Search This Blog

Monday, February 13, 2017

Continuous Transportation: Segregated Transport

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

Gender segregated bus in orthodox area of Jerusalem with young woman making protest.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Places of Mankind: Worship Сампсониевский Cобор

Sampsonyevsky Cathedral in St. Petersburg
(Saint Sampson's)


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Continuous Transportation: Egypt Trains

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

Egyptian Railroad poster


Continuous Transportation: Segregated Transport

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

Segregated bus

maybe.... 60 years ago?



Pryaniki: Russian gingerbread or spice cookies.
Mix the sugar, eggs, soda, cinnamon, honey...
cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, anise...

The Cat and the Fox;   Kronotsky Nature Reserve, Kamchatka is one of Russia's oldest wildlife reserves, founded under Stalin in 1934.


Hello, Central, Give Me Heaven

 Sarah and Maybelle Carter Singing "Hello, Central, Give Me Heaven."

We wrote a post on Mr. Bannon a couple of days ago   ( based on an article in The Huffington Post titled  Steve Bannon's obsession with a dark theory of history should be worrisome

We only wish to point out the perils of prophecy and believing that one may know the future with certainty.

Point 1.
That is why we have elections, like the most recent one. If outcomes were deterministic, elections are mere window-dressing.

Point 2
We cannot talk with God.
Oh, we know we always pray and say we are talking to God, but we also say that God is "ineffable", meaning we can't talk about God, for he is so beyond our understanding.

However, when we say we cannot talk about something, we also imply that we cannot talk to that something, for if we could talk to God, then we could grasp at least those human linguistics phenomena which God must use, and then we could have some understanding of divinity in an intimate form.

Now if you say that God is not ineffable and the argument above is nonsense, fine. But that also means that God can be talked about like the Super Bowl and mustard on pretzels.
A lot of us do just that.

I do not talk to God. When I do that old-timey prayer thing, I am talking to myself and my Icon or Image of God, but I have not in any sense used a holy telephone and said, "Hello, Central, give me heaven."
Prayer now is different.

The realization that one cannot talk to God is devastating and unsettling.
It is a vast opening within our existence.
That is why if we really understand the inability to talk to God, we should have something ready as a lifeline... else we are left in a sea of despair ("despair" since we have lived our entire lives thinking we can palaver with God, and that removal of that underpinning shatters the structure of the ego).

What happens after this realization is surprising and the topic of some later article.

Now, we see Mr. Bannon thinking he can speak to God, or he can channel History, or practice some other arcane science.
Mr. Bannon, like so many of us, has drained the world of the color of God, and left us with black-and-white. Like Marx, he has kicked God off the throne and has enthroned an ideology. Nothing is in the hands of God - for we cannot speak to God, so it may as well be as if God does not exist!!!! - and the world is derelict of divinity... the world is populated by the walking dead, who do not yet know they are dead.
Others of us have enthroned our own nation, making American Exceptionalism our golden calf, or have dreamed up Imperiums based upon ourselves and allies and canons of the past which we hardly half understand.... all to try and fill back in the blanks we have left in our worlding.

After draining away the colors of the world, many people try to "colorize" what is left with their theories of the future.

The roads to the future are too many and the progress too uncertain to be able to predict.
Mr. Bannon is merely seeing patterns in falling sands and anticipating the edges of chaos.

As a child I saw facial patterns in the wood of the furniture and doors of my parents' house. After having discerned the pattern, I saw the same faces every day in the grain and knots.
That did not make those patterns real faces.

There is no short, sweet, and easy road to prophecy. Ask Cassandra. Ask the prophet in his own hometown.


As I recall the words:

"Hello, Central, give me heaven,
for my mother's there;
you will find her with Saint Peter
on the Golden Stair..."


Friday, February 10, 2017

Politically Correct

I have often been called a hypocrite. It comes with the territory.

I remember 9 years ago when I did this post:

Dunking Doughnuts [ better known as "Dunkin' (sic) Donuts (sic) ] has pulled an advertisement of Rachel Ray hawking java.

