31 December 2006

dinner for one...

wellllll, almost one...



This is a classic. The Germans have a thing about viewing it on New Year's Eve as a tradition. There is something special about British humor. Often misunderstood by Americans, it can be quite wry. I grew up with my father's parents living with us until their deaths. They were from Belfast and Liverpool. Most of the time, I get what others miss when viewing or hearing something from the British lexicon. I'll roar and friends will look at me, well, like I'm being stranger than normal.

so in the tradition of Miss Sophie and James...

Same procedure as last year...?

29 December 2006

an explanation...

In previous posts I have cited a phrase that deals with athiesm that conflates it with deism. I found the original source and quote when reading a post from samharris.org. It is from an article he wrote appearing in the LA Times:
As the historian Stephen Henry Roberts (1901-71) once said: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
Roberts' reasoning is really flawless. If you can recognize why you repudiate Allah, Shiva, Cthulhu, Zeus, Jupiter, The Great Spaghetti Monster, etc., you should be able to understand why an atheist rejects your god. It's the same rationale.

Harris' article is entitled 10 myths—and 10 Truths—About Atheism. It's a well presented argument.

The 10 myths:
1) Atheists believe that life is meaningless.
2) Atheism is responsible for the greatest crimes in human history.
3) Atheism is dogmatic.
4) Atheists think everything in the universe arose by chance.
5) Atheism has no connection to science.
6) Atheists are arrogant.
7) Atheists are closed to spiritual experience.
8) Atheists believe that there is nothing beyond human life and human understanding.
9) Atheists ignore the fact that religion is extremely beneficial to society.
10) Atheism provides no basis for morality.

For the 10 truths you have to read the article. Harris' truths are the rebuttals to each of the myths.

The truth that struck me the most was his countering to #10 -
If a person doesn’t already understand that cruelty is wrong, he won’t discover this by reading the Bible or the Koran — as these books are bursting with celebrations of cruelty, both human and divine. We do not get our morality from religion. We decide what is good in our good books by recourse to moral intuitions that are (at some level) hard-wired in us and that have been refined by thousands of years of thinking about the causes and possibilities of human happiness.

We have made considerable moral progress over the years, and we didn’t make this progress by reading the Bible or the Koran more closely. Both books condone the practice of slavery — and yet every civilized human being now recognizes that slavery is an abomination. Whatever is good in scripture — like the golden rule — can be valued for its ethical wisdom without our believing that it was handed down to us by the creator of the universe.

and so, I still believe in one fewer god than you do.

can you understand it better now?

just asking...

28 December 2006

solipsism...

/sollipsiz’m/

• noun the view that the self is all that can be known to exist
AskOxford.com

George Will seems to be put-off that Time Magazine named us as person(s) of the year; us being those who contribute to the internet through blogging. He sees it as a form of narcissism.

Of course. The most capacious modern entitlement is not to Social Security but to self-esteem. So Time's cover features a mirror-like panel. The reader -- but why bother to read the magazine when merely gazing at its cover gives immediate and intense gratification? -- can gaze at the reflection of his or her favorite person. Narcissism is news? Evidently.

He may be missing something very big in his view, however. True, most weblogs tell of every day life in all of its banality and inanity, but what is the reason behind the popularity of blogging?

He does identify that,
To the person looking at his reflection, Time's cover announces, congratulations: "You control the Information Age." By "control" Time means only that everyone is created equal -- equally entitled to create content for the World Wide Web, which is controlled by neither law nor taste.

He misses that people being equally entitled to create content may be a sign of what bloggers might be reflecting for the entire world population: we are tired of the abject control that has plagued the world for the last 40-50 years and especially the last 6+.

Control has been in the hands of a relatively small number of people who have entirely too much money and power.

If King George W is adamant about the spreading of democracy, why has he persistently limited it in his own country?

and why is George Will so hung up on control?

doesn't a true Conservative, as George Will purports to be, believe in limited government?

or is he only pretending?

just asking...

25 December 2006

what's going on here (part XIII)...

Family Planning Is Family Values
The religious right is right in this: Birth control is the source of seismic change. Family planning has led to a transformation of our society so rapid we've only recently had the occasion to take stock. For example, the past century has actually witnessed a steep decline in extramarital affairs as a result, it would seem, of the very changes that drive the pro-lifers wild: The more lengthy and thoughtful trying-out of marriage partners in combination with greater candor about sexual desires within marriage. Studies conducted in 1948 and 1953, found that 26 percent of women and a whopping 50 percent of men had an extramarital sexual experience. But today, in our sex- and sin-saturated culture, the number of married people who have had an extramarital affair has plummeted to 6 percent of women and 10 percent of men, according to (conservative) Ben Wattenberg in his book The First Measured Century.

So birth control is responsible for bolstering family values because it makes people more responsible. Instead of people marrying and begetting children at an early age, usually because they have to due to unwanted pregnancies, they are waiting until they are at least 28. More maturity, more security, more certainty? The highest divorce rates in the country are reported to be in the fortress of the christianist movement: the South. Most people marry quite young, often in late teens. They have had no chance to experience life, so to speak. Isnt't it time they broke the cycle? just asking...

At Axis of Episcopal Split, an Anti-Gay Nigerian
Archbishop Akinola, a man whose international reputation has largely been built on his tough stance against homosexuality, has become the spiritual head of 21 conservative churches in the United States. They opted to leave the Episcopal Church over its decision to consecrate an openly gay bishop and allow churches to bless same-sex unions. Among the eight Virginia churches to announce they had joined the archbishop’s fold last week are The Falls Church and Truro Church, two large, historic and wealthy parishes.

More bigotry in the name of Christianity. This man is fixated on one thing and one thing only when the vast majority of AIDS cases are found in Africa and where the poverty level is the highest. He upholds the literal view of the bible and he panders to the lowest form of christianism in the US. More Love thy neighbor...? The real fight between the mainstream American Espiscopal church and the schismatics is going to be in the courts. There is a major question of church properties being the domain of the national church. It's going to be interesting to see what happens. Though both sides have agreed to a 30-day cooling off period before legal actions could start, the fact looms heavy. If the schismatics would win, could Archbishop Akinola then become an owner of property in the once slave rich South? Ironic?

Vista vulnerable to malware from 2004
Microsoft's Vista may be vulnerable to at least three pieces of widespread malware, two of which date back to 2004 , according to security vendor Sophos.

At least three well-known internet worms — labelled Stratio-Zip, Netsky-D and MyDoom-O by Sophos — are able to execute on the OS, according Sophos.

and now another company has found additonal security flaws connected with Vista and the new Explorer 7. [Flaws Are Detected in Microsoft’s Vista] This continues to be a disaster for MS. How can one of, if not the richest companies in the world continuously and seriously make these mistakes even before the product is released for general use? To paraphrase Henry II when speaking of Beckett: "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome software?" just asking*...

Pope Offers Christmas Prayers for Peace
Pope Benedict XVI urged a solution to conflicts across the world, especially in the Middle East and Africa, in a Christmas Day address that included an appeal for the poor, the exploited, and all those who suffer.

"With deep apprehension I think, on this festive day, of the Middle East, marked by so many grave crises and conflicts, and I express my hope that the way will be opened to a just and lasting peace," Benedict said Monday.

"...an appeal for the poor, the exploited, and all those who suffer...." my ass!

