Thursday, March 29, 2012


My great-great grandfather, Francis C. Brice, moved from Duplin County, North Carolina to southern Georgia in 1833, accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth, their young son, also named Francis, and two slaves, Dave X and Ireland X.

By what standard do we judge the actions of our ancestors? The fact is we will never know about most of them, since we each have four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, 16 great-greats, 32 direct ancestors in the generation preceding that, and so forth, all of them converging in our family histories from their own ancestral streams, or so we hope. Still, those of our forebears from whom we have inherited our surnames seem somehow more pertinent than many of the others.

Francis Brice was only one generation removed from the old country (England), his parents having emigrated to settle first in Pennsylvania, then in North Carolina. When he moved to Thomas (later Brooks) county Georgia, he purchased land formerly belonging to the Creek nation. Southern Georgia was taken from them in 1814, after they were massacred by that old Indian killer Andy Jackson at Horseshoe Bend, Alabama, and the 200 or so survivors escaped to Florida to join the Seminole.

In addition to erecting his plantation, Tallokas, on ground forcibly taken from its former inhabitants "with extreme prejudice," to use the 20th-century term, Francis had left his North Carolina home under a cloud, as the ownership of the two slaves he took with him was disputed by his own mother, Martha.

This was probably due to an oversight in Joseph Brice's will. Executed shortly after he died in 1829, it conveyed three slaves by name to his wife Martha and a fourth to their daughter, Rachel A. Brice. However, the North Carolina registry of slaves indicates the family owned six slaves at the time, and when Francis departed the family home he undoubtedly took the two slaves whose names did not appear in his father's will, Dave and Ireland.

Martha apparently never forgave her son for carrying off two people she regarded as her property, and left him out of her own will. This underscores the fact that human chattel was far and away the most valuable form of property in the ante-bellum south, that much more capital was tied up in slaves than land, and that the old southern economy was based primarily on slavery and only secondarily on land. The Civil War was as much about massive capital destruction as it was the establishment of freedom and justice, and indeed the former was a precondition of the latter.

As I try to absorb this information, all of it new to me, my initial reaction is horror and disgust, for it appears that my direct ancestors willfully and without any visible remorse profited from two of the nastiest chapters in human history, New World slavery, and the forced alienation of New World natives from their lands and lifeways. I'm tempted to say they were forced by circumstances, but these were autonomous, independent souls who made their own circumstances.

Lincoln tended to see the Civil War as a blood sacrifice which God required of the nation as a penance for the sin of slavery. I don't understand it quite in those terms, but I can see his point. Exodus 20:5 specifies that the sins of the fathers shall be visited on their children "on the third and the fourth generations." That would be me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

tossing the bull around

The death of the Wall Street bull, the sacred idol of Republicans and free-market cultists, at the hands of #Occupy turned out to be an internet/photoshop hoax. During its brief moment, though, it set off a firestorm of alarm and indignation at the Beliefnet US News and Politics board, where I've been known to hang.

"The people who did this are guilty of destruction of private property," one poster furiously railed, "while every one who hides the identities of the involved can easily be charged with obstructing justice," then went on to call for the "absolute destruction" of Occupy Wall Street.

You're dern tootin. I mean, killing women and children with drone missile attacks in Yemen and Pakistan is regrettable, and of course we're sorry these things have happened and continue to happen over and over again, but goddammit, this is Private Property!

Once it became clear, however, that the god of the hedge fund managers was still standing unharmed behind his NYPD hedge of parking-lot barriers, the mood lightened considerably, with one correspondent noting that "Tourists to NYC like to rub the bull's pendulous testicles for good luck/fortune."

That's news to me, but I believe it and find it interesting, since I've always wanted to know more about the customs, superstitions, and fertility rites of free-market cultists.

Another regular poster answered the call with a full report detailing visits of the faithful to the site to fondle the generative organs of the sacred totem.

Now, I always suspected there were rituals of some sort at that holy site, but had no idea of the extent of them.

I should have known, since I've been aware for some time that the free-market cult is remarkably similar in many ways to the cargo cults of New Guinea and the South Pacific.

A cargo cult works this way: the supplicant speaks into an empty sardine can or some other object which bears a superficial resemblance to a microphone, and calls on a deity such as Joe Navy to send the planes to drop cargoes of Spam,™ Kraft Macaroni & Cheeze,™ and other life-sustaining goods.