Apparently eagle-eyed Michelle Malkin spotted the scarf as being a kaffiya, it reminded her of Yassir Arafat, and she went ballistic. Something about terrorist chic...  I grabbed my cell phone to call a friend and let them know the news from the Advertising Front of the War on Terror...but only got as far as punching in the exchange when it dawned on me that I was using "Arabic" numerals!!


An acquaintance tried to defend Ms. Malkin. That was a bit much. It was 2008's version of trying to defend K. Con's (Kellyanne Conway's) public advertisment from the White House to buy Ivanka Trump's clothing: indefensible.

But what I did was worse.

Since She-who-must-be-obeyed was present I could not be my natural obnoxious self, so I turned to her, winked, and said "Fitti Fitti !!" in Yoruba.

We laughed and the acquaintance stood there uncomprehending... and probably still is.


Thursday, February 09, 2017

Continuous Transportation: Russian Trains

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

Narrow gauge locomotive at the Pereslavl Railway Museum


The Grey Mech Cometh

This morning I woke about 4:30, got up made coffee, thought of somethings I had to do, then sat down to watch the rest of Terminator: Genysis. I do not quite understand the continuous softening of Sarah Connor in the series of movies, but it was OK.

I mean, the whole time-travel-paradox thing with an evil John Connor lost me at the first turn in the time maze and I really did not understand a word of the patter the characters spoke about "future so-and-so" and "in the past so-and-so"... so much was my befuddlement that Skynet himself became more like a pantomime horse in the sky...

zipping through various incarnations, or immetallations, or implasmations of newer and more advanced terminator entities.
So I did not seek to understand.

Furthermmore, there was a sub-plot of Sarah and John's father-to-be and romance, but any romance was always preceded by (1) strategy sessions, or (2) tactical discussions, or (3) meditations on time-travel paradoxes of Skynet and related devices.

I liked it. I do not sit through films I don't like. I like Terminator films. Period.
Yesterday I watched The Queen of Katwe, and I liked that, too, and I always like Mira Nair's films.

After finishing with Terminator: Genysis, I took in a few blinks-worth of Suicide Squad - I figure I'll watch about 15 minutes per day to keep the evil from boiling over - and then I went to the good old computer, thinking I would be greeted with a few laughs about the new administration.

Fate, had something else in mind.

Steve Bannon Believes The Apocalypse Is Coming And War Is Inevitable
Trump’s top adviser thinks we’re in “the great Fourth Turning in American history.”
... In Bannon’s view, we are in the midst of an existential war, and everything is a part of that conflict. Treaties must be torn up, enemies named, culture changed. Global conflagration, should it occur, would only prove the theory correct. For Bannon, the Fourth Turning has arrived. The Grey Champion, a messianic strongman figure, may have already emerged. The apocalypse is now...

... Strauss and Howe’s theory [which theory is the view held by Mr. Bannon] is based on a series of generational archetypes — the Artists, the Prophets, the Nomads and the Heroes — that sound like they were pulled from a dystopian young adult fiction series. Each complete four-part cycle, or saeculum, takes about 80 to 100 years, in Strauss and Howe’s reckoning. The Fourth Turning, which the authors published in 1997, focuses on the final, apocalyptic part of the cycle.

Strauss and Howe postulate that during this Fourth Turning crisis, an unexpected leader will emerge from an older generation to lead the nation, and what they call the “Hero” generation (in this case, millennials), to a new order. This person is known as the Grey Champion. An election or another event — perhaps a war — will bring this person to power, and their regime will rule throughout the crisis...

I was not entirely honest with you about this morning.
Before I had gotten out of bed, I was thinking of fears and flight; I was thinking of the things that haunt my mind and bedevil me; I was thinking of the strange imaginings that sometimes sap my strength in the marches of the night...
Then I got up made coffee, thought of somethings I had to do, then sat down to watch the rest of Terminator: Genysis. I do not quite understand the continuous softening of Sarah Connor in the series of movies, but it was OK...

I have mentioned I often was oppressed by a vision of a future dystopic. This was back in the 80s and before, well before most of the modern day bleak future visions, but not before Brave New World, 1984, and A Chronicle for Leibowitz.

