hounds are working on it right now is quite high. There should be a glamorous premiere in the near future.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Are Guns Enough?

Photo: Ben Schumin via Wikimedia Commons

When confronted by a gun-wielding killer, or a group of them, it has been been asserted that if only there were more guns carried by the individuals caught in these events, these individuals would shoot back and - if they have any luck against automatic rifles - would have a good chance of stopping the killers.

Or at least get a good shot in; truly, to shoot a handgun from a distance against automatic weapons is a bit dicey, unless you are in a film named Die Hard.

Furthermore, I think it will be found that when individuals do have guns and do shoot the killer, more often than not those "peacemakers" have a history of training in such confrontations.

Read the Scientific American Blog MIND Guest Blog:
Why Nobody Intervened in the July 4 Metro Murder
By R. Douglas Fields | July 17, 2015
... Bystander apathy is a psychological phenomenon in which witnesses to a person being harmed are less likely to intervene the more people there are present. This is thought to be a consequence of the herding instinct of human beings to do as they see others do. But when many people are present it is a much more complex situation. This leads to confusion. Is the person being attacked a victim or another criminal involved in, say, a gang fight? The Metro riders who saw the assault on Sutherland experienced neither apathy nor confusion, however. They experienced terror.

I cannot know what those witnesses lived through on that train, but I am confident from my knowledge of neuroscience that they did exactly the right thing. Their response was not a matter of bravery or cowardice or apathy—it was a matter of mortal strategy. Engaging the homicidal robber physically could have resulted in mass casualties. From all the situational information those people rapidly assimilated, that was their collective conclusion. So the passengers tried to appease the robber with cash instead and no one else lost their life.

Honed by eons of evolution in a dangerous world of survival of the fittest, the reaction these neural circuits trigger is usually correct; otherwise our species would have gone the way of dinosaurs. ...

"Honed by eons of evolution..."

Well, maybe not eons, but if a fight response is honed by the rigors of training - such as police and soldiers undergo - then the reactions are changed.

So guns are not enough; we need to train people who have guns. We have to train them to respond properly, as well as training them not to shoot the members of their families.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

To Suspend Judgement Does Not Deny Values

 Francesco e Chiara

The humility of St. Francis - in my opinion - leads us to suspend judgement.

We still must make choices. We still live. We must choose what to eat, what to drink, where to live, whom to establish bonds of amity, whom to love and be loved; all things must be chosen and the decisions must be made upon as sound and moral a foundation as possible.

Yet we still suspend judgement.

Why might one suspend judgement? Is it merely the citation that as we measure out, so shall we receive in measure. As we cut and tailor, so shall we be suited. As we give, so shall we receive.

Judgement belongs to God alone.

Each judgement is a re-affirmation of a belief system, not openly but covertly. We can not remember our belief systems in their entirety. We who are Roman Catholics cannot remember their belief-stance on the subject of Monophysitism, for example. Do but remind us, and we shall attest our belief! - or anathema, in the Monophysitism case!

There is no complete list of beliefs, so there is no algorithm which we use to re-affirm each and every one. We merely affirm that our belief system - which is complexly intricate and wrapped up in itself - when we unwrap it and roll it out, it will be a seamless cloth of faith.

So when we make a judgement about something, we affirm everything... not right then, but we affirm the integrity of a belief system and its truth, whenever and wherever the compendium of beliefs pops up.

When the Greatest Generation affirmed marriage as a sacrament, it was a fine and proper thing.
They did not merely choose to marry; they judged that marriage was the proper state for them and others in their society.
However, at the same time, the great, great majority also affirmed an unstated, yet manifest and covert proposition that marriage should not be between people of different races.

So in making a moral judgement, we also affirmed the separation of races and perpetuated racism.
There is nothing here to do with the passage of time, nor the changing perspective of morals; we are talking about the unquestioned and hidden beliefs we never question, yet continually affirm as we affirm more less controversial beliefs.

A similar thing was apparent in the procedure by which the Christian Churches in the American South affirmed Slavery... but they came right out and asserted their infidelity to God and their fidelity to the power of economics and the state.
They went through their beliefs and struck out the words of Christ which offended them and their fellows.

We must choose, but beware of judgement.
If we choose someone to be a friend and someone else not to be, we need not append a judgement of the character of the unamiable dunce cast off... like I just did.



"Il te faut guérir la solitude par la société et la société par la solitude."
Henri-Frédéric Amiel 1849
One must heal solitude with a dose of society, and society with a dose of solitude.

Vyacheslav Korotki, a 65-year-old meteor­ologist who lives in a rickety state-run weather base in Khodovarikha, a peninsula on Russia’s frozen north coast. He has lived on this storm-lashed spit for 13 years; it is the latest in a string of Arctic postings.