Similarly, a free-market cultist prays to deities such as Adam Smith and Ronald Reagan, hoping to gain their intercession in removing all taxes on profit, government regulation, environmental laws, and so forth. They believe that if that was to happen, the unrestrained free market would produce an endless stream of wealth, forever, and everything would be perfect. A pilgrimage to the bullsite to rub the monster's huge nuts is apparently a necessary step in the series of rituals.

I'm sure that most of you are familiar with the story about the time the children of Israel decided to bow down to a golden calf. Remember how that worked out for them?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

pants for pessemists

The other day I was watching my girlfriend, the lovely Catboxette, engaged in her favorite activity (doing laundry) when I happened to notice that she was wearing bib overalls with belt loops, similar to the pair worn by the model in this picture.

Since they come with suspenders attached, I figure this type of overall is the perfect fit for pessemists.

low crimes and felonies

Perhaps you've never heard of ALEC -- the American Legislative Exchange Council. If that's the case, then you aren't aware of why ALEC is the most subversive and dangerous organization operating in the US today, and you need to go read Paul Krugman.

Monday, March 26, 2012

grease trap

So the Senate is scheduled to vote today whether to end the big tax breaks to the petroleum industry.

A majority of Democrats (I'm told) want to end them, but the bill is getting "filibustered" by you-know-who. "Filibuster" is in quotes because it's a fake filibuster; nobody actually has to drag his butt into the well and stand there talking for X number of hours.

The you-know-who's are ably assisted by a number of Democrats who refuse to go along with the rules change that would do away with the ludicrous and preposterous 60-votes-to-end-a-filibuster rule.

This is an object lesson in how the man behind the curtain dupes the American public, many of whom still believe they've got a democracy, when what we actually have is a plutocratic oligarchy dressed up in democracy's clothes.


This used to be a rural country. In the 19th century, most people lived in the country, but as industry spread the balance shifted, and by 1920, 51 percent of us lived in cities.

90 Years later, the US population is overwhelmingly urban according to new figures just released by the US Census Bureau. 71 Percent of us now live in metropolitan areas (clusters of cities which have grown together) or medium-sized cities of 50,000 or more, with only 19 and a half percent living in rural places.

But that only adds up to 90 and a half percent. Where's everybody else?

It turns out the Bureau has unveiled a new category of location where 9.5 percent of Americans live, the "urban cluster," a town or unincorporated area of between 2500 and 50,000.

There is a tremendous variety of types of these clusters and their relationship with the surrounding countrysides. Some are actually "exurbs," others are county-seat, country-market, courthouse-and-post-office type places. A depressingly large number are dying small towns.

There are considerably more of these urban clusters than big cities -- 3,087 as opposed to 486 "urban areas" or regions such as New York-Newark, Los Angeles-Anaheim-Long Beach, or the Bay Area, to name a few of the largest.

Here's a little secret: the best living in the US today is in some of these "urban clusters," especially those which have a thriving symbiotic relationship with the surrounding rural areas. The future of the country might be in just such places, and I expect them to wax over the next 20 years or so, as the cities become even less attractive than they are already and wane toward their 1920 population levels.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

vampires & cowboys

A couple of old movie posters sold for big bucks at a Texas auction yesterday. An original "Dracula" (Tod Browning, 1931) 40x20 went for $143,400, and a poster for the less-well-known but Oscar-winning western "Cimarron" (Wesley Ruggles, 1931) sold for $101,575.

They were discovered in a bundle of old posters stuck together with wallpaper paste which sold for $30,000 at an auction in Texas last fall.

These kinds of prices indicate the cultural significance of both the movies that date from the early days of talkies in Hollywood, and the poster art that supported their commercial release.

Other early sound pictures that had a tremendous impact included the Marx Brothers' first movie, "The Cocoanuts" (1929), and the World War I drama "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1931).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

little of note

There's little going on here in Pt. Utopia, WA right now except for a beeyootiful day, with lots of bright sunshine with cool temps.

The young guys who live across the road are sprawled out on their backs in the front yard, even though it's a chilly 47 out. We're all really ready for spring here.