As he sits on his golden throne, wearing red Prada shoes, and riding around in limousines he needs to look at the lives of true humans in the world. If he wants to bring peace to the world, to improve the lives of everyone, and to spread acceptance and love, he has to stop his exclusion of parts of the world because of their differences. [Please read the next part of the post and its link] again I harp - more Love thy neighbor...?

The Peaceful Crusader
Islamic society and Christian society have been generally bad neighbors now for nearly 14 centuries, eager to misunderstand each other, often borrowing culturally and intellectually from each other without ever bestowing proper credit. But as Sir Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth, has written, almost as if he was thinking of (Sultan) Kamil and (Saint) Francis, “Those who are confident of their faith are not threatened but enlarged by the different faiths of others. ... There are, surely, many ways of arriving at this generosity of spirit and each faith may need to find its own.” We stand in desperate need of contemporary figures like Kamil and Francis of Assisi to create an innovative dialogue. To build a future better than our past, we need, as Rabbi Sacks has put it, “the confidence to recognize the irreducible, glorious dignity of difference.”

May the Lord give you peace.

Spock: "The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity."
Dr. Jones: "And in the way our differences combine to create meaning and beauty."

Sources: TomPaine.com, New York Times, ZDNet, Chicago Tribune, New York Times
*buy a Mac...

may your days be merry and bright...




happy christmas

24 December 2006

in a world of dreams...

...we are motes of dust in the eye of imagination.

I seldom watch movies with messages. I like escapist stories that take me away from the concept of reality. I've seen Clear and Present Danger only a couple of times less than The Bourne Supremacy. If I'm flipping channels and come across either one of these movies, I'm hooked again. Usually for the gazillionth time.

The The Dust Factory caught my eye early Sunday morning and, luckily, it was right at the opening credits. I found it to be absolutely charming. I think I also identified with it because I'm going through a grieving process since I decided to take an early retirement in March.

The trailer:



Many people may think that grief is experienced only when someone dies [I hate the term "passes"]. I think life is a series of not only joys but also of griefs. They are a movement forward and away from something, a line of little deaths that we go through daily. Most of them are minor and usually go unnoticed while others are major - retiring, moving to a new home, marriage, divorce, leaving a job....

ce n’est pas la fin du monde...

it's not the end of the world...

Eric Fassin : "Je crois que l’ouverture du mariage aux couples du même sexe, ce n’est pas la fin du monde, c’est seulement la fin d’un monde."*

*"I believe that same-sex marriage is not the end of the world. It's only the end of a world."

M. Fassin is a French sociologist who is reacting to a new book put out in France by a politician (Senateur Jacques Baudot) before the upcoming elections in France: Oui chez le notaire; Non chez le maire. In today's e-llico.com: actualité gay [sorry, it's in French], Jean-françois Laforgerie, the author of the post, points out that it merely is all politics since there are elections coming up in France soon. It's pandering to the rightist in France.

Well, we seem to be doing a lot of this in the U.S. right now also. John McCain and Mitt Romney are the prime examples. They have seen the light and changed their ways to appeal to the christianists and homophopes here. What's incredible is that both men, especially Romney, previously spoke out favorably for at least some semblance of marriage for same-sex couples, even if it were civil unions.

Now they are saved. They have bit the bullet and seen the error of their ways. They have decided that their hypocrisy is in the past. They have bowed to the Dobsons...

Wait, their duplicity speaks volumes to their real intentions and designs, doesn't it? Would you vote for men who change their minds in the pursuit of self-aggrandizement?

just asking...



Note: While I've clearly stated that I am basically opposed to same-sex marriage since I think that marriage itself is becoming passé and because there are many people strongly committed without magical words, I still strongly uphold the right of anyone to enter into it if they want to do so. It is a sign of equality when all members of a society have the same opportunity to the rights and benefits of everyone else. No one group should be denied of what other, more acceptable, groups freely take advantage.

23 December 2006

this makes me very sad...

A 17 year-old high school student, Kiri Davis, found a study done by Dr. Kenneth Clark used in the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case ending school segregation legally. The original study was shocking. Ms. Davis decided to see how things had progress over the years and produced a video entitled A Girl Like Me. Her video is more disturbing.



It makes me very sad. I can only imagine how it would make an African-American feel.

I work predominantly with African-American children. After all of these years I have come to love and cherish them. I see them as no different than any other children with whom I have ever worked. They have all of the same hopes, fears, dreams and cares as everyone else. The one thing that they don't have is the proverbial break that other children have because of the color of their skin.

I was lucky growing up in that I never heard my parents ever use a derogatory name or word. While other members of my family would from time to time display racist behaviour and remarks, my parents, to the best of my memory, never did.

I remember my father saying something to me when I was quite young. He said that his parents and my mother's parents chose to come to this country as a means of breaking the cycle of poverty and class that was found in the old country. The Black people, he said, weren't given a choice. They were stolen from their homes and brought over here against their will. They were put to work and not paid.

That has stayed with me my entire life. I know it made a big difference in the way I think. I have literally been part of the Black culture through working in the community for the last 14 years.

One day I was at my desk and a little girl came in looking for the social worker who sometimes used a little room I have in my office. She couldn't find her and asked me where the lady was who was in my little room. I wasn't sure about whom she was talking and asked the girl who she meant. Her response was very simple and innocent and made all of the people at work smile. She said, "She's light-skinned like you." I felt very proud of the fact that I was somehow just a "person" with whom the girl shared her life in some small way.

The video at the start of this post makes me sad because I have been connect to the Black culture through my work. The culture is vibrant, colorful, historical, alive, caring, family-oriented, and generous. To watch the little kids choose the white doll over the black one is disheartening. The most shocking to me was the little girl who picked the black doll as being bad.

Bad and evil have no color. They are actions that people take who are small-minded and bigoted. That the children have been so ingrained for centuries with the propaganda of groups like the KKK and others who have kept them and their culture in a backwash of hate and prejudice is a shame, not to mention a crime.

more of Love thy neighbor?

just asking...

21 December 2006

if Mr. Bush is so worried...

...about his legacy and how history will review his presidency, he needs to take a bold step and follow the lead of Richard Nixon.

As derided and disliked Mr. Nixon was, he opened a dialogue with Communist China. That is Nixon's real legacy. The U.S. has gone from shunning and fighting China (read Korea & Viet Nam) to owing it billions of dollars for the money that Mr. Bush has borrowed from China to run his war.

The editorial in Le Monde today said it best: Bushe reste Bush - "Bush Remains Bush."

Instead of listening to the American people, his generals, his diplomats, and the Baker-Hamilton report on Iraq, he chooses to send more American service members into a situation that even the ground troops are comparing to the Viet Nam fiasco.

Can Mr. Bush be so blind to the obvious?

He could have a resounding effect if he sat down, or even had Condi Rice sit down, with Iran, Syria, Muqtada al-Sadr, Hezbollah, Hamas... and said, "Look, y'all. If we put our minds and resources to it, we could put the Middle East in a space that would economically, politically and socially put it on a par with the rest of the world. You can have your religious differences; you can puff your chests and fluff your plumes; and you can disagree all you want on who succeeded the Prophet. Don't y'all think it's time to start doing something for your people. And, while were at it, let's bring in the French, the Italians, the Chinese, the Japanese and the Russians together with us and see what we all can do together to help ya'll."

