Sunday, March 31, 2013

the green lady

A while back I saw something in the news about a middle school where the administrators supposedly told the kids to call their Easter dance something else, because Easter is a Christian holiday and the school and religion are spoze to be the twain that never meet, & etc.

I have no idea if it was true or not, and it might have been from one of those stupid emails that get forwarded around u no the ones. Maybe some body got hoaxed by the Onion.

Whatever the case, what I find ironic in all this flapdoodle, plus in the fact that Easter is the ultimate Christian holy day, that it's the only holiday whose name remains an echo of paganism, and our pagan ancestors. In fact, Eostre was a beautiful Teutonic dawn goddess and great mother, the green lady, or in Latin, Primavera.

Furthermore, our method of determining the date of Easter is rooted in paganism, and as you'll recall, uses the full moon as a calendar marker. And since the moon waxes full on various dates, so then does the date of Easter which derives from it.

Eostre's totem animal is the fertile bunny, and her talisman the egg.

When Eostre was the ruler of springtime instead of Jesus there were 13 months, not 12. This is why, in Walter Scott's version of Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood and his men sang "How many months be there in the year? There be 13 I say..." And it works out, too, because 13 months X 4 weeks = 52 weeks.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

exercise & diet

We constantly hear about the importance of these things, so much so that we don't really absorb the message any more. But the fact remains, and I can personally confirm the truth of it, good diet and appropriate exercise will largely determine a person's quality of life.

This goes a lot farther than simply not smoking or not drinking to excess. Abstaining from what's harmful is one thing; proactively pursuing beneficial habits is another. They go together, like yin and yang.

My latest dietary reform is eliminating cheese, which I once believed essential to life, you know, as in "Give us this day our daily bread, and a little cheese to put on it if you don't mind." But my nutritionist-naturopathic doctor harangued an audience recently with sufficient passion to convince me I was in denial about this delicious but harmful substance, which is the main ingredient in pizza and found melted ubiquitously in processed food (e,g, Hot Pockets™).

Of course, with the cheese gone I eat more of the other stuff I was already eating, fresh produce, rice, eggs and bread, oats, etc. (OK, small confession here, Parmesan is still on the menu -- a litttle bit grated up and sprinkled on a salad is good , and it's the slimmest cheese.) I've lost a little weight, which I was ready to do, and am now at optimum poundage -- 128 -- on a little guy's slight frame, slender but developed.

That combined with the cardio workout-weight training have lifted my physical well-being another notch, and I'm wondering how far this feeling better stuff can go.

How about you, dear reader? How good do you think you could feel?

Friday, March 29, 2013

sold-out & jiggly

Like Chris Hedges, I can't identify the precise moment when TV news died. I know it began to die the first time a talking head news reader said "We'll be right back after these messages."

All news is now celebrity news. Barack Obama and John Boehner are celebrities who don't always get along, like Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks. War is like a football game, and reporting on Afghanistan concentrates on whether we should "pull out now" or "hang in there and get the the job done," which makes it sound a lot like sex.

Although it's hard to fix the exact moment TV news died, the excommunication of Phil Donahue in 2003, along with the exorcism of Bill Moyers at PBS, signaled there was a corpse in the room.

"The celebrity trolls who currently reign on commercial television," Chris Hedges groans, "who bill themselves as liberal or conservative, read from the same corporate script." So Brian Williams reads only those stories he knows his bosses at the General Electric  corporation, one of the biggest war profiteers incidentally, would approve. Even more importantly, he omits those stories he knows they wouldn't want people to know about.

So if Bill Kristol and the rest of the superhuman crew at Fox News were totally wrong about the Iraq War, and if Tommy Friedman was totally full of shit about the triumph of corporate-driven global prosperity, why are people still buying that stuff? For the simple reason that when you turn on TV nooze, that's all there is -- some guy in a suit and his bottle-blonde-with-a-rack sidekick peddling "the ideology of the corporate state," as Hedges puts it.

It's just like going to Safeway; people go there and buy too much fat and too much sugar and too much salt because that's what's mostly available and always on sale. Then they go home and while eating their Tater-Tot™ casseroles and Sarah Lee™ pound cakes, are simultaneously fed bullshit by GE, Microsoft, Pfizer, and the Boeing Company.