The world of politics and social turmoil is far, far away at the moment, so let it be.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

lard of the wings

"You're gonna die anyway, so just cook the shit in lard."

die behind the wheel

Thanks to the continuing education provided by my girlfriend, I've become re-acquainted with contemporary music. Of course, some of it is barely contemporary, having been around 40 years or more.

Such is the case with Walter Becker and Donald Fagan, better known as Steely Dan. The quality of their output over the past four decades has a durable pop quality, and on half a dozen or so songs their combined songwriting gifts generated works of genius, modernist style.

"Deacon Blues" is a recipe for happiness in a bleak age, the age "of the expanding man," in which the alienated and rootless singer gazes through the window at "ramblers, wild gamblers." To deal with the world, he's concocted a "crazy scheme:"

I'll learn to work the saxophone
I'll play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whisky all night long
And die behind the wheel
They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues (Deacon Blues).

With its reference to the death of Hank Williams and determination to put all the chips on artistry no matter where it leads, as Williams did, the singer has found his answer. And he expresses it clearly. Donald Fagan's singing style may not be for everyone, but as a songwriter he expresses complex ideas elegantly, and as a singer communicates them with perfect enunciation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

dept. of global warming

Cherry trees at the National Mall and all along the tidal basin are in full bloom today.

The photo is from last April, a more normal time for this event.

herb garden

Today I paid a visit to the marijuana store. Even after a couple of years, I'm amazed that I can legally walk into a shop and buy this stuff.

It's legal because I'm afflicted with Parkinson's Disease, most likely due to years-long exposure to paraquat and maneb, whose effects were worsened by smoking and statin drugs.

Currently, marijuana is prescribed legally as a remedy for relief of the symptoms of everything from arthritis to AIDS in 12 states, available "under special circumstances" in four more. The central government takes a dim view of all this activity. Drug Enforcement Administration personnel see it as a sneaky form of resisting their "War on Drugs," which is really a war on us.

busting the bank

From the Capitol Hill Seattle blog:

A jury returned a verdict of not guilty Thursday afternoon in the trespassing case against five Occupy Seattle protesters who chained themselves together inside a Capitol Hill Chase bank in November.

Danielle Simmons, Sarah Svobodny, Liam Wright, Michael Stevens, and Hudson Williams-Eynon were found not guilty by the three-man, three-woman jury after a three-day trial. Attorneys Braden Pence and David Douglas Hancock successfully argued that the "Chase 5" had carefully planned their effort and believed that they were on property that should be considered public during what Pence called in his opening statement the group's "intentional actions" of protest.

I have no idea why the jury let off these protesters, since they were obviously guilty of what they were charged with and prepared to go to jail for it. All I can think of is that the jurors really don't like the big banks.

And who can blame them? No banker or bank has yet been charged for the scams they ran leading up to the big meltdown of 12/07, so I guess the jury in this case decided a quid pro quo was appropriate.

And it is appropriate, because if the law isn't for everybody, then it's for nobody.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

we got your skinny girl

We got your skinny girl
Here at the Western World.

--Steely Dan, "Here at the Western World."

Yahoo! blog the Cutline has this.

The Israeli government has had enough, and Monday the Knesset passed a law requiring that all male and female models whose photographs are used in advertising must have a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 or above.

The new law also bans the use of models who "look underweight," and advertisers must disclose whether they used computer magic of some sort to make models look skinnier.

The legislators' concerns about the spread of eating disorders in Israel prompted the new law.

You can easily calculate your body mass index here. It's fun, or can be. Mine was a pleasant surprise -- 19.2 -- which means for maybe the first time in my life I'm not underweight.

the roots of his raisin

Santorum's actually doing quite well.

His candidacy seems to, as people say, "resonate" with the Republican "base."

From ABC news:

Rick Santorum reached a new high in favorable ratings from Republicans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, numerically outpointing Mitt Romney among party regulars.

Within the GOP, 63 percent express a favorable opinion of Santorum, vs. a 58 percent favorable rating for Romney - not a statistically significant difference, but a challenging one for Romney given his advantages in campaign spending and, until recently, name recognition. Gingrich trails with just 43 percent favorability in his own party, a point away from his low two weeks ago.

The roots of his raisin run deep.

live from the bean

Sitting at the Green Bean Cafe in beautiful, scenic, downtown Greenwood.