Abandoned wooden lighthouse at Khodovarikha 

Photos by Evgenia Abrugaeva


Refugee Road-Kill

It won't be long before an Ohio State Senator wants to change the name of Refugee Road to Operation Desert Storm Avenue -  or worse -  to commemorate the ongoing effort to change the Middle East for the better since 1990.

If you have lived around Columbus, Ohio, you will know Refugee Road runs east from Poplar Creek to Reynoldsburg - where it is called Chatterton Road, Reynoldsburg having gotten the road-name-changing bug much earlier than the rest of us - then continues west to Alum Creek, where it joins with highway 104 and bridges the creek, then resumes on the west bank of Alum Creek before finally ending at Lockbourne Avenue.

(Actually, it has been pointed out that the Frank Expressway sort of piggy-backs the exhausted Refugee Road - it has come all the way from Poplar Creek... or Popular Creek as many in the area pronounce it.
The Frank Expressway picks up Refugee Road, takes the name "Frank-Refugee Xway" and goes a couple miles over the Scioto River , where is dumps old Refugee Road at Father Phineas MacAdam's house for homeless roadways.

"He ain't heavy," says Ex-way Frank. "He's ma brother... 'n a refugee , to boot!"

 Big Frank Xway Road and Little Refugee Road... Brothers of the Scioto!


Fear Of Muslims And Refugees

There is a great deal of noise and chatter on the web between cells of differing world views about Muslims: what do we do with the Muslims fleeing the Middle East once we have opened the flood gates of destruction to inundate their homelands?

Tough question.

I have prayed in a mosque, and I have watched basketball being played in a madrasa.
At one time I did.

I only fear the darkness of the human soul, and even then I expect God to be there.

Governor Snyder of Michigan was the first to suspend immigration of Syrian refugees.

However, Governor Snyder, for all my disagreements with him, is the true Anti-Trump, and it is unfortunate that others following his lead choose to make things ugly.

Governor Who Started Stampede Against Refugees Says He Only Wants Answers
Updated November 20, 20152:45 PM ET

...In an interview with NPR on Thursday, Governor Snyder suggested he didn't mean to create a partisan issue. He insisted he's still willing to accept more Syrians in Michigan and said he merely wants a little reassurance that the federal screening process for refugees is sound. He said a call from the president assuring him of the process would be "helpful."

According to Snyder's office, he did join a call with the White House earlier this week that included senior staff, FBI, State, Homeland Security and counterterrorism officials but the governor still wants a detailed response to a letter he sent to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry outlining his concerns. Snyder told NPR he wants those officials to make the review and to "please respond to my letter that you're confident that we have the appropriate response in place."
Interview Highlights

On 'pausing' immigration from Syrian refugees

I'm very much in favor of immigration. If you look at what's happened in our country, what made our country great was immigration. And in particular, you have people around the world that their lives have been shattered ... We've always been good about accepting people, having come to our country to rebuild their lives. So, in a general sense I've been very much in favor of being proactive with Middle Eastern refugees, along with refugees across the world.

The issue that I said we should hit the pause button for is, one, these horrific terrorist events that have sort of coincided. We have Paris, we have Lebanon, we have the Egyptian airline bombing. Again, I have not criticized the federal system at all. What I said was, it'd be great if we had more transparency and awareness of the review processes. ... When you have terrible events like these in other countries, isn't it appropriate that you just pause to make sure that you do an appropriate review and look at what lessons-learned you can see from these other events to see if processes should be improved and enhanced in some fashion? ...

I find it interesting that Governor Snyder mentioned Lebanon, which is an event mostly ignored by the Media.

I also find it interesting how easily voices of reason are tsunamied by panic and hatred.


Friday, November 20, 2015

A Hiatus As Big As Ginnungagap

(photo by Gus Palmer)

(Ginnungapa is the immense, yawning void before creation in Norse mythology)

Reading in The Guardian a very interesting article on the Romanian countryside:

The Murderers Next Door
Adam Nicolson
Thursday 19 November 2015 01.00 EST Last modified on Thursday 19 November 2015 01.05 EST
...Every piece of land is important here. People in Maramureş, with an inheritance of poverty and crowdedness, are what they are because of the land they have. Land is a constituent of the person. To enter another man’s land, particularly the yard around his house, is as intimate a penetration as putting your fingers in his mouth. A sophisticated, multilingual journalist in Baia Mare, who did not want to be named, told me that if someone came “into his land” – that was his expression, as if the land were an entirely enclosed space – he would kill him. “It is a border he has crossed. And when he sees my eyes he would understand. It has happened to me, men coming on to the land with guns. I told them they had to leave within 10 seconds. ‘If you enter again, I don’t give you the chance.’”