I've got to the point now where I don't own a TV, don't want one, and write my own news, using sources like Chris Hedges, al-Jazeera, and my two eyes, one of which has a cataract that needs to come out, for which I have a doctor's appointment today.

Because you don't know the real happs if you can't see things clearly.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

world-wide evolution

We're living through an era of immense and rapid social change. Consider that a time line like the one at left showing the acceptance of gay marriage is considerably steeper than this.

This has been going on for some time, but now it's picking up speed. Governments have to rush to catch up with changes that have already occurred in fact if not in law, revising old laws, throwing some out, writing some news ones, in order to reflect the changing nature of social relationships, drug policy, and any other social phenomenon you can name.

Some institutions lag behind. Mid-East governments struggle to suppress 20th-century political realities, and the Catholic Church refuses to accommodate modern social realities as it timidly approaches 1800 in its attitudes.

At this poiint, laggers lag at their own peril.

ruling-class prerogatives

The president of Mexico's brother-in-law, who happens to be governor of the city-state they call the Federal District, is in trouble for killing a prisoner.

The gov had Gabriel Hernandez, a rebel commander, pulled from his cell, shot, and set on fire. All of this, according to the NY Times account, while he was high on weed.

He then went to another prison, but they refused to hand over anyone for him to kill at that place. So he got pissed and went and got drunk.

Later that night he was arrested in a whorehouse. It's all in a day's work for a busy administrator.

These things happened 100 years ago today, and I found this item at the wonderful blog "Whatever It Is, I'm Against It." Enrique Zepeda, the brother-in-law of the cruel fascist dictator Victoriano Huerta (pictured) was acquitted in November of charges stemming from this incident due to temporary insanity. After all, he had been smoking those killer buds.

Also 100 years ago today marked the passing of May C. Brooks, the last surviving member of the Laura Keene Company, who were performing "My American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre in D.C. the night Lincoln was shot. (From the same source.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

liberal reflex

Put me down as in favor of gay abortion. And anything having to do with marijuana.

I don't even need to know the particulars. I vote yes.

And I also vote not to nuke Iran or N Korea or anybody else, especially the gay baby whales.


Exposure to Erich, son of Erich on Twitter has convinced me that as a crazy critter he's right up there with Wild Man Glenn Beck. He shows himself to be a theocrat as well as a fascist with sentiments like this one.

It's true, the Talibanisters will cut off a woman's finger if it's got nail polish, and Erich, son of Erich, would probably just want to break a knuckle or two.

But the differences between the Afghan Taliban and the American Taliban are differences of degree rather than principle. The perceived need to control others' behavior always comes from the same place in the heart.

Also, the Anerican Taliban don't get the opportunity to act out their theocratic control fantasies the way the Afghan Taliban does. And that tells me Allah is us, anyway.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

local mucker (updated 3/27)(update ii)

Tacoma police say a man who had run amuck and was shooting randomly into homes in the Brown's Point neighborhood in the northeast corner of the city, is now holed up in his house, refusing to come out.

Apparently this lunatic is loaded for Armageddon, so sightseers are warned to pass on this one. The latest on this story, which is coming to us in fragments, is at My Northwest.

(Updated) OK, the guy surrendered, four hours and a dozen tear gas canisters later.

He turned out to be about what you'd expect: 67-year-old Vietnam Vet, a drinker and a loner. He had feuds going with his neighbors and crashed his car a few days ago resulting in a driving-under-the-influence charge.

He had numerous high-powered rifles, but used a handgun as, neighbors reported, he walked the streets of his neighborhood yesterday, pointing and firing at people -- no one was hit -- and shooting into houses.

"At this point we don't have a particular trigger or reason this occurred," (Tacoma detective Ed) Troyer said. He added that alcohol, medication, and a small marijuana grow operation could have been factors in the shootings and standoff.

There's more at the link, which is also updated.

(Update II) The unlovely suspect, Mike McBee, taken into custody by Pierce County Sheriff's deputies last night. I don't envy this guy, who may not be aware what he's facing over the next few days, namely, detox in a jail infirmary.

the way we were

Atrios pointed this out, and my experience was the same as his despite my being much older.