If he is that concerned about his legacy, he could make the biggest change in the world ever.

I want to pose: is it too much to ask? or could anything be more simple? or why can't he see the obvious?

but I think already I know the answers.

so, why should i even bother to ask?

just asking...

20 December 2006

american christianism at its best (worst)...

Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-4605

December 7, 2006

Dear Xxxxxxx:

Thank you for your recent communication. When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.

The Ten Commandments and “In God We Trust” are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, “As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office.” Thank you again for your email and thoughts.

Sincerely yours,
Virgil H. Goode, Jr.
70 East Court Street
Suite 215
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151

There is no comment necessary to this letter from the right honorable Mr. Goode. He is an example of what is best about democracy as practiced in the United States. He is allowed to say and write the things that he wants. The Constitution guarantees him the right of free speech. It also insures that he has the freedom to practice the religion of his choice. The emphasis should be on the word practice because he doesn't know how to live his religion with remarks like his.

more Love they neighbor...?

just asking...


Note: The swearing-in ceremony uses NO book - Bible, Koran, Communist Manifesto.... The Representatives only raise their right hands in the chamber standing at their desks. It's not prescribed in the congressional procedures. There a mock swearing-in afterwards for photo-op purposes when members choose to hold something with their wives, families, partners standing behind them if they so desire. It's all for show.

17 December 2006

what's going on here (part XII)...

Mary Cheney’s Bundle of Joy

The axis of family jihadis — Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, the American Family Association — is feeling the heat; its positions get more extreme by the day. A Concerned Women for America mouthpiece called Mary Cheney’s pregnancy “unconscionable,” condemning her for having “injured her child” and “acted in a way that denies everything that the Bush administration has worked for.” (That last statement, thankfully, is true.) This overkill reeks of desperation. So does these zealots’ recent assault on the supposedly feminizing “medical” properties of soy baby formula (which deserves the “blame for today’s rise in homosexuality,” according to the chairman of Megashift Ministries), and penguins.

Christianism at its most hateful. "Injured her child?" How? Is it time to call in Family Services for child abuse? More likely it's time to call them in for religious abuse. How can people be so single-tracked in their thinking? Is everything based on black and white? What happens to Love thy neigbor as thyself with these people? just asking...

Gay Marriage Advocate Beaten At Mass. Rally
At a lectern Larry Cirignano, leader of the Boston-based Catholic Citizenship group had just finished leading the Pledge of Allegiance when he spotted Loy near the front of the crowd with other supporters of gay marriage staging a counter protest.

Loy was carrying a sign reading “No discrimination in the Constitution”. Other members of her group were yelling “You lost, go home, get over it,” at the crowd.

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports that Cirignano rushed from behind the lectern and tackled Loy to the ground. “You need to get out. You need to get out of here right now,” he allegedly told her as her head was pushed into the concrete sidewalk.

Ahhhh, more advocates of Love thy neighbor... show their acceptance, temperance, and tolerance. Wouldn't the pope be proud of them? just asking...

Former U.S. Detainee in Iraq Recalls Torment
The fluorescent lights in his cell were never turned off, he said. At most hours, heavy metal or country music blared in the corridor. He said he was rousted at random times without explanation and made to stand in his cell. Even lying down, he said, he was kept from covering his face to block out the light, noise and cold. And when he was released after 97 days he was exhausted, depressed and scared.

An Iraqi insurgent? No! A 29 year-old Navy veteran, Donald Vance, acting as an FBI informant who reported possible weapons trading while working as an assistant in an Iraqi security firm. He is an American who volunteered to assist in quelling the insurgency and from an oversight he gets detained. The detention is not the real story. His treatment at the hands of fellow Americans is the story. More, sadly, of Love thy neighbor... at work? just asking...




Sources: New York Times, 12.17.06, 365gay.com, New York Times, 12.18.06

mission impossible music assignment...

CrooksandLiars.com posts music videos each day. Ones that he calls "Late Night Music Club." They are always great. His latest is Bare Naked Ladies' "Call and Answer." Check out his site for the link here: crooksandliars.com.

He gave everyone an assignment last night:

So your mission tonight–if you choose to accept it–is to post music with lyrics that really resonate with you. Please don't post lyrics to whole songs, but just the little snippets that grab you.


I had to think a bit because music is always in my head. I wake up with a song in my head every day. I've never looked at the meaning of this, either in the fact or with what it might mean about my dreams or in how the day is going to be.

I started this post at 9:24 am this morning. I thought it would be an easy task. It's not.

I have a strangest favorite song - MacArthur Park - but there are no lyrics from the song that actually resonate for me. It's more of a existential thing.

I thought and thought and searched all day [in between making some Italian Christmas cookies] and the more I pondered the more remote it all seemed.

There are moments in my life when songs take on very meaningful perspectives. Donna Summer's There will always be a you instantly reminds me of Ronald; Gloria Gayor's I will survive got me through a bad break-up; Celine Dion's Vole helped with my sister's funeral; and Sandy Denny's Who knows where the time goes sung by Judy Collins will always tell me if I'm depressed the minute I play it.

When I remembered Judy Collins, I instantly recognized that there was one song that resonates with my life.

I first became familiar with Judy Collins in the early 60's. She has gotten me through thick and thin, highs and lows, happy and sad. I've seen her in concert many, many times. I've read her books. I mourned her son's death along with her. With it all, there is the beauty of life. So, I had no doubt that her version of the Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now instantly resonated for me.



I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
Its life's illusions I recall
I really dont know life at all

and in that lies the mystery...

what resonates for you?

just asking...

beauty in the ear of the beholder...

Much going around in the world of opera about Roberto Alagna walking off the stage at La Scala after being booed by the audience in a performance of Verdi's Aida. La Scala audiences are notorious for being hyper-critical. They even booed Pavarotti when he cracked and may have been the deciding factor in his finally retiring.

I found a video of the final notes he sang in that performance.



In comparison, here is Alagna singing the aria E lucevan le stella from Puccini's Tosca.



big difference...

what do you think?

just asking...

15 December 2006

let me get this straight...

The debate in the last couple of months has been whether or not Iraq is actually a civil war, right?

A civil war is a war between citizens of the same country; a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country; the warring groups must be from the same country and fighting for control of the political center, control over a separatist state or to force a major change in policy.

Wikipedia also states that at least 1,000 people must have been killed in total....

As far as the last part it's way over 1,000 Iraqi's dead.

As for the major change in policy, the Sunni's want Iraq to be Sunni and the Shia want Iraq to be Shi'ite. The Kurds seem to want their little piece of the north but also some of the oil that is in the rest of the country.

Now, Sunni, Shia and Kurd are religous factions/sects of Islam and the three of them have a long (1000 year+) history of conflict over which of them is the true inheritor of the Prophet's word. So maybe this is a religious war.

By definition a religious war is a war justified by religious differences. It can be the legitimate forces of one state that has an established religion against those of another state with either a quite different religion or a different sect within the same religion, or, at the level below a state, it can be a faction motivated by religion attempting to spread its faith by violence either within the state or elsewhere.

I don't understand the real issue between Sunni & Shi'ite. It comes across as quite complex. They seem all to believe the same thing; it's just that they are fighting over the Prophet's, what, estate, legacy, history?

Maybe what's going on is really a religious civil war?

or... has the entire business really come down to one thing? oil?

just asking...

14 December 2006

the greatest "pop" in the world...