After the 1848 revolutions in the Austro-Hungarian empire, of which Transylvania was a part, the serfs were liberated and allowed to own the land they had previously worked for the nobility. From the 1860s onwards, each fragmented, multi‑strip holding was carefully mapped in a meticulous register. There were many local ways of policing this complex pattern of land ownership. Villages employed field wardens, gornici, to mediate in arguments between neighbours: where the boundaries lay, where cattle could or could not graze, whose hay grew in which meadow. The gornici were organised by a birau, a “mayor of the fields”, paid by the village, either through a local tax or by receiving the fines raised from malefactors.

But little was stable here. After the defeat of Austria-Hungary in the first world war, 3.9m hectares were distributed to Romanian peasants; in 1945 a further 1.4m hectares were expropriated from the German peasants and one million hectares redistributed...

It is a good story, but this gap from the revolutionary era of 1848 to 1918 covers a lot of territory, and it seems likely that it was germane to explaining the people of the area.

The Romanians lived in the Hungarian section of the Dual Monarchy of Austri-Hungary. If they had lived in the Austrian half, the liberation of the serfs would have been followed by real intermittent efforts to promote Romanian interests, but the Hungarian aristocracy was mainly interested in maintaining a medieval form of control over the foreign peoples under its control.

The urban Jewish population was in a unique situation, too. This background helps to understand many of the prominent Hungarian Jewish scientists who have had an enormous influence of the 20th century: John von Neumann, Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, Eugene Wigner, Theodore von Kármán among others.

The history of Central Europe is very pertinent to our places in the present, only we are very ignorant of most of it.


Some Myths Of Reason

History Today

In the September 1998 issue of History Today, Peter Monteath nicely summarised Christian Gerlach’s groundbreaking argument about the origins of the Holocaust: that, in December 1941, Hitler made a ‘decision in principle’ that all Jews should be murdered. However, I am persuaded by subsequent historiography and by a rereading of Hitler’s own writings that his worldview was so radical that the concept of a ‘decision’ is inappropriate; in Alon Confino’s apt phrase, Hitler imagined a ‘world without Jews’ from the beginning. Realising that vision was less a question of categorical pronouncements and more a matter of what was possible. Revenge against Jews was not a decision but an inevitability.


For any idea of ‘intentionalism’ [i.e., an "intentional" and voluntary decision] to hold, it must begin with Hitler’s conviction that Jews should be removed from the planet. This is subtly but importantly different from the idea that Hitler planned a Final Solution. It allows for the possibility that Hitler learned from experience that killing Jews was easier than deporting them. It also raises the question of under what precise circumstances his global vision could be localised. Here what is necessary is a kind of ‘local structuralism’, which includes the motivations of non-German actors and the effects of non-German settings on Germans themselves.

Such is the history of the Holocaust as it is now being written: a catastrophe both planetary and local, transcending the limitations of German national history.

This is part of what I have been thinking about since seeing Woody Allen's Irrational Man : the inability to confront  {engage with, intimate with} that which is irrational or not-rational, other than in ritualized areas of our lives.

The Final Solution became possible because all players allowed it up to the outbreak of war.
World War II began in two parts because of the (1) invasion of Poland, and then (2) the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

At no point did any nation-state go to war to save the life of a Jew.

It reminds me of our Civil War. It began on the Northern side as a war to save the Union.
Even the horrible obscenity of slavery could not rouse a majority of the North to go tro war to end slavery. Until the Emancipation Proclamation, any number of future history threads were possible, some with a future including variations of slavery.......

Remember how the Southern Christian churches endorsed the Biblical truth of Slavery?

Tread carefully in dark times.


Writing I Like

Val Kilmer in The Thaw

I rarely read showbiz news. It can be very Dickensian and fascinating, but it usually begins to troll along the bottom of the sea of boredom, and all the breath-taking characters that one had fallen in love with at first sight begin to look like drudgery and resemble morning-after people that Jason Lee mused about in Dreamcatcher, as he posed the Meg Ryan question, "Where's the cat?"

I mean, really I try, but this Lamar Odom thing is an extremely tangled skein. No matter how much I read or listened to She-who-must-be-obeyed chatter on about it, I do not understand what's going on.
I mean, Chloe is not a licensed doctor, so what's is she trying to do with a fellow who - by some accounts - is brain dead?
Is there an inheritance at stake?