We've come a long way as a people.

When I was a teenager, homosexuality existed, but no actual gay people except Ricky Kramer (not his real name) who was the neighborhood scapegoat and unclean person. God had disppeared them all (except for Ricky) to Gitmo in the sky, or something. There were furtive whispers about Librace but that's about it.

Even though there were no gay people, we knew what it was, and that it was the worst thing in the world a person could possibly be. Better to be a communist or a leper, or even a leprous communist, than to "turn queer."

For there not being any gayness about, it certainly came up in conversations enough, although the conversations were usually of the "Hey, give it back, ya homo" variety.

Everything is different now -- and better, for everybody. Things have changed in the good old US of A, but there are a few who seem not to notice.

neither happy nor gay

Rush Limbaugh opens his mouth, for which he's paid the big bucks, and opines, and says he's bummed because Karl Rove and the "Republican Establishment" are tilting toward marriage equality.

What I wonder, very seriously, is why he cares. Gay marriage or not gay marriage has no effect on his life whatsoever.

Now, I have a little secret pertaining to this topic, and I haven't told it to very many people, being as how these are the days of revolution and evolution and Hope and Change and God knows what. But I myself am not entirely comfortable with the idea of gay marriage.

On the other hand, my feelings are overshadowed and rendered insignificant by the simple and irrefutable fact that This is not about me.

it's not about you, either, Rushie. Listen to that Eagles song called "Get Over It" and take it to heart. Yeah, I know, I hate the fuckin Eagles too, but in this case you really need to listen.

Monday, March 25, 2013

sunshine deh yeah

It's warm sunshine here today, so much so that when I went out for a walk I had to take the old black hoody off and carry it.

Even sitting out on the deck it was a temperate 57º -- cool but comfortable.

If it's really here, I don't think I've ever seen it so early before.

fox news too liberal

Some Tea Party slacktivists are disillusioned with Fox News, claiming the network is becoming too liberal.

“Particularly after the election, Fox keeps turning to the left,” said 70-year-old Stan Hjerlied to the Beast. After the network dropped its obsessive focus on the raid on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes gave an interview in which he said the Republican Party needs to retool its message on immigration, Hjerlied believes that “we are really losing our only conservative network.” 

There does seem to be some truth to it. I see Fox News sometimes in the exercise room at the club where there's a guy that has it on all the time, and I don't get the "gag reflex" from it nearly as often as I used to. They even have Democrats on sometimes who can defend themselves, rather than just some poor schlub like that guy Bob Novak used to brutalize.

I don't think the network is going to go socialist any time soon, but I can understand if they turn out to be just another cable network chasing ratings, and don't want to be bound to a disappearing demographic.

¿por que?

The Los Angeles Airport, LAX, has a Facebook page.

The scary part is, 717 people like it.


Nice Popetweet!

"We must not believe the Evil One when he tells us that there is nothing we can do in the face of violence, injustice and sin."

Actually, first Popetweet I ever saw, although I'm told it was preceded by four others. So I guess that makes this whole Popetweet thing historical.

it's a stimulating tweet, too, Keeping in mind that you'll never hear the human-like voice of this Evil One, because he's not a human-like entity, and that the tweet is a figure of speech.

The devil is real, however, and speaks through actual humans. So the Pope is telling us never to take seriously anything Dick Cheney, for example, might growl.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

reality, political reality, & blood on our hands

Can't get this picture out of my mind. It will be the shorthand icon for the Iraq invasion and dismem- berment, just like another picture of another little girl has served as the icon of another. earlier invasion.

The Iraq photo hits particularly close to home because the four- or five-year-old girl looks a lot like my daughter did at that age, and is responding just as my Rachel would have if she had been splattered with the blood of her parents, shot multiple times in the front seat of their moving car while she sat in the  back.

My reaction to this photo of Samar Hassan, now grown up and still  living in iraq, is the same now as it's been since I first saw it, and segues well with the world's reaction to the photo of Kim Phuc running down that road in Vietnam with other terrified children after having all her clothes burned off in a napalm attack. And that reaction is to ask what kind of monsters in human skins would deliberately create the conditions that not only permit these things to happen, but insure that they inevitably will happen.