Champagne

The night they invented Champagne,
It's plain as it can be,
They thought of you and me.
The night they invented Champagne,
They absolutely knew,
That all we'd want to do
Is fly to the sky on Champagne,
And shout to everyone in sight:
That since the world began,
No woman or man
Has ever been as happy as we are tonight!

Gigi, Lerner & Lowe


The French drink an average of 3 bottles per year per person. An article in today's LeMonde states it succintly: Les Français aiment le champagne. "The French love champagne."

and so do I...

With New Years around the corner, this is the time of year that champagne sales go through the roof. Champagne is the #1 necessity for any and all celebrations. No one should need a celebration to drink champagne. Just think, it is actually very holy and sanctioned by the church. Dom Perignon was a Benedictine monk who is credited with inventing champagne. If it is good enough for a monk, it's good enough for me.

who needs a better reason?

just asking...



[My favorite champagne is Pieper-Heidseck Extra Dry. Most people prefer a brut. Extra Dry is a little fruitier than brut. If I can't find one, then my second choice would be Krug. The one problem is that Pieper-Heidseck is around $30/bottle. Krug runs $110-$200/bottle! For the best methode-champenoise from the U.S., try Iron Horse. The Wedding Cuvee is outta sight!]

I can't wait for New Years...

10 December 2006

what's going on here (part XI)...

Scientist Fights Church Effort to Hide Museum's Pre-Human Fossils

Famed paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey is giving no quarter to powerful evangelical church leaders who are pressing Kenya's national museum to relegate to a back room its world-famous collection of hominid fossils showing the evolution of humans' early ancestors

Faith, in one definition, is having a strong belief in god or religion based on spiritual apprehension. Apprehension is anxiety or fear. To apprehend means to understand or perceive. What is it that evangelical/fundamentalists fear understanding? just asking...

Iran Reacts Favorably to the Baker-Hamilton Plan
Responding to the Baker-Hamilton report's proposal that Washington move quickly to engage Iran on talks over stabilizing Iraq, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki dangled an offer of cooperation in a statement published by an Iranian news agency. "Iran will support any policies returning security, stability and territorial integrity to Iraq," he said, "and considers withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and leaving security to the Iraqi government as the most suitable option." In an interview on Al Jazeera, Mottaki added that if the U.S. needs an "honorable way out of Iraq," and Iran "is in a position to help."

At face value this reads as "Of course Iran would, they want to say the opposite of what W. says." You have to take a second look. At the moment, the radical President Ahmadinejad is facing some internal questions. There are two elections coming up and the outcomes may not be in his favor. The Supreme Council makes all election decisions and it is signalling a spiral back to some moderation. They have disallowed quite a number of Ahmadinejad's choices. Of course, they did the same to moderate candidates as well, but you have to look at the fact that they reinfranchised quite a number of voters. Ahmadinejad's support comes from the uneducated base outside of the cities. Consequently, if the vote is kept low, he would succeed. The Supreme Council's decisions will allow more citizen's to vote. What do you think they have up their collective sleeve? just asking...

Drag goes mainstream
"We're not adult use," said Jim Flint, owner of the Baton Show Lounge, where drag queens have performed for nearly 38 years. "We have no profanity, no lewdness. We have 80-year-olds who come with their families. I don't want to be lumped in with strip bars and places that offer lap dancing."
Felicia [oops, I knew Mr. Flint in a previous life] thinks drag should be considered respectable. I agree. I have never done drag and have no desire to at this point in my life, but I have known some of the performers [Chili Pepper told me I was a bitch once. She was right.] and can attest to the fact that they make real women jealous because they look so good. I can also verify that they are just as normal and boring in everyday life as everyone else; some are even more than boring. I've seen some of the 80-year old ladies at the performances and they, like the impersonators, know how to have a good time. I say, if no one is getting hurt by it, why make a big deal out of it? just asking...



Sources: LiveScience.com, TIME.com, Chicago Tribune

09 December 2006

the season of peace...

Warning: the following video contains photos that may cause more sensitive readers to cry.




what part of the message that Jesus, Ghandi, King and others brought to the world is still not understood?

what part of Love thy neighbor... is not clear?

what part of suffer the little children...?

what part of Peace of Earth...?

just asking...



Source: thanks to Nicole at Crooks and Liars for bringing this video back into my life.

missing picture from Mr. Gore's book...

Global Warming

when it's cold out, you can always put on more clothes, use a thicker blanket, start a fire, snuggle with someone...

when it's hot out, you can take off all of your clothes and you'll still be hot...

need more proof?

just asking...

08 December 2006

It may be criminal...

Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) rose in the Senate to make what some are calling a remarkable speech regarding the circumstances in Iraq. He laid things out on the table that usually are relegated to talk-show punditry rather than on either floor of Congress and, especially, not by a senator from the President's own party.

In his speech [You can see it on the Senate television site: src.senate.gov], Sen. Smith left no one with any doubts about his remarks:

I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day. That is absurd. It may even be criminal. I cannot support that anymore. I believe we need to figure out how to fight the war on terror and to do it right. So either we clear and hold and build, or let's go home.

This is the part that is being given the most play, and appropriately so, but there is a quote early in his speech that is insightful:

I was greatly disturbed recently to read a comment by a man I admire in history, one Winston Churchill, who after the British mandate extended to the peoples of Iraq for 5 years, wrote to David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England:

"At present we are paying 8 millions a year for the privilege of living on an ungrateful volcano."

When I read that, I thought, not much has changed. We have to learn the lessons of history and sometimes they are painful because we have made mistakes.

Brings to mind something we've all heard:

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it - George Santayana

plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, n'est-ce pas?

just asking...

07 December 2006

and the number one seller on amazon.com is...

nooooo... it's not

The Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward - A New Approach




it's [hold your breath]...





You: On A Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management*



we must keep our priorities straight, mustn't we?

just asking...




* I have never seen two colons (:) in the same statement before now. I'm not sure it's legal. Oh wait, there probably is a signing statement on it. Never mind.

04 December 2006

not your mother's Julia Child...

warning: gratuitous video

cooking lesson: les pates




Now that's some pasta. I think I like the first one with chevre better. The mint in the second recipe doesn't do anything for me.

as far as your mother's Julia Child, would she approve?

just asking...

Iraq strategy...

Ducklings


what happens when you follow blindly?

just asking...

03 December 2006

if you ever find yourself with extra time on your hands...

create something like this guy did in five days...



fantastic video, great song and appropriate images for each lyric...

wonder what he wants to be when he grows up?

just asking...

what's going on here (part X)...

This could kill New Orleans

St. Paul Travelers Cos. Inc., Louisiana's largest commercial insurance provider, plans to cancel all its commercial property policies in the New Orleans area next year, sparking fears that other insurers will follow and slow the region's economic recovery.
I wonder how much of this has the right wing-nuts behind it? modern-day sodom and gomorrah? just asking...

Rumsfeld Memo on Iraq Proposed ‘Major’ Change

Two days before he resigned as defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld submitted a classified memo to the White House that acknowledged that the Bush administration’s strategy in Iraq was not working and called for a major course correction.
So was he fired because he was doing a lousy job or because he was starting to not kowtow into King George W's agenda? just asking...

Has He Started Talking to the Walls?