There's not much worth writing about right now. Life becomes rather dull under a one-party system.

It's cold and raw here, wind coming straight out of the south but uncharacteristically chilly. Bob is dicing potatoes for the chowder.

Sometimes I think about three-quarters of the people you see out on the street are smack out of their minds.

Monday, March 19, 2012

odd zen ends

Barring some unforeseen trouble, Peyton Manning will be the Broncos' quarterback. But Tim Tebow doesn't want to go back to the bench, and looking at him, it seems to me that somebody might want him for something. However, I don't think that something will include being a starter at quarterback in the National Foopball League.

Jihad Joe and his sidekick, Hamash Mani, are here to remind us that jihad and rap don't go together well. Jihad doesn't lend itself to bling.

I'd forgotten how much energetic force these guys could crank up. Steve Weber no doubt wrote it and sings it. This was 40 years ago from the album "Good Taste is Timeless."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

anatomy of corruption

So why do most of our politicians do the bidding of their favorite lobbyists? Obviously, for the money.

(W)hat’s the best way to “buy” a member of Congress? Secretly promise them a million dollars or more in pay if they come to work for you after they leave office. Once a public official makes a deal to go to work for a lobbying firm or corporation after leaving office, he or she becomes loyal to the future employer. And since those deals are done in secret, legislators are largely free to pass laws, special tax cuts, or earmarks that benefit their future employer with little or no accountability to the public.

The bribery inherent in the "revolving door" is the most widespread and pernicious form of political corruption in America today.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

back to the land

Following up on the scariest chart evah, it seems to me that what we need is not jobs, but livelihoods.

Any society where citizens and the roles they play are reduced to economic "units" ("consumers") will come to grief. Any society in which three percent or less of the population raises the food "consumed" by the remainder has dug up its own roots.

We need lots more people directly involved in food production. These would be people who have neither the money nor the time for another grand mall seizure, even if there was affordable gas available to get there with, which there won't be.

Our leaders have no idea, but necessity will take us where we need to go, with or without em.

Friday, March 16, 2012

scariest evah

Here's the scariest chart ever, brought up to date and reflecting economic recovery, such as it is, through the end of last month. Click on the image to see it full size.

What I'm getting out of this is, as many have been saying, we're not going back to the kind of life we'd been living before the meltdown, but are instead transitioning to a different kind of economy.

good old asphalt head

The headline is: "Resigns As Asphalt Head." That would be John M. Mack, who resigned the Asphalt Headship of the General Asphalt Company 100 years ago.

You can read the New York Times story here.

Found this at the wonderful UK blog, Whateveritisimagainstit.

Cap by Asphalt Head.

nacho friend

Last year I resigned from the AARP, 17 years after getting enrolled (automatically) at age 50, because the organization has shown itself willing to compromise our Social Security benefits.

There's been a storm of criticism from AARP's membership over their apparent eagerness to sell us out, but it's had no impact on the organization's leaders.

AARP began as an advocacy group for older Americans, but nowadays they've become just another insurance agency.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

humanity and kapital

In the year one C.E., when Jesus was a new-born*, contemporary demographers estimate the earth's human population to have been about 200 million, or one-fifth of a billion. There was no doubt by this time that as a species, humanity had been fruitful, and multiplied, and had "dominion over the earth."

Still, it took 1,650 years for our numbers to increase to half a billion, but only 150 years went by before it had doubled, to a billion in about 1804. It doubled again in 123 years, then doubled again to four billion in the 48 years after 1927. That's where things were when I reached maturity, in 1975.

And that appears to be the top of the curve. World population now stands at seven billion, and the doubling of 1975's four billion isn't projected to occur until 2025, which would yield a 50-year interval since the previous doubling -- a light improvement over 48 years, and according to the numbers, beginning a trend.

It's feasible to imagine 10 billion people living in the world, as predicted for the latter part of this century, and even living fairly well, although those numbers would certainly tax the planet's carrying capacity. However, it is not our number that has fouled the air and water, laid waste to much of the best farmland, and brought violence and terror to people who have done nothing to deserve them.

In this country, still accounted one of the "better" places on earth to live, the role of the individual citizen is now reduced to an economic "unit," a "consumer" of goods and services who needs a "job," both to function as a unit of production and to make money so as to keep on "consuming."