To react that way in the US, however, will invariably get you a long lecture about "political realities" concerning US interventions where "our interests" are concerned, which, it's always implied, are engraved in stone and will never change.

But "political reality" is nothing but bullshit we've all agreed to believe. Changing it would be as easy as changing our socks, if we all decided tomorrow to do so.

And now comes a glimmer of hope from the mother country. Former NY Times reporter Stephen Kinzer in an editorial this morning in the Guardian (UK) asserts that "Republicans and Democrats -- albeit in small numbers -- are starting to question the existing paradigm" of Uncle Sam as global cop and 'intervener-in-chief.' 

Noting Rand Paul's now-famous filibuster of Obama's drone policy, Kinzer suggests that Sen. John McCain, a petrified militarist who  has never seen a war he didn't like, has inadvertently come up with the perfect name for the new caucus when last week in the Senate he flamed Rand Paul and all the other "wacko birds of the right and left," by which he means those of us who ignore so-called political reality.

"Our next step," says Kinzer, "is to produce a Wacko Bird manifesto defining what we are for and against."

The bottom line is "American exceptionalism" and America's  implied right to rule the world. Public perception of these things is changing rapidly, but our political system lags behind. Someone needs to tell Obama that in pursuing his drone war he is digging up his own roots, and destroying his own country.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

armies of occupation

There was a police shooting in South Seattle yesterday morning at about   5 a.m. The Bellevue Swat Team (I'll explain in a minute what they were doing in Seattle) killed a  robbery suspect they say tried to run over them.

This is going to be another one of those messy, bitter, controversies involving possible police misconduct. If the evidence against the cops is weak, there won't even be a hearing. If it's strong, there'll be a hearing at the end of which the cops will be let off, because they're pretty much allowed to do whatever they want.

A reporter who's trying to get at the truth (is there any other reason to report anything?) is usually faced with a minimum of two, conflicting, partisan versions of these events, and must sift and compare details.

An eyewitness account of the shooting ran in the Seattle Free Press this morning, and shows the danger of relying overly much on one source. This may be a genuine eyewitness account, but it's not served well by the headline writer's mistakenly naming Bellevue as  where the shooting happened. First rule of journalism and pretty much anything else you can name: pay attention to fundamentals.

Other than that, the Free Press/eyewitness version of the story differs significantly from the Seattle Times's version only in its handling of question of whether the dead man was a danger to police. The Free Press version says "no," and the witness says he has pictures which prove the dead man  was not the least danger to the cops who killed him. The Times simply reproduces the police version of the sequence of events.

After reading the conflicting versions of this story, I have no conclusions to draw, but I do have several questions.

1. Why was the Bellevue Tac Squad doing an operation in Seattle? Why was it necessary to send a Tac squad in full riot gear to serve a robbery warrant? Are these police, or an army of occupation?

2. Why is the deceased's name still unknown? Was this an assassination?

3. If the police acted illegally, will anyone be held to account?

That last question is the most important, and up until now the answer has always been "no," except now we're to the point where that's got to change.

This story is far from over.

Friday, March 22, 2013

pee-wee's playhouse

Pee-Wee Herman tweets, and says:

"TGIF! These pots are stoked!"

Very clever the way he did that. Take a look.

foo food

Didjever notice? You got your TV on and that annoying yogurt ad is running again -- the one with the gal in her wedding dress petting a kitten while she reminisces with her BFF's as they all sit around consuming yogurt.

Yogurt, it seems. like that other famous "Yo" word, the one that ends in "ga," is generally perceived as "a chick thing," like movies starring Meredith Baxter. Public perception of it labels yogurt a "feminine food," and one has to wonder whether any yogurt maker has ever made an effort to appeal to men, in hope of doubling sales.

Well, not quite, but there is new yogurt aimed at men only. "Powerful Yogurt," a truly macho treat, makes a guy want to head for the forest to hunt feral pigs with a crossbow, or at the very least, go out in the driveway and kick the tires.