As Mr. Bush has ricocheted from Vietnam to Latvia to Jordan in recent weeks, we’ve witnessed the troubling behavior of a president who isn’t merely in a state of denial but is completely untethered from reality. It’s not that he can’t handle the truth about Iraq. He doesn’t know what the truth is.
Civil war? Sectarian violence? A phase? This much is certain: The dead in Iraq don’t give a damn what we call it. Mr. Rich is just asking...

Shhh! He's wearing make-up!*

According to Georgina Caldwell, the assistant editor of European Cosmetic Markets magazine, the male grooming market is worth £667 million. And more and more professional men - Tony Blair, as was recently revealed, included - are discovering the benefits of a bit of foundation.
The male in the vast majority of species is the better looking, prettier eye-catcher, ie the peacock. The female doesn't have any color at all. It has to do with survival of the species. The better looking, the better the chance the male is healthy and can produce... offspring that is. Besides, if you look better, don't you feel better? just asking... Oh, my. We have a conundrum here. Gay men are in the forefront of wearing foundation. They don't produce. Wait, isn't there Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? Whew. They're helping to keep the species going. Aren't they? just asking...


Mars Attacked

The founder of the conservative megachurch [Mars Hill], the largest Christian assembly in Seattle, often shares his opinion that women shouldn't be leaders of homes, congregations, or nations.... Driscoll's latest controversial remarks appeared on his blog, in a response to the gay-prostitute and meth scandal that brought down fundamentalist Ted Haggard. Driscoll wrote that he had seen many pastors' wives who "really let themselves go," implying to many readers that Driscoll blamed Mrs. Haggard for neglecting her wifely duties and abandoning her husband to his sexual vices.


Shame on you Mr. Driscoll. [and shame on you for thinking this was an Orson Welles/H.G. Wells posting. Helllloooo...., Tom Cruise!] I can't imagine that Mrs. Haggard had anything to do with her husband's indiscretions. [Well, some believe that the elder Mrs. Haggard, Ted's mommy, may have.] If the Christianists believe that sex is for procreation, then Mrs. Haggard [the younger] fulfilled her duty by having children and wasn't bound to continue having sex with her husband. At least that's one way of thinking about it. Right? Another way would be, "Have you looked at Haggard? I wonder what she saw in him anyway. And the hustler? just asking...

Sources: first draft, New York Times, New York Times Opinion, Telegraph.uk.co, the stranger.com, wikipedia.org

* The answer to your question is, "Yes, I do." Have for years. No one, even my closest friends, has ever said a word. I've always wondered what my response would be should anyone ask. I could say, "My skin medication is tinted." or "No." or "So, what?" I hope that my answer, since the question might come up rather quickly and when least expected, will just be, "Yes." and I'll quickly move on. I hope...

02 December 2006

i hate all of you...

WFMT, the classical music station in Chicago, has been playing excerpts from an interview with Sir Georg Solti for the past couple of days. It has been very interesting.

There was one excerpt that caught my attention and has kept roiling in the front of my head since hearing it. I'm going to be paraphrasing it from memory.

In the interview Sir Georg refers to hearing a story of Maestro Arturo Toscanini, one of the greatest conductors of all time. He said,
"There is a story about Maestro Toscanini, and if it is not true, I wish that it were. At a rehearsal the Maestro stopped and said to the orchestra, 'I hate all of you. You ruin all of the music I hear in my head!' It is true. I hear the music in my head in a certain way. It never comes out just the way I hear it."

It never can come out the way we hear it in our heads. Not just the music, but anything we hear in our heads.

I watch what goes on around me and realize that I have a certain belief, understanding, outlook that does not match what I see. I set myself up for failure, for disappointment, for anger and for hurt because of what I hear inside my head.

The Maestro realized that it was impossibe for him to get 100+ musicians to play each instrument and each note precisely as he heard it in his head. He was powerless.

This is true of everything. Not only music. Iraq? Religion? Politics? Career? Right to choose? Sexual orientation? Marriage? Art? Film?

I see each of these things in a very specific way. You don't see them in the same way. You see them in your own way. It leads to chaos.

The problem starts when you insist on my seeing things in your way only. It can never happen. I will only see things my way no matter what you say or do. You can pass laws. You can institute amendments. You can yell, scream, kick and hit me. You can make war on me. It will never make a difference. I will only see things in my way.

Over time, you may be able to persuade me to see things your way, but I still will never precisely see things your way. I have in my head all of the times before I was persuaded that put a different slant on what I see. There will be some nuanced difference in what I perceive. no matter what...

I accept this. There is no other way. We are a lonely species. We are disconnected from one another at the basic core. I accept, also, that you have the right to see things as you want to see them. I have no problem with that. I have a problem when you tell me that I don't have the right to see things the way that I see them. Conflict ensues.

the solution?

Miranda & Spock again...
Miranda: The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity.
Spock: And the ways our differences combine to create meaning and beauty.

too simple?

juat asking...

01 December 2006

no questions about it...



play safe...

know everything you can...

take caution in anything you do that could be risky...

December 1, 2006: World AIDS Day...


after 16 years, i still miss Ronald. twenty years ago we were working under ignorance of HIV. we've learned alot in all these years. use that information. no one can claim ignorance of HIV/AIDS anymore...

celebrate life...

Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.

World Aids Campaign

29 November 2006

at first I wrote...

and so it starts...
I've tried this blog thing before and the most difficult thing is keeping up with it, but I would like to try and make a commitment to add to it at least a couple of times a week. Sometimes it might be something important, but most of the time it will probably be just some things that have been on my mind, my life, my thoughts about the state of the world, my distastes, my likes, music, b.s., etc., etc., etc.

I've been reading blogs for awhile now and they are playing a big part in the way civilization is evolving. It's the time of instant response, instant rebuke, and instant interpretation. I wonder, however, if the instantaneousness of this whole thing is allowing for time to reflect on what's being read, yet alone written. Is there anyone who is looking at the signs of what is happening - the semiotics.

Semiotics is an important concept of study. According to Martin Ryder,

"Linguistic and Cultural Semiotics is a branch of communication theory that investigates sign systems and the modes of representation that humans use to convey feelings, thoughts, ideas, and ideologies. Semiotic analysis is rarely considered a field of study in its own right, but is used in a broad range of disciplines, including art, literature, anthropology, sociology, and the mass media. Semiotic analysis looks for the cultural and psychological patterns that underlie language, art and other cultural expressions. Umberto Eco jokingly suggests that semiotics is a discipline for studying everything which can be used in order to lie." (1976, p7). Whether used as a tool for representing phenomena or for interpreting it, the value of semiotic analysis becomes most pronounced in highly mediated, postmodern environments where encounters with manufactured reality shift our grounding senses of normalcy."

Blogging, in a way, is both the means and the end of semiotics. It is manufacturing reality as well as analyzing it. It is art. literature, sociology and mass media all rolled into one. It looks at cultural and psychological patterns, as well as creates them. It is almost oxymoronic.

So, why do I want any part of it? I, like everyone else, have a need to be listened to. The "act" in my life has always been that no one listens to me, so why bother. I've thought myself a failure for that and I'm getting over it. People either listen or they don't. I know longer care. I am going to be inspiring and powerful. As a result - FREE!

and so it starts...


Lately, I've been thinking about going back and reading what I've been writing for almost the last two years. [two years in January!] Above is the very first post I wrote for no matter what....