The Kentucky farmer and American prophet Wendell Berry writes, "The idea of competition always implies, and in fact requires, that any community must be divided into a class of winners and a class of losers. (snip) ...In fact, the defenders of the ideal of competition have never known what to do with or for the losers. The losers simply accumulate in human dumps, like stores of industrial waste..."

However, Berry saw the cult of competition self-destructing, and events of the past five years have vindicated the prophesy, because:

1) The ideal of competition neither proposes nor implies any limits;

2) Unlimited economic competitiveness proposes an unlimited concentration of economic power.

Humanity might still flourish on the earth, but will not do so under the rule of kapital and competition. It's no exaggeration to say that the rule of kapital is not only incompatible with a functioning society, but with life on earth as we know it.

*Or was he? Modern scholars believe Jesus was born some time between 7 B.C.E. and 2 B.C.E., so that in 1 C.E. he was most likely around five.

das kapital


There is no advertising here, and there never will be.

That's all.

bob & jim

Five years ago Jim Bowen, a streetcorner musician/newspaper vendor in London, found an injured cat in the lobby of his rooming house. Living a hand-to-mouth existence on the streets, Jim thought the last thing he needed was a pet.

But as so often happens, the temporary arrangement became permanent; Jim and Bob were soon inseparable, and last year caught the eye of a literary agent, Mary Pachnos, who had helped bring several animal stories, such as "Marley and Me," to fruition as best sellers.

With the help of Pachnos and, one presumes, a ghost writer, Bowen soon produced "A Street Cat Named Bob," and is now hoping for a movie deal similar to the one that resulted in Marley the dog's current popularity.

I understand why Bowen feels Bob is special, since I have a cat story myself, and someday I plan to write the strange saga of Wild Bill, the killer cat who loved me, now unfortunately deceased.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

stud tires out

Cows all over Europe, but especially in France, were devastated by the news yesterday of the passing of Jocko Besne, the 27-year-old bull known as the world's third-most prolific bovine surrogate father.

Rather than becoming bologna or stew beef, Jocko's body will be studied at the Paris natural history museum, where scientists hope to discover what factors contributed to his remarkable output.

Not necessarily a great lover, Jocko's contribution to his species and his strain (Prim'Holstein) was delivered in "sperm straws," of which he produced about 1.7 million. He leaves behind an estimated 300 to 400 thousand offspring, all produced through artificial insemination.

"Artificial insemination," a student once wrote in a high school essay, "is when the farmer does it to the cow instead of the bull."

Jocko Besne, his agonies and ecstasies.

stealth candidate

Everybody keeps expecting Senator Sanatorium to go away just like nine of the 11 other Republicans who have led the party's nominating race at one time or another. But he just keeps getting stronger.

Last night he won primaries in Alabama and Mississippi. Romney finished third in both races, looking like a dog chasing a car.

First runner up Newt Gingrich vows to stay in it, but who cares?

Will Sanatorium win the nomination? Is he the Vatican's stealth weapon? Does Pope Benny have designs on our precious bodily fluids?

Painting by Guido Reni: Saint Michael Arcangel Stomps on the Devil's Head in the Process of Kicking Him Back Down to Hell, Rome, 1636. The Devil's features are identical to those of the Pope in 1636, Innocent X. Click on the picture for a larger view.

wuddy say?

As the person who posted this video remarks, "I doubt that even Eddie Vedder knows what he's saying."

The song title doesn't help either. "Yellow Ledbetter?" Is it a reference to the great Huddie Ledbetter, better known as "Leadbelly?"

I'm glad to have found at least a theoretical interpretation of this song's lyrics, anyway. And I agree with Ed: I don't want a box or a bag either.

Vedder joins the ranks singers who achieve greatness in spite of the fact they sound like they're getting choked. Charlie Patton comes most readily to mind.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

speaking of dogpatch...

...there are Republican primaries in the Old Confederacy today, in Mississippi and Alabama, and Speaker Gingrich is licking his chops over both of them. He stands to do well there as he did in his home state of Georgia, but no matter how it turns out he vows not to quit.

"I do not believe the other two candidates can beat Obama and I believe this race is the most important in our lifetime," Gingrich said emphatically. "And I will not leave the field."