And Scientology truly baffles me. I mean, when I first heard the word "scientology" about 50 years ago, I thought "What a stupid name!"
I still do.
It brings to mind Aristotle puttering about with Dr. Praetorius in some quaint laboratory with sparking Van der Graff generators and vast distillation appartus filled with bubbling liquids and humors with a chorus line from The Producers, does it not? A mix of... well, I suppose "science" and "logy"...   or "logos", Ancient Greek and all that.
(Or a compact car version of Hugo Gernsback's  "scienti-fiction" and "logy".)

So I read The Guardian today.

I read about showbiz.
There was an article about Val Kilmer.
Who could resist?

I have not seen any bit of his oeuvre since The Thaw, so why not?

Well, there was much more.

Marina Hyde

Marina Hyde's Lost in showbiz: high fives all round as Val Kilmer whoops about his new Top Gun mission

There was a bit about Daniel Radcliffe's life choices, one of which may have been setting up as role-models the actors Oliver Reed and Peter O'Toole.
"Ten pints for Gryffendor!"

Then there was the Kardashian Xmas Kard, which has been around ever since "Anno Beast"...!
Anno Beast?
What is that?
I looked and looked, but it smelled to me strongly of Rapture Palooza (Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson... a film which could have been great with just a little bit more work on the script...).

Who writing about showbiz would cite Rapture Palooza? About non-Rapture Palooza subject matter?

Then it ended with a conjuration around the Kardashian annual card with "annus" ( = "year" in Latin)
and a trilitteral texting vulgarism beginning with "WT_" which again pointed back to "Anno" (ablative case of "annus", don't you know), as well as a homonym reference to Beast and a line in Rapture Palooza...

...and all the puns that one might possibly derive from Schopenhauer's observation"
Obit anus, abit onus.

which I won't even translate, because there are too many levels of Swiftian puns here.

Tolle, lege

Pick up and read!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mr. Obama

I have an enormous admiration for Mr. Obama.
I think the long-term effort and planning that went into the Iran treaty was amazing, and men and women of lesser fortitude would have dropped along the wayside long ago. When it comes to this type of thoughtful negotiation, Mr. Obama is the best.

However, even though we wish that thoughtful negotiations would cure all the world's ills that are due to differences between peoples, I do not think that is always the case.

War is a case in point.

That is why the New York Times article from yesterday that reported that American airplanes attacked ISIS oil delivery trucks for the first time was so astounding for me.
Yet, upon reflection on Mr. Obama's style, it is not so surprising.

Mr. Obama only follows part of Sun Tzu's Art Of War.

Mr. Obama subscribes entirely to the peaceful method of achieving his goals with as little bloodshed as possible:
"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill."

and seemingly ignores:

"What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations."

“There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.”


What Kind Of War Is This...?

an empty shell...
(Lyrics from Stop The World, yadda-yadda-yadda)

New York Times:
U.S. Warplanes Strike ISIS Oil Trucks in Syria
ISTANBUL — Intensifying pressure on the Islamic State, United States warplanes for the first time attacked hundreds of trucks on Monday that the extremist group has been using to smuggle the crude oil it has been producing in Syria, American officials said...

The "first time"?

And since we are on the topic, just how much fighting is Turkey, our NATO ally doing?
They are bombing Kurds, who are fighting ISIS, but what is Turkey doing in this War on Terror?
What are our other allies in the region doing? Are there any Saudi troops or planes, or are they all in Yemen bombing weddings?


Senator Rubio

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican candidate for President, in the recent debate expressed his opinion that the USA needed more plumbers and fewer philosophers.
I suppose it is better to be called a "philosopher" rather than a "porch monkey" or "nattering ninny of negativism" or some other opprobrious code word.

I think what the country really needs is fewer politicians who spend their entire lives living off political donations, such as Senator Rubio has done.
I don't think he's ever had a real job other than taking in contributions and disbursing benefits to donors.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Doctor Zoomer Has Two Mummies

Abbot and Costello (See below)

We had a post recently about the syntax of parenthood and how it impacts "belief systems".
There was sound and fury, signifying the most important things of our age: the need to dispute and argue.

Yahoo News

This news story ended:
 Catholic Family News even weighed in after posting a story Monday sharing an image of the sign: “With respect, it seems hard to imagine anyone in our time not being aware of what the '2 dads’ term can imply,” reads an update to the original post added on Wednesday, “especially since the pro-homosexual book Heather Has 2 Mommies has been around since 1989.”...
 and this was a Palmer Moment for me (see John Carpenter's The Thing if you need clarification on Mr. Palmer and his moments) and I felt rather out-loopish that the referenced text about Heather and her two Mommies was sort of a mystery to me. Did not read it, did not hear about it, did not argue about it; I apparently just ignored the phenom that The Catholic Family News thinks had enough publicity to come in second to the World Trade Center disaster.