Looking at it again, I find it interesting, especially the semiotics part. The signs are everywhere to be found, not only in the world but also in this blog. There has been an evolution in what I've been writing and, yet, I sense that I've pretty much stuck to what I set out to do.

There have been changes over the course of the two years. I have turned to a pseudo-Socratic method of asking questions about what I bring up. Lately, I added the what's going on here... weekly post citing headlines from around the world and posing the question, "What is really going on here? I'm including music, video, humor, irony, photos.... I've tried to do more of an ongoing dialogue approach because I readily admit that I don't know everything. [Nor do I necessarily want to know everything. Somethings are better left in the ether!]

Though I'm still can be somewhat of a cynic, I have let more of myself be known to the world than ever before now. It is easier to do this when it's somehow more anonymous and you don't have a stake in losing something or someone. However, I am more at ease with myself and much more confident.

The end of the original post cites how the act I play is no one listens to me, so why bother? I am quite over that. It still pops up now and then, but even in my professional life I have become more demonstrative. It reminds me of something that happened a number of years ago and how incongruent it was with my act.

My mother was always one who thought about other people before herself. She was extremely giving, loving and caring. Catholic and Christian probably more than most regular people. There was one extreme that was part of it though. She worried about what others would think. My father and I could care less.

One Sunday I was over for dinner and a visit. I don't even remember what the conversation was about but she said, "What will the neighbors think?" My father and I, on cue, simultaneously turned to her and said, "Who the fuck cares?"

We both were totally shocked at what we said. Shocked that we did it at exactly the same time and even more shocked that we used the word fuck. Even my father very seldom used that word and it's the only time I remember him saying it in front of my mother. It was also the very first [and the very last] time I ever said it in front of her. It just was never done!

My father never cared what other people said about him. To this day, I really don't care what other people think about me. Yet, on the other hand, I didn't think, and sometimes still don't, that other people listened to me. Ironic.

This blog has helped me realize that people do listen to what I have to say and it's all right that they agree or disagree with it, yet I still don't care about what they think about me. It's there opinion. It's more important what I think about me.


do you find yourself this way sometimes?

just asking...

pander...

the word of the day: pander

verb [intrans.] (pander to)
gratify or indulge (an immoral or distasteful desire , need, or habit or a person with such a desire, etc.) : newspapers are pandering to people's baser instincts.

noun dated
a pimp
archaic a person who assists the baser urges or designs of others : the lowest panders of a venal press

ORIGIN late Middle English (as a noun):
from Pandare, the name of a character in
Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde (see
Pandarus). The verb dates from the early
17th cent.


Pope Backs Turkey’s Bid to Join European Union

the money quote:

ANKARA, Turkey, Nov. 28 — Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Turkey on Tuesday armed with a surprise gesture of good will aimed at blunting Muslim anger toward him: he backed Turkey’s long-stalled desire to join the European Union, reversing a statement he made two years ago.


The traditional Hollywood image of a pimp in the US includes a man riding around in a popemobile - I'm sorry - pimpmobile wearing an outrageous outfit that often includes red shoes.

Sound familiar?

just asking...

Source: New York Times: 11/29/06

26 November 2006

what's going on here (part IX)...

Grandmother Blows Self Up in Gaza Suicide Blast

Okay, here's my question. Suicide bombers are promised, what, 71, 72 virgins when they blow themselves up in the name of Allah against the Isrealis. Right? Does this mean she gets 71 male virgins? Or, is she a lesbian? just asking...

Woman faces fines for wreath peace sign

Yes, she may have moved into the neighborhood knowing that there were rules to how her house could look and what was acceptable decoration, but her response that displaying a holiday wreath in the form of a peace symbol is not meant as anti-Iraq and consequently anti-military support is just more hooey to the response from the Architectual Design Committee: He [the homeowners association president] said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Now, I might be way off base here, but doesn't Satan love chaos and destruction and death and war and human suffering? Does this then make the christianists satanists for being against peace? just asking...



awesome, after proofreading the two items above, I realized how well they go together. peace, anti-peace, war, anti-war, christianism, islamism, terror of the minority, terror of the majority aaaannnndddd just plain nuts. what is the world coming to? just asking...


Sources: New York Times, Yahoo! News

25 November 2006

Dancing feet...



Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell [no, not Ginger Rogers in this one] dancing to the music of Cole Porter's Begin the Beguine It is purported to be the greatest dance sequence ever filmed and was done in one take. Amazing foot work and they are almost always in unison. [voice of the narrator - Frank Sinatra!]

Pop music today doesn't lend itself to techniques and grace like this. What do you think?

just asking...

24 November 2006

Light to Unite...

candle231106

Click Here to light a candle for the National AIDS Foundation. Bristol-Meyers Scribb will donate $1 up to $100,000 to the National AIDS Foundation. You can also make a personal donation.

candles lit as of 8:35 pm, November 24, 2006: 51,251

23 November 2006

pure genius...

and beauty.



This is the final portion of the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Serge Rachmaninov. It is played by Mikhail Pletnev in this video.

The genius of Rachmaninov comes through in all of his work but this one shines bright. Rachmaninov took a simple Paganini melodic line and played it backward to immortalize an extremely beautiful new melody.

Add to that the almost athletic ability to play Rachmaninov and the exquisite and sheer beauty of the piece becomes a fete accompli of which anyone would be proud. I believe it was pianist Earl Wright who said something to the effect that to play Rachmaninov it would be easier if you had ten fingers on each hand rather than ten fingers total. Watch Pletnev's hands as he switches from simple one finger sections to both hands flying across the keyboard so fast they blur.

This was a great way to start my Thanksgiving Day at 4:30 am. It also brought to mind this exchange* between Miranda and Spock from TOS:

Miranda: The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity.
Spock: And in the way our differences combine to create meaning and beauty.


Happy Thanksgiving!

no question..

If you would like to listen/see the entire piece you can go to DIVX or click on the Youtube to find the three parts individually uploaded.

*Source: Star Trek: Is There in Truth No Beauty?

22 November 2006

hhhmmmm....

from my favorite column that I have to read every day -

David M, a Chicago reader, regarding a ruling by government regulators that Welsh Dragon Sausages will have to change its name because the product does not contain dragon, followed by QT readers starting to look differently at Oscar Mayer Sausage and Jimmy Dean Sausage, writes:

"I have just one question: Johnson's Baby Oil?"

This is getting serious.


Source: QT, in the Chicago Sun-Times

it might also answer a lot of my questions. what do you think?

just asking...

19 November 2006

you know what's wrong with gay marriages...

this...




and this...



aren't we all different in our sameness? or are we all the same in our differences?

just asking...

what's going on here (part VIII½)...

Frank Rich (New York Times OpEd) points out what has been obvious this past week...

There’s no panacea to end the civil war that four years of American bumbling have wrought. But the one truly serious story to come out of the election — far more significant than the Washington chatter about “divided Democrats” — is that the president has no intention of changing his policy on Iraq or anything else one iota.