So now they got their yogurt, which is submissive, gentle, sympatico, and full of caring, sharing and relating. Our yogurt, on the other hand, is hard and chewy, may contain barbed wire, and a printed warning on the package cautions users not to discharge firearms in the house. Segregated yogurt.

Sometimes I think the ridiculous gender roles and rules we've concocted for ourselves are a product of advertising, with about a teaspoon of tradition added in.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

vernal equinox

The vernal equinox was yesterday at about 5:20 p.m., so today is the first day of spring.

And a cold, wet, blustery one it is, too, much more so than has generally been the case lately.

However, sunshine should return tomorrow, along with a warming trend over the next few days.

Spring always brings with it an aura of hope. Considering our experience, i don't know why that should be, but there it is.

dubya sixpak

Posting at First Draft, Michael F. gives us six of the former occupants artistic accomplishments, which, I think, speak for themselves regarding his depth of talent.

"So, just in time to mark the passage of ten years since the triumph of the neo-con nitwits in Iraq, we have six new musings on canvas by El Shrubo.

"OK, I lied -- there are only five paintings. One's a photo.

"But they're all his work."

war is bad

"And if for some reason the people who run the United States feel the need to start one, it means they've failed. It means they should all resign in shame and let someone else clean up their mess. This country has immense power - military, economic, political - and if you can't use the latter two, along with the implicit threat of the first one, to make war unnecessary then you've fucked up and it's time to go home."

Atrios, yeserday

This short paragraph is more than just smart; it's wise..

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

simon, carnal

Jimmeh. He was a good guy, and I remember him well. It's been 35  years, but seems like last week.

I remember when he went to Poland in '77. Those over 50 will recall that Poland was still behind the dreaded "iron curtain" in those days, and its people in a state of more-or-less permanent rebellion against their Russian masters.

Carter had major problems on this trip, however, mainly because of the translator that whoever handles those things had hired for him. Steven Seymour, a freelance linguist, was added to staff for $150 a day, but it soon became obvious he had problems with the spoken word.

For example, when Carter said he wanted to know more about the hopes and aspirations of the Polish people going forward, Seymour's translation had him saying he was curious to know more about the carnal lusts of the Polish people for the future.

At the end of his speech Carter said he was returning to America and would often recall his visit to Poland. Seymour's version of this was so garbled the crowd believed Carter was saying he was leaving to go home and pack up, and planned to leave America forever.

it was stuff like that the gave Jimmeh's administration kind of a slapdash, improvised feel, which in a way is reassuring. We should never forget that we're ruled by human beings, no different than ourselves.

primate in the mist

Some people have more nerve than brains. Either that or they're so dumb and clueless they appear to have nerve.

One such is the former secretary of war, Rumsfeld by name, who yesterday tweeted on the subject of Iraq, and how it is now 10 years since "the hard work of liberating" the Iraqis began. 

The overwhelmingingly negative response to this tweet is awesome. Even though he was immensely popular in 2002 and 2003, and even though he may not have noticed, things have changed since then. I'm not sure he was prepared for  the tough crowd.

I'm sure Rumsfeld leads a very well protected existence. But as the song says, "On the 31st floor, a gold plated door won't keep out the Lord's burning rain." (Flying Burrito Brothers, "Sin City," 1970).

Next time I would like to see people get this indignant before we launch the war, when a few wiser heads are trying to tell the politicians it's a terrible idea, rather than afterward when it's obvious to everyone what a disaster it was.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

headed for the barn

In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai's political opponents are negotiating with the Taliban.

The AP Story...

I'd be willing to bet that by the end of the year, Karzai will have made a deal to leave, and will retire to San Diego to write his memoirs.

i thought it was...something else

Hey, ma, these nice policemen are saying that stuff in the closet is marijuana.

Honest, officer, we had no idea.


The NYPD spent 1 million hours making 440,000 arrests for low-level marijuana possession charges between 2002 and 2012, according to a new report released Tuesday -- just as legislative leaders in Albany are deciding whether to pass a bill reforming drug laws.

obama derangement syndrome gazette

There needs to be a website to chronicle the endless manifestations of Obama Derangement Syndrome, past and present. All examples of strange hoaxes claiming to record the lusts, perversions, and depraved acts of the Obamas, paranoid fantasies, and particularly noteworthy distortions and plain old lies would be catalogued there.