I have no disagreement with that statement, and I even understand why Newt sawed Ron Paul's picture off the end of the group photo. Also, it would have been more accurate if he had said "in my lifetime," since it's certainly not the most important election in anybody else's.

Unless, of course, some states decide to secede after Obama is returned to D.C. next year. If that was to happen, Gingrich could step into a job tailor-made made for him: president of the New Confederate States of America. It would be the perfect fit for both his abilities and his liabilities. Georgia could be the first state to have a colony on the moon, and they could name it after Stonewall Jackson (the Civil War general, not the hillbilly singer).


I don't like to think of people, places, or things as stereotypes. So why is it whenever I read anything about the deep south, it always sounds like L'il Abner to me?

Like today when I read at a Yahoo! news blog that 52 percent of Republican voters in Mississippi believe Obama is a Muslim. Another 36 per cent cain't figger out what the heck he is.

Only 12 percent believe he's Christian, which would be, according to stereotypical expectations, the same percentage who believe Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.

Monday, March 12, 2012

take the money and vote

A lovely music video / political pitch comes from Senegal.

"If a politician offers you 5,000 francs, take it," sings Ouza Diallo in "Le Vote." "If he offers you rice, take it."

At the same time, Ouza strongly advises voters not to ever sell their voter i.d. cards, and to "think of the future of the country more than the money they are giving you."


Did you know...?

That Javier Bardem is going to play the villain in the next James Bond movie?

I bring this up because with the hair I'm starting to look like Anton Chigurh.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Emerald City

Having a bit of a lost weekend over here in the Enchanted Forest, so haven't found much time to write. But I wanted to post something about our excursion to the Emerald City today, to visit the fabled and renowned Rose Theatre.

The Rose opened as the plushest of the City's theatres in 1907 hosting live vaudeville shows, soon enough displaced by silent moving pictures. Talkies later drove out the silents, then went silent themselves, so that when Rocky Friedman acquired the Rose 20 years ago it was a shuttered second-hand store. He began the laborious work of restoring both the building and its place in the cultural and social life of the community. His work was immediately successful, and the response enthusiastic, so that three years later he expanded modestly, adding a second screen, dubbed "The Rosebud."

Today we chose the film at the Rosebud, "A Separation" by the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, which won an academy award for best foreign film last month, after earlier winning the golden globe. It's an extraordinarily intense examination of contemporary Persian domesticity, the simmering, uneven, and endless guerilla warfare between the sexes in a traditional Shi'ite society, and the Islamic legal system.

The drama is a controlled explosion going off in claustrophobic, crowded interiors -- the family's small apartment, the chaotic, sweaty courtrooms, inside cars, etc. -- which are a reflection of the walled-off, rule-bound personalities of regular people trying to get by in a tense, tightly-wound society in which the genders communicate with each other through a dense maze of complex, religiously prescribed etiquette.

I came out of the theatre feeling like I'd been someplace really scary, but we'd been nowhere at all except inside the intimate personal lives of fictional characters.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

homeland security

Bought me a new zippo lighter yesterday. I no longer smoke, but I figure it'll be good for setting fire to the tall grass in vacant lots, to flush out whatever terrorists might be lurking there.

We all need to refine our counterinsurgency skills.


Have you thought about how many terrorists there are among us who have disguised themselves as homeless people pushing shopping carts?

Plus, there's a socialist dictator in the White House, and hordes of females all over the place demanding that I pay for the sex they have with somebody other than me. Times are very rough right now.


The Zippo is a remarkably beautiful and practical artifact of industrialism, an invaluable relic of the age of steel, which was at its peak when I was a lad.

But now technology has gone too far. The Germans have spent over a quarter of a million $US to build a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered car which is also invisible.

I wonder if the engineers who built this fantastic illusion ever stopped to wonder if an invisible car is the one most likely to be hit. More to the point, did they ever reflect on the fact that there will never be a wholesale adoption of hydrogen to automotive uses?

We don't need minds brilliant enough to design the real James Bond car; we need backs strong enough to stoop down and pull a weed, and wills bent in that direction.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

¡mon noxin

I was thinking about old Noxin today, god bless his tightly-wound, loosely-wrapped little soul.