Already we are seeing conclusive evidence that the White House’s post-thumpin’ blather about bipartisanship is worth as little as the “uniter, not a divider” bunk of the past. The tip-off came last week when Mr. Bush renominated a roster of choices for the federal appeals court that he knew faced certain rejection by Democrats. Why? To deliver a message to the entire Senate consonant with the unprintable greeting Dick Cheney once bestowed on Patrick Leahy, the senator from Vermont. That message was seconded by Tony Snow on Monday when David Gregory of NBC News asked him for a response to the Democrats’ Iraq proposals. The press secretary belittled them as “nonspecific” and then tried to deflect the matter entirely by snickering at Mr. Gregory’s follow-up questions.
Source: It’s Not the Democrats Who Are Divided, NYT, November 19, 2006


Mr. Rich goes on to say that the Democrats aren't going to be able to extract the US from the Iraquagmire alone. They are going to need the help of the Republicans. The voters on November 7th, as he & many others aptly point out, said very clearly: IT'S THE WAR, STUPID! The only problem is that Mr. Bush is not only of an addictive personality but borderlines on obsessive as well, the proverbial one track mind.

Sadly, the politics of 2008 are on the minds of most politicians. I fear that there won't be much movement until there is a new president. Everyone is too afraid of gaining/loosing power for their party and themselves. Case in point, as Frank Rich points out, is John McCain who in the past was a voice of reason and sanity:

Don’t count Mr. McCain among them. His call for more troops even when there are no more troops is about presidential politics, a dodge that allows him to argue in perpetuity that we never would have lost Iraq if only he had been heeded from the start.


It's not just a matter of winning in Iraq. It's not only saving face for the country. It's not remaining the world's only super power.

But, does it have to mean another 2,000 American troops killed? 150,000+ Iraqis slaughtered? Another $7 Billion wasted? An additional New Orleans down the tubes? Double the $8.5 Trillion US debt?

just asking...

what's going on here (part VIII)...

O.J. Deal Leaves Sour Taste in Many Mouths

Not just a book on how he would have committed the murders but a 2-hour special on Fox! There is a lot of bad on both sides of the issue, but making money off a murder in any way is not just beyond bad taste it's beneath human. Animals don't celebrate taking a life. When they take a life it's for survival purposes - starvation or protection. Humans take life for emotional reasons, like pleasure, jealousy, hatred, fear. Do you think maybe the ability to think not just puts us apart from the animal kingdom but puts us beneath it? just asking...


Melinda Henneberger: Bush's Pick to Head Family Planning: What Is He Thinking?

The problem is with the basic principle of the post: what makes her believe that there was any thinking involved? just asking...


Blair admits Iraq is 'pretty much a disaster'

duh? ya think? Where's he been the last few years? just asking...


Bush, in Vietnam, Says Change Takes Time

After avoiding going to Vietnam at all costs in a previous life, Mr. Bush's draft number is finally called up. My number was 323, as I recall. My friends weren't as lucky. I readily admit I also had a low probability of going by having a teaching deferment, but I didn't go into teaching to avoid the draft. I had planned on being a teacher since my sophomore year in high school. My Daddy had no sway either. As I sit here and watch it all happening again, without a draft this time, I too am amazed at some of the similarities between Iraq and Vietnam. The US, having successfully waged the first guerilla war for independence from England, repeatedly gets into guerilla wars and looses. If change takes time, Mr. Bush, then why the rush into Iraq? And why the dalliance to get out? just asking...

Alaska Lawmakers Thumb Nose At Court Ordered Gay Benefits and You're Crazy

While you may think that these two don't go together, read a little more carefully. The first headline is saying that the wingers are taking away not just some benefits of a specific group of people but are denegrating citizens of the US. The second is a reference to Kathryn-Jean Lopez at NRO relating to removing condoms from purveyance by adults because Passing out contraception without any deeper context or conversation is degrading and disrespectful — to men and women. Tell me I'm crazy. And so Andrew told her she was crazy. As he goes on to point out, the wingers want to be in every room of our lives - especially the bedroom. Is 1984 just around the corner, even if it was 22 years ago? just asking...



Sources: Washington Post, Huffington Post, the timesonline, Washington Post, 365gay.com, andrewsullivan.com, National Review Online

17 November 2006

16 November 2006

an important question...

lately we all in the world have been bombarded by many important questions: Who should be our leaders? Is the conflagration in Iraq just? Is the US spinning down into a theocracy? Does nuclear power threaten more than just peace? Is marriage under attack?

But, isn't there a more underlying question? Something along the lines of "What really is important and might be the basis of all these other questions?

What gives meaning to everything else?

Some say religion or god. Some say philosophy. Some say humanity. Some say hope. Some say discovery.

The question I pose is quite simple and was put into play best by Richard Strauss in his opera "Capriccio."

What is more important? The words or the music? The poet or the composer?


I've literally seen hundreds of operas both live and on DVD/tape. Below is what I consider my favorite scene from all of opera featuring my favorite soprano, Renee Fleming. It is the final scene.

The countess confronted by the poet and the composer to make a decision as to what is more important - words or music - poem or composition - writer or musician - wonders why she has to make that distinction. This clip is eery in that the countess is both on stage singing the debate and in the audience watching it. The composer and the poet are also both in the audience. It's a tableau of life watching itself. The original reality?




I used to tell Ronald, "Life's a bitch and then you die." He would laugh hysterically. He died in 1990. I still miss him terribly some times. His death became a defining moment for me. I have not searched for the answers as much as the questions since that moment.

The answers are really unimportant. The questions determine what kind of life I have.

What do you think?

just asking...

15 November 2006

what's going on here (part VII)...

and on and on...

This man is unbelievable!

After calling for bipartisanship, President Bush surprised Senate Democrats with plans to renominate a controversial list of judges – some of whom may be unacceptable even to a few Republican senators.


He's not thumbing his nose at us; he's giving us the finger.

Bush gives the finger...


“It’s an unfortunate signal,” said one senior Democratic Senate aide.


The finger is always unfortunate.

Mr. Bush thinks that he is totally above the law and completely entitled to interpret his mandate as he sees fit.

Excuse me, but when did 48% (2000) and 51% (2004) signal a mandate?

just asking...


Source: Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, November 15, 2006

10 November 2006

beyond belief...

After the 2000 election Mr. Bush made it clear that he considered his vote to be a mandate to do whatever he wanted, even though he lost the popular vote and was given the election by the Supreme Court. [We should have known then that checks and balances was in jeopardy.] He said that he would be the uniter and steer a course as such.

His first days in office made it clear that he would not do what he said. He instantly began a reign of terroir with one self-proclaiming act after another. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead took on new meaning. He viewed his election as giving him the power to change the country, as well as the world.

Now, six years later and after Tuesday's election debacle for the Republicans and wing-nuts, he does the same thing. He tells the country that, again, he would be the uniter he was as governor of Texas. What does he then do? He pushes for Bolton's recess appointment to the U.N. to be verified before the 110th Congress ends. This in spite of both Democrats and Republicans against it. He comes forth with a laundry list of things that he wants enacted before the 110th Congress ends.

This man is truly out of his nut! He sees vote results that apparently the rest of us don't. He gives new meaning to audacious. He reads things in either a vacuum or from an All About Eve perspective. He gives a different spin to Richard Nixon's continual use of the line History will record without even saying the line.

He also is bringing in his father's advisors to help out. The media is almost implying that George 41 put his foot down and may have taken his son to the woodshed. I'm not sure anyone could do that to George 42 and have him take it serious. George 42 seems to be in his own little world. It's a world, as others have pointed out, that is the world of an addictive personality.

