Friday, January 30, 2009

Libya, here I come

Global hotspots join the race for tourists:
MADRID (AFP) — Rogue states better known for their repressive regimes, political unrest and weapons programmes are increasingly competing for visitors with well established tourist destinations, travel experts say.
The trend is underscored at the Fitur travel fair which got underway Wednesday in Madrid as Myanmar -- which has been ruled with an iron fist by a military government since 1962 -- is taking part for the first time.
Among the other global hotspots represented at the event, one of Europe's largest and most important travel fairs, is the Palestinian territories, Libya, Zimbabwe and Iran, whose nuclear ambitions are the subject of deep suspicion in Washington and many other world capitals.
Tony Wheeler, the co-founder of the popular Lonely Planet travel guides who recently published a book on his travels to nine rogue nations he labelled "bad lands", told AFP the trend reflects travelers' growing desire to visit places few others have been to before.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sweet Crime!

Who almost wouldn't mind being arrested for that?

I have a better idea.

In an interview on CBS's "The Early Show," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged Republican legislators' criticism over money in the proposed federal stimulus package being set aside for "favored Democratic Programs" like education and Medicare.

Would it not be better if we gave more money to the big shot money guys who are hanging onto those billions they just got handed, or who aren't accounting for where they are putting the taxpayers' money- or debt, rather- while jacking up interest rates on credit cards by as much as 20 percent, even for their best long-time customers?

No wonder I have a headache and want to kill the world.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'll Bet He Does

Chuck Grassley knows it when he sees it.

The “it,” of course, is pornography. And Grassley has seen it deep in a demurely titled section of a report from the National Science Foundation — a report that says NSF employees have been spending significant amounts of company time on smut sites and in other explicit pursuits.

Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, on Tuesday fired off a letter to the NSF’s inspector general requesting all documents related to the “numerous reports” and seven investigations into “Abuse of NSF IT Resources” cited in the foundation’s 68-page semiannual report.

Despite the less-than-lurid sound of the probes, the employees in question weren’t just logging onto their Facebook accounts or buying birthday gifts on The report says they were watching, downloading and e-mailing porn, sometimes for significant portions of their workdays, and over periods of months or even years.

In one particularly egregious case, the report says one NSF “senior official” was discovered to have spent as much as 20 percent of his working hours over a two-year interval “viewing sexually explicit images and engaging in sexually explicit online ‘chats’ with various women.”

Investigators calculated the value of the time lost at more than $58,000 — for that employee alone.


Crap; if I were working for the federal government, I'd want some entertainment, too. $58,000 for one employee alone, over the years? Compared with the wasteful spending we've seen elsewhere over the past 8 years, and the stuff left in place that will carry the miserable legacy onward? And really, Mr. Grassley, what bigger issues are you deflecting from the Finance Committee? Look at this guy's face. He's probably jealous that other people are getting it, at least somewhere...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pork Chops?

Mi cunada sent an e-mail with this and other pics in it this morning. It's a story about a tigress who lost her cubs because they were premature and got all depressed, so the zoo people provided surrogates. Sweet. (I've seen tigers in zoos and thought they had reason enough already to be depressed. Oh well.) The best is the little backwards piglet- nap? That's crap. Feed me.
This is all I have today; homework is kicking my arse again.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ha! Take That, Mr. Bush.

General says Marines can pull out of Iraq within months
By Megan Scully CongressDaily January 23, 2009

Marine Corps Commandant James Conway said Friday that the time is right to pull the force of roughly 23,000 Marines out of Iraq, a task he estimated could be done in months.

"We've been steadily removing equipment from theater on a not-as-needed basis and we've been fairly successful doing that," the four-star general said. "So, the timeline, we think today, is down to six to eight months to get the rest of our equipment out of Iraq."

The Marines' departure from Iraq would coincide with plans to augment U.S. forces in Afghanistan, where Conway said he feels Marines could quell a growing insurgency. The mission in Iraq, Conway said, is largely focused on nation building.

"Where you have a nation-building effort essentially taking place ... and a building fight taking place in another locale, that's really where Marines" belong, Conway said.

The Obama administration has not finalized its strategy for Afghanistan, but Conway said he expects decisions soon. "With the speed in which we see other decisions being made, I think it's fair to say that it won't be long before we think that we have a plan," he said, adding later that President Obama may meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on defense issues next week. Conway made it clear he does not want to maintain a residual Marine Corps force in Iraq because doing so would stress his heavily deployed force.

"We are asking that ... when the door slams on Marines in Iraq that all Marines be on the other side of the door," he said. "We don't want to leave and have our training teams and our border transition teams and other Marines involved with Iraq at that point because, once again, it's not what we do and, secondly, we need those Marines elsewhere." The only exception may be some Marines training and advising the Iraqi military, Conway said.

Meanwhile, Conway said he hopes to send no more than 20,000 additional Marines to Afghanistan. A larger force would hinder the service's efforts to increase time between seven-month deployments to 14 months to give troops more time with their families and also for amphibious, mountain and cold-weather training exercises that have fallen by the wayside during the last several years at war, Conway said.

Jason finally has his blog up and running. It is called, most appropriately, Fussing and Fighting, and can be found at Blogspot is better. Jason, where the hell even are you? No profile? Is it really you? Nice photo though: the books. Better than jammies and slippers on campus, and all the slouchy shite that comes along with that.

Anyway, check out the blog, support the Luddite.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pictures Speak Louder than Words?

Yow; check out this post from Rupee News:
Palestine and Germany
Israel’s Treatment of Palestinians Contrasted with the Holocaust
From a Reader – January 22, 2009
The photos on the left were taken during World War Two and show the Nazi’s treatment of captive Jews. While the photos on the right illustrate the chilling parallels to be found in modern Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. All of which may explain why the Zionists take such offence when compared to Nazis, the similarities are too obvious to ignore and give a new dimension to the label “Zio-Nazi”.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just in Time for Sunday Worship!

Pope Launches YouTube Channel

Mark Sweney, Friday 23 January 2009

The Pope has officially embraced the digital world as the Vatican unveils a new YouTube video channel, featuring clips of the day-to-day activities and messages from the head of the Catholic church.

The new channel, unveiled today at the press room of the Holy See, aims to "help establish relationships with Catholics from around the world" by broadcasting short video news clips on the Pope's activities and events at the Vatican.

Father Federico Lombardi, director of the press room, television centre and Vatican Radio, said that the YouTube channel was a "real and tangible example of the Church's commitment in the field of new technologies, to reach out to a global audience without regard for nationality or culture".

In a press statement, the Catholic church said that despite its "ancient roots" it remained "convinced of its ability to express words that are still important and relevant in today's world, using language and communications technologies of today's world".

The Vatican YouTube channel is expected to help establish relationships with Catholics from around the world, who will have easier access to updated information, as well as with people of different beliefs or religions.

The channel, which will run audio and text in English, Spanish, German and Italian, launches today with clips of Pope Benedict XVI, such as the Christmas message and blessing and the 1 January celebration of World Peace Day.

It will also have a clip of the Pope talking about new technologies in social communication, the theme he has chosen for this year's Catholic Church World