Drahcir W. Noxin -- him be great statesman. Him make peace with those dirty commies over there in Godless Red China. Much cheap weed and free love in those days.

his & hers

This was a layout done for two people simultaneously this past Sunday, March fourth.

The top row, from left to right shows trump twenty, the judgment. In the center is the nine of hearts, with the eight of diamonds on the right.

The playing-card diviner Robert Camp* says of nine hearts that it can be a sign of "emotional disappointment and personal losses on the affectional level. However, this is the card of completions in love and of 'Universal Love.' Yes, the nine of hearts can signal the ending of one or more key relationships. If so, it is most likely that these relationships are no longer doing you any good. It is time for them to end..."

The cards in the lower row are the four of diamonds, trump number five, the pope, and the king of diamonds. The suit of diamonds is largely concerned with material values and money.

At the right of the picture, its spine barely inside the frame, is a historical monograph, "The Bad Popes" by E.R. Chamberlin.

Photo, cards, and images on cards ©2012 by Dave B. Click on the photo to see a larger image.

*Robert Camp, "Destiny Cards" (Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, Inc., 1990), 184.

the new and improved crangleschnazzle

I hear that Apple has unveiled the gizmoid of the century, their new i-pad, called the zip-7, or some such thing. Please excuse if I do not get over-excited about the latest and the greatest talking internet device, at whose technocratic pedestal we are all expected to grovel.

The truth is I do not own or want an i-pad, or an i-phone, or a cheaper version thereof. Have to say the now antique i-pod has great possibilities, and I may even purchase one some day. But I don't need an i-pad because I'm already on the internet, and don't need an i-phone because I already have a phone, of the cellular persuasion.

Really, there are only two things: the internet, and telephones.

And there are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who do binary and those who don't.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

chunky diction

What's with this "Ramming it down our throats" figure of speech I keep hearing from the anti-sex crowd, climate-change denialists, tax-cut hysterics, creationists, and disbelievers in the female orgasm? For example, Obamacare was never going to be imposed or inflicted on us, it was always going to be "rammed down our throats." The phrase dramatically combines violence and pornography and is used widely by those who love drama.

Now at the moment I'm feeling slummy, because I was just at Pajamas Media (at the urging of Roy Edroso) reading something called Dr. Helen Smith on the topic of how Sandra Fluke is bullying poor Rusty, and there it was again!

Limbaugh should have gone on the attack. He should have said “no apology” and exposed her for the partisan hack that she is. Do I care if Fluke fucks 50 guys? No, but I do care if she uses her position to gang up with other mean girls (and guys) to ram a political mandate down the throats of companies who do not believe in what she is peddling.

¡Ay carramba! Those companies aren't just going to have to pay for rubbers for Sandra, they're going to get it rammed down their throats. At Edroso's site, commenter Mrs. Tilton says, "I blame the Citizens United decision. If companies weren't people, they wouldn't have throats for liberals to ram things down."

Reminds me of the immortal words of our old friend Mick Jagger in his song "The Midnight Rambler: "I'm gonna stick my knife right down your throat, baby, and it hurts!"

overriding fat tony scalia

Town Hall meetings all across Vermont will soon issue a plea to Congress to adopt a constitutional amendment which would end once and for all the ridiculous and autocratic twin fictions that corporations are people and that money is speech.

John Nichols has the story at The Nation.

Two state legislatures, in Hawaii and New Mexico, have already endorsed such a proposal.

When Citizens United is demolished and our Constitution is brought up to date, to respond to the realty of current conditions, the process will begin at the bottom of society, at the grassroots. This will be the opposite of the status quo, which was dictated at the top and pushed downward onto the people in the most autocratic way imaginable.

Monday, March 05, 2012

funky chicken

The Obama administration has annouced that the G-8 summit scheduled for May will be held at Camp David rather than in Chicago as previously announced. The almost-overlapping NATO summit will still be in Chicago.

It's an interesting story in the Chicago Tribune. The first half of it is just boilerplate handout crap from the administration, from Mayor Rahm's office, and so forth -- all the boring and meaningless "official" pronouncements.

The second half is all about potential demonstrations, or the numbers of trained police available, what kind of riot control training they've had, how many turtle suits they've got, who the groups planning to demonstrate are, etc.