Some of this, of course, is racially motivated and coming from people who can't handle the idea of a black family living in the White House. Some of it is purely political, coming from people afflicted with an earlier malady, Democratic derangement syndrome (Dds). Most of it is a little of both.  

The latest is this story at New Smacks which makes the claim that rather than moving missiles to counter what they perceive as a North Korean threat, the administration is folding under pressure exerted by that bastard Putin and all his obsequious bureaucratic yes-men  over there in Moscow.

Russia is no longer a socialist country nor our enemy of course, but I'm not sure whether New Smacks knows these things.

That's typical, but my favorite of all time was the reversed photo that circulated on the internet and created a real sensation, showing both Obamas putting their left hands over their hearts during the pledge of allegience.

Political discussion sites, places supposedly devoted to rational discussion and the most basic kinds of scholarship, these days can degenerate quickly into garbage cans for people's delusions. paranoid hallucinations, hysterical distortions, and carried-in assertions concocted by the sort of people who will tell any lie for money or good sex. 

Sheesh! I don't even like the guy, but we really need to eliminate this kind of serious unseriousness from the national dialogue. There's no room for hysteria and bad faith where weighty and consequential decisions are concerned.

Monday, March 18, 2013

latinum wordums

Mattie nuntiavit Hattie de re illa factum,
Habebat duabus longis cornua et LANATUS maxilla.

Mattie nuntiavit Hattie, age Sentiat scriptor accipies casu,
LVII Non. Veni et discere saltare.


Jim Kunstler's blog this morning is not the usual jeremiad about the state of the nation and the world, but deals with personal matters.

It seems Kunstler went into the hospital recently for what was to have been a "cervical decompression" procedure, to deal wwith bone spurs in the neck. But he ended uup up going through five-hour arterial bypass surgery.

The experience sounds absolutely dreadful. The only thing I can think of that sounds worse, in fact, is death, which would almost certainly have come for old Jim prematurely, even as he was in mid-sentence, had he not gone through with the bypass.

Anyway, it looks like we'll have him around for a few more years. Somebody upstairs is watching out for us; we really can't afford to lose such a loud and effective voice at a time like this.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

looking for the rubber pope

For a kid raised by atheists who dabbled in Unitarianism, i've always been fascinated by popes, bishops, priests, and nuns. Especially the pope, with his red shoes, triple tiara, and all the ornaments.

Once there was a pope named Urban VIII who did not believe in god or afterlife. He told a banquet guest that we have about as much chance of experiencing an existence of some sort after we die "as that goose there," pointing at a cooked bird on a platter in front of them.

What I can never understand about the popes is why they're so dead set against rubbers. Why they felt threatened by Galileo I can understand, because of that stuff in the OT about the earth standing still etc. But nowhere in the Bible can I find the place where it says "Thou shalt not use rubbers."

shopping tarjay

Today was one of my twice-monthly big-box-store experience Sundays.

I do this to save a couple bucks, because there's essential supplies there I can't get anywhere else for a decent price, and to keep from becoming a total hermit.

Plus, big box has become the prototypical American experience. The big box in the mall with massive parking lots all around in a landscape that challenges human beings to feel anything other than small and insignificant.

Today, as usual, it was Tarjay. Sometimes I'll go to Costco or Trader Joe's in addition to Target, but usually it's just the latter. Costco is so stressful I always feel like I should be wearing shinguards, elbow pads, and a bicycle helmet. Getting there, and to Trader's involves driving into the bowels of Silverdale, and driving's not my strong suit any more.

Tarjay is located on the periphery of town, and on Sunday morning   shopping there is a low-intensity experience -- just what I'm looking for. Even the parking lot is mostly empty until afternoon, so I don't have to play "Ruh roh" with people going the wrong way, or going too fast, etc.

They've got just about everything there at decent prices, plus they have patches for two bucks apiece, so I need to stop there every couple of weeks anyway.

Those little patches have taught me two things: First, I don't ever have to smoke another cigarette as long as I live and it won't drive me nuts; secondly, I'm an addict for life. I'll never be free of nicotine, but that's OK 'cause I'm free of cigarettes.