I knew such things were madness, because I lived in the USA, powerful, wealthy, religious.
And since the turn of the century, I saw 9/11, the 2008 Financial Crisis during which you could see how nervous the President and the Treasury Secretary were on TV, and I have now seen the abomination of desolation in the holy place....

I hope to God the Bannon article is nonsense, for the idolatry of one's own mind in pretending to know the infinite mind of God is spiritual death.


The Grey Mech is a character is Gregory Benford's Sailing Bright Eternity (1995), a mechanical device of ultra-potent destructiveness.
Why grey? Why is Strauss and Howe's champion grey?
What about Mr. Grey in Stephen King's Dreamcatcher?

"Young man, why are you here? You know we have an appointment in Samarra t'morra!"


Cinéma En Plein Air [02/08/2017 - answer]

Answer to yesterday's clue:

No Country For Old Men



Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Cinéma En Plein Air [02/08/2017 - clue]

I show you a picture of something very much germane and involved in a movie and you guess the movie. Got it?

Original post


A Lonely Conclave

joel dinda / flickr

No Country For Old Men

"It's a mess, ain't it, Sheriff?"

"If it ain't, it'll do 'til the real mess gets here."


Yahoo News

'Divorced from reality': CBS anchor slams Trump after wild day of inaccurate comments
... "It has been a busy day for presidential statements divorced from reality," Pelley said on Monday's edition of "CBS Evening News."

... First on his list was Trump's stunning claim, made in a speech to military leaders in Florida, that media outlets had deliberately not reported incidents of terrorism.

A great way to start the day... a bowl of Wheaties and a earful of Trumpies.


Tuesday, February 07, 2017


 General Petraeus
photo: Jason Reed

A very good article on General Petraeus' address to Congress in late January:

The Fiscal Times
Gen. Petraeus: The Post-War Order Is in Danger of Collapse
...  "Americans should not take the current international order for granted," Petraeus said. "It did not will itself into existence. We created it. Likewise, it is not naturally self-sustaining. We have sustained it. If we stop doing so, it will fray and, eventually, collapse."...

It gives you a good idea what is at stake.


Continuous Transportation: Hybrid Vehicular Transport

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

Bus Train


Monday, February 06, 2017

Firefox Strikes Again!

All my computers were going crazy.
And I was going crazy trying to find out what was wrong with them.

So I turned on the Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del) and looked at Processes. Firefox had 2 firefox.exe files running. One had over 700,000 K, the other over 300,000 K and I had no idea what was going on.
Then I looked at the Resources Monitor and saw that Free Memory was an extremely scarce resource.

So I Googled "2 firefox.exes running" and yadda-yadda-yadda came to the issue of Firefox e10s.....

and I don't care what they are....
I mean, I don't care what "e10s" are and why Firefox needs to slip them in on me and drive me crazy for a month or so, and just sit back and laugh at my discomfiture. I don't care. I don't want! Get it!??!

so I'm not going to go into why Firefox did sneak them in in one of their innumerable updates....

Anyway, I Googled again, found

and followed the recipe, got rid of the doppelganger Firefox, and everything works one heck of a lot better.

Continuous Transportation: Moon Plane

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

Yet another example of the newest aviation technology.


No Country For Old Men

"It's a mess, ain't it, Sheriff?"

"If it ain't, it'll do 'til the real mess gets here."


Ivanka Trump, Jared Kusher Stops LGBTQ Rights Rollback, Community NOT Impressed
... In one of President Donald Trump’s latest proposed executive order, he has threatened the rights of the LGBTQ community with a draft that would rescind Obama’s protection on the minority. “Fortunately,” as Ivanka’s press highlights, it was her and husband Jared Kushner who helped kill the suggested executive order...

I would be cautious on those days when Ivanka has a cold and is not hanging around the White House. This is becoming very Game-of-Thrones-ish, don't you think?


Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Grimoire Of Imagination!

Moody Teenaged Nero Listening to Seneca, his Tutor

When I was reading Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, I often wondered what it would be like to have a leader of state who was a child, like Nero who assumed the purple at the age of 17 after the death of Claudius. Seneca, the philosopher, became a tutor to Nero when the future emperor was 12. When Nero became emperor, Seneca became his advisor.