So the Trib doesn't directly give the reason why this change is occurring, which is because the authorities are afraid of the demonstrators. That's not the kind of thing a newspaper wants to say out loud ("so to speak"), but the story does manage to communicate the reason, although the reader has to kind of put two and two together.

the diet of worms

What is so humble as a worm? And yet, one of the year's most glorious full moons is named for this unassuming tiller of the dirt who does so much for us.

The full worm moon of March, which falls the night of 3/8 this year, describes what is happening in the earth below, as our red compost worms, a frozen mass a month ago, now wiggle and dance to the awakening rhythms of the world and the sun.

These little worms are tireless, chugging along like tiny engines turning fruit peelings, crushed egg shells, and coffee grounds into rich black dirt. They are an enormously benevolent creature, and an essential element in the web of life we seldom consider.

As the red compost worms start wiggling, so wherever spring is teasingly about to begin do the rest of the vast universal tribes and armies of worms begin their annual work of restoring the weary land.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

as seen on tv

Here's the main reason you should never believe anything you see on television.

The Citizens United decision implies among other things that our political system now legally belongs to the highest bidders. Since private television companies, who use public airwaves to make their living, will bag about $3 billion selling time for campaign ads this political season -- a record amount -- they have a financial interest in downplaying the impact of the Supreme Court decision.

Television isn't just anti-intellectual any more, but has become anti-democratic as well.

Details at Buzzflash.

going down?

After several years of circling the drain, there are signs that Bank of America Corporation is about to face a final reckoning. Matt Taibbi has the full story in The Rolling Stone.

The only question now is whether Obama, Geithner, and the Fed will step in to bail their sorry asses out one more time, either openly or in secret. If so, they won't get away with it this time, and I don't think they're so completely out of touch with public opinion that they're unaware of the intense backlash that would cause.

And there's more good news this morning: Rush Limbaugh has apologized to Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student whom he called "a slut" on his radio show after she testified before Congress, expressing her opinion that insurance companies should be required to provide contraceptive coverage.

He has the best possible motivation for apologizing; two major advertisers have dropped him since he made the remarks. I'm not usually revenge-oriented, but I must confess I look forward with eager anticipation to the day, now not far off, when this foul creep lives among us as a broken man.

The question is, where will he go? Former greats Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs were kicked off the teevee and now labor obscurely on radio broadcasts, but Limbaugh is already on the radio, so I guess he'll have to go write a column for the National Review, or something.

I have a feeling 2012 will be a good year, with numerous people and institutions who've had it coming for a long time going down.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

parkinson's disease and other stuff

Sorry about the no-show yesterday -- it was the day from hell, but a great learning experience.

When you have Parkinson's Disease, you soon find out that some days are worse than others. Yesterday was the worst yet, and I managed to compound it by totally screwing up my various medications, just to prove I guess that there's no situation so bad that it can't be made a lot worse, if you work at it.

So by one in the afternoon, after I'd melted down into a quivering puddle of goo, my good woman, who's sweet as agave juice and stronger than dirt, picked me up, shook me a couple of times, and began the process of putting Humpty-Dumpty back together again.

It took a while, but here I sit this morning, lookin and feelin my best, and ready for anything. So evil-doers, beware.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

avon calling, part 2

Jesus talks with a real conservative. Despite the fact that he's speaking to God, Newt manages to talk exclusively about himself.

All I know for sure about this stuff is that if Chuck Norris had been at Golgotha, them bastids never would of done that ta Jeeziz.

Newt & Tha Naz
by: Catboxer

out of gas

The price of crude is back up to $108 again this morning.

This is going to go especially hard on retirees living in places like Desert Hot Springs, CA or Dumfuk, AZ, stuck in trailer parks ten miles from the nearest groceries and 20 miles from the doctor and/or hospital.

But wait! Won't shale and tar sands gas save us from this? Jim Kunstler notes, "Those TV commercials you see around the news hours on the cable networks are designed to extract investment capital from elderly people who have been swindled in the bond markets and don't know where to stick their dwindling retirement funds. Shale oil and gas must seem like a good bet to them, especially the ones marooned in retirement housing clusters in dismal places like Arizona and Florida, where not being able to drive is a virtual death sentence."

So do yourself a favor this morning; go read Kunstler.