(I thought and thought about it. The closest I could get was some sort of thing like "...Whether (rhymes with 'Heather') to vote for Obama...", with the word "Obama" coming out a bit like "Obamies". Well, that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Why would I remember such idiocy and let Heather's familial arrangements just slip by me? Like water off a base canard's back?)

I would like to establish my bona fides with The Catholic Family News and offer them some more ammunition in their dispute. The topic has been touched upon in the Cinematic Arts, to wit:


Bud and Lou return for a fifth time, with Charles Lamont in the director’s chair a third time. A mummy theme, an Egyptian cult and medallion, along with Marie Windsor as the commanding femme fatale in charge, this last of the ‘Abbott and Costello Meet…Universal horrors’ packs a campy punch. The gags and bits turn up at every corner with a lot of play on the ‘mummy’ theme.

Bud Abbott aka Peter Patterson: “I overheard Doctor Zoomer say he needed a couple of men to accompany his mummy back to the States.”

Lou Costello aka Freddie Franklin: “Is she afraid to travel by herself?”

Bud Abbott: “She? No, Lou. This mummy is a he. What’s wrong with that? Some mummies are men, some mummies are women.”

Lou Costello: “Such a strange country.”

Bud Abbott: “What’s strange about it Lou?”

Lou Costello: “Your mummy, your mummy. Wasn’t she a woman?”

Bud Abbott: “I never had a mummy.”

Lou Costello: “What did your Father do? Win you in a crap game?”

{Excerpted from Outspoken and Freckled / }

However, I always call Abbott "Chic" and Costello "Wilbur", since that is what their names were in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which enchanted me as a child on Saturday afternoon matinees.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fourteen Years Of War On Terror And Counting

In January, 2007, the Bataclan Theater in Paris received threats, reportedly since the owners were Jewish. Le Figaro reported in 2011 that there were still threats.

So why can't we provide 8 years of security for every place - not just government offices - that Islamists do not like?

Eight years?!

What do you think Sun Tzu (The Art of War)would say about our War on Terror?

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”

“There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.”  (like 14 years since the World Trade Center)

“One may know how to conquer without being able to do it. ”

“There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must not be attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.”

What did we do this week? We had a media slobber-fest over killing Jihadi John.
Then we lost over a hundred people in Paris.
We can't even begin to talk about ending our support of the destabilization of Syria, and Mr. Obama is going to find that this growing disaster everywhere - not just the Middle East - will tarnish his legacy as sure as the Iraq War did George W. Bush's.

And think about the USA...

How would you like to be flying for Thanksgiving or Christmas? 
If you remember, my wife ran into a serious slow down in Baltimore three weeks ago, and that was before all this happened. People will stay home, and the parts of the economy devoted to travel will slide into recession.

We shall sit around the fire and cling fervidly to religion and guns.

You can kiss any form of gun control good-bye.
I'm going to learn to shoot a handgun... just in case eight years from now someone wants to shoot up the movie house I'm sitting in.


Phantom Of The Bataclan

2011, Le Figaro:
Al-Qaida à Gaza voulait frapper la France
Par Philippe Cohen-Grillet Mis à jour le 20/02/2011 à 21:07 Publié le 20/02/2011 à 21:06
...Car, en janvier 2007, Le Bataclan a été la cible de menaces de mouvements islamistes pour avoir accueilli un concert en soutien «aux gardes frontières israéliens». Lors de leur arrestation en Égypte, plusieurs comparses de Dodi Hoxha ont reconnu que l'Armée de l'Islam projetait des attentats contre «une synagogue en France, l'ambassade de France et le Centre culturel français au Caire». Des aveux à prendre, certes, avec beaucoup de précaution tant en ce qui concerne les auteurs des déclarations que les conditions des interrogatoires. Cependant, la France et ses compatriotes semblent effectivement dans le viseur des terroristes de la «Jaish al-Islam». Une autre «filiale» d'al-Qaida, jusque-là méconnue, mais qui a déjà fait couler le sang...

Portion emphasized:
For in January 2007, The Bataclan Theater was the target of threats from Islamist movements...

So apparently the Bataclan Theater has been targeted for at least 8 years...

There are many more comments in the French press about this.


Sketches By Grandville: Fishing / La Pêche

J'y a fait de bien mauvais vers, mais je n'y ai jamais pris de poisson.

I would think this means something like "I have dealt with some very poor worms, but I have never caught a fish with them."
I do not know where it comes from. I was way off on my first translation. Pathetic.
I wonder if I am getting senile?