In the year 59, Nero arranged the murder of his mother, Agrippina, and Seneca as imperial advisor was involved in the matricide. Seneca wrote to the Senate exculpating Nero for this crime.

I speak of the Seneca as adopted by Christianity, the Seneca as Stoic Philosopher, attempting to teach Nero moderation. How ghastly it must have been to watch his charge go from crime to even greater crime!
To have a totally out-of-control emperor leading the empire! And to have tutored him for years, only to see his teachings ignored!

Young Nero Being Tutored

In actuality, I think Seneca was a hypocritical scoundrel, who wrote of Philosophy merely as an exercise in rhetoric. Seneca was an obsequious flatterer of an egomaniac, an amoral philanderer, and a man who used his position of power to cheat and steal from those less powerful.

Still he was able to watch his charge, Nero, degenerate and even to partake in his crimes, powerless to even lift a hand in protest. No wonder he as a Stoic, for it made a virtue of his wretched morality.

An unbalanced child-emperor surrounded by scoundrels... I could never think the reality of such a thing in the the grimoire of imagination!


Saturday, February 04, 2017

Cinéma En Plein Air [02/03/2017 - answer]

Answer to yesterday's clue...

1959          Dir: William Wyler        

Judah Ben-Hur  (Charlton Heston)  was oarsman at seat #41 on the war trireme of Quintus Arrius   (Jack Hawkins) .


Friday, February 03, 2017

Cinéma En Plein Air [02/03/2017 - clue]

I show you a picture of something very much germane and involved in a movie and you guess the movie. Got it?

Way too easy.


Thursday, February 02, 2017

Good Neighbors Make Good Walls

Symbolic Mexican Wall 

The Times of Israel
Mexican Jews voice wall-to-wall outrage over Netanyahu tweet
As PM lauds efficacy of Israeli barrier, Jewish community south of the US border pans him as Trump’s ‘lackey’
In kosher stores, synagogues and intellectual circles, Mexico’s small Jewish community condemned the Israeli prime minister’s support for US President Donald Trump’s border wall as disappointing and shameful.

“As Mexicans, as Jews, we oppose the construction of a wall, but we support cooperation between the two countries [Mexico and the US],” said Rabbi Marcelo Rittner of Comunidad Bet El in Mexico City, in a January 30 statement in Spanish.

The statement was addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and published on the Enlace Judio (Jewish Network) website.

Mexico demanded an apology after Netanyahu tweeted on Saturday night in support of Trump’s proposed wall spanning the Mexican border, saying a similar plan along Israel’s southern frontier had been a success.

Netanyahu did not apologize, saying he had not been commenting on US-Mexico relations in the tweet. He added he had a “long, fruitful and very friendly relationship” with Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto...

Good walls really do make good neighbors.
Walls don't make human neighbors "good". It takes at least a village to make a human being good, not merely a wall. It is the wall itself that is a good neighbor, sort of a stoic type, doesn't say much, never asks to borrow your power tools, and whatnot.

Other examples of wonderful neighbors:

Hadrian's Wall
(... as depicted in an illustration for the original edition of Rudyard Kipling's "On the Great Wall" (1906). In this image, the height of the wall is much exaggerated, but it is true that the Roman Empire had built a complex system of fortifications along its borders. However, as the empire's economy declined, it couldn't sustain any more the kind of complexity that was possible at its peak. Complexity has a cost and its returns are not always proportional to it. So it was for the Roman fortifications, that were abandoned in early 5th century A.D., so it may be for some of our infrastructures, such as nuclear energy or manned space exploration .)

Netanyahu's Wall with Partiers

Berlin Wall with More Partiers

"Mr. Gorbachev, build up that wall so we may par-tee!

Interestingly enough, yesterday there was a story in Yahoo News about a small business CEO who said that Mr. Trump reminded him greatly of Mr. Reagan. 
Now that was interesting, since one did not like walls and one loves them.


Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The Holocaust Speech

It is not like we did not expect things like this, did we?

Next year we get to hear a Trump speech on Martin Luther King Day.