People who are alcoholics are alcoholics forever, taking a drink or not. Having lived through it all my life with my father, I recognize the state of not drinking but still not having the realization that you're not drinking. It's like the denial stage in Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' On Death and Dying or in the grieving process. I don't want to see what is going on so I pretend (deny) that it isn't and act the holier than me scene.

I saw the change in my father when he got past the denial stage and into the anger stage. Luckily, for him, the anger was directed inward at how he had hurt the people he loved. When he finally got to the acceptance stage, he became so serene, calm and loving - the way he always could be.

Some addictives never get past the denial stage or take an extremely long time in it. Mr. Bush appears to be one of them. He's placed all of his trust, all of his decision-making and all of his responsibility on other people and other entities. He may have just changed one addiction for another. Power? God? His faith? His place in history? just asking...

As Robin Williams repeatedly says, "Reality! What a concept.



Source: thoughts based on a post in americablog.com today Daddy's men to the rescue, but same old Junior

07 November 2006

freedom...

This has been on a number of weblogs in the last couple of days. One more now...



can we get it back? can we stop it from being attacked? can we make the democracy work?

just asking...

05 November 2006

do those who scream the loudest...

have the most to hide?

just asking...

what's going on here (part V)...

Pastor Dismissed for ‘Sexually Immoral Conduct’

He said that he apologizes for his sexual transgressions. BUT, is he apologizing because they were egregious in the eyes of his religion, because he is a hypocrite, or because he got caught? just asking...

Sex Scandals Not Unusual For Prominent Christian Leaders

Yes, there is a long line of these transgressors: James Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Rev. Henry J. Lyons, Archbishop Eugene Marino, Rev. Terry Hornbuckle, Rev. Ted Haggard are the modern ones, but it goes back far longer. Popes, cardinals, archbishops, ministers.... [There has long been a story in my family of a great-great aunt who was the "housekeeper" for a prominent bishop or cardinal in southern Italy during the 19th century who had four children that lived in the manse with the bishop and her and who looked astonishingly like him.] So, why don't these transgressions meet the scandalous porportions in the eastern religions or more mainstream protestant religions like Anglicanism or Methodism? just asking...

Hypocrites?

David Frum thinks that it is better to be a transgressor than to be gay! Huh? In a nut, he proposes that men like Haggard who choose the "moral highground" of marrying, having children, preaching christian principles and encouraging people to live stable lives is more moral than a man who identifies his orientation and stands for his principles especially if they vilify traditional moral principles. Frum thinks that the former should be regarded as having a kind of virtue because he can seek forgiveness after slipping into sin through prayer. The latter is condemned forever because he will not see the error of his ways and does not ask forgiveness. Again - huh? Why would anyone ask forgiveness for being who they are? just asking...


Nazi 'master race' children meet

All right. Now this may be the answer to all the travails of the world: a group, designed by Hitler to bring about "Lebensborn" or "Font of Life" in order to identify, train and educate the future leaders of the empire. They have met in public for the very first time. Their goal is to support one another in their vilification and prejudice. They also mean to dispell the myth that the lebensbord were all blond hair and blue eyes. They included children from the countries the Nazis conquered. Does this mean that everyone is going to come out of the closet? just asking...


Kanye West Turns Whining Into An Art Form


"F--k this!" Kanye declared on the podium. "[My video for “Touch The Sky”] cost a million dollars, Pamela Anderson was in it, I was jumping across canyons and s--t! If I don't win, the awards show loses credibility. Nothing against you [J vs. S], but hell, man." O.K. Let me see if I get this right. Kanye West stormed out on stage at the MTV Europe Awards during the presentation of "Best Video" while winners Justice vs. Simian were at the microphone. He grabbed it and took MTVEurope to task for not giving the award to him because his video cost $1 million and Pamela Anderson was in the video. [It would have lost my vote right then and there.] So, I headed over to Veoh to watch the video. OMG! I should think that West would have wanted it buried. The song itself is horrid. It's bad rap, and that's difficult to say in the genre. Then I went and watched Justice vs. Simian's winning video "We Are Your Friends." Ain't much better, folks, but at least the music had a danceable beat to it. You be the judge. just asking...



or



Sources: New York Times, 365gay.com, National Review Online, BBC News, CB.com, veoh.com, youtube.com

what I'm reading...

I have this habit that I picked up from my father. It's called reading. He constantly had books, multiple books, that he was reading at the same time. I do the same thing. I can be reading anywhere from 5 - 10 books in the process of reading at any one moment.

Here is the current list. It kind of speaks to where my head is from time to time. Some of them have been in process for a while others I recently picked up.


In process:

The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It; How to Get It Back by Andrew Sullivan



The War of the World by Niall Ferguson



Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman



The One-Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind



Evolution's Rainbow : Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People by Joan Roughgarden


Just finished:

When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin D. Yalom


Waiting in the wings:

Teacher Man: A Memoir by Frank McCourt



And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey by Studs Terkel


And in process for a long period of time:

Autobiographie Erotique by Bruce Benderson. [I bought this in Paris a year or so ago in it's original French. It hadn't been translated into English yet even though Benderson is from New York. It's slow going for me because of all the idiomatic language and colloquilisms. Even though it's now in English, entitled The Romanian: Story of an Obsession, I refuse to get it until I finish the original French.]


This list is in no way complete. there are piles of books all over the house. These are the ones in reach and current. I have others that I'll get around to eventually.

Reading is the most important thing anyone can do. It is the source of not only information but of pleasure, wisdom, riches, and position. I have been dedicated to teaching reading all of my professional life. When a kid can read, a kid can be/do anything he/she wants to be. If you have children, read to them every day. If you know children, buy them books that will last forever. If you have time, volunteer for a Literacy Program to give someone the gift you already have. It can change a life. Two lives - yours and theirs.

What do you have to loose?

just asking...

04 November 2006

almost full circle...

Most of the time you read about celebrities making statements in the press denying and trying to extinguish rumors that they are gay. Neil Patrick Harris, on the other hand, had to put the kabosh on his being straight:

Actor Neil Patrick Harris Says He Is Gay
By Associated Press

Sat Nov 4, 2:01 AM

br-2286
Aug. 19, 2006 file photo

LOS ANGELES - Neil Patrick Harris is gay and wants to quell any rumors to the contrary. "(I) am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest," Harris tells People magazine's Web site.

The 33-year-old actor said he was motivated to disclose his sexuality because of recent "speculation and interest in my private life and relationships."

Harris stars on the CBS comedy "How I Met Your Mother." He started on TV as a teen, playing the namesake doctor on the series "Doogie Howser, M.D."
Source: comcast.net Entertainment


Well, now. The most avid denialist of gay rumors is probably Tom Cruise. He has sued people alleging if it's true or if isn't that they have had experience with him. I don't think that I believe that they did because they never say how good or bad he is in bed. One would think that this would grab bigger headlines and be news rather than the "he said/she said" content in the tabloids. [Personally, I could give two s****s if TC is gay or not. Except for playing Lestat in Interview with a Vampire I've never been impressed with his abilities. Event with "Interview" it was because he played Lestat as I had read him in the books.]

But, here we have Neil Patrick Harris who, after an article saying that he is straight, going out of his way to say that he is "proud" to say that he is a "content" gay man.

This does not bode well for the wing-nut christianists. Next thing you know, Rosie will be denying that she's from New Jersey. Oh, wait, she's from Long Island. Sorry, Rosie.

What's the world coming to?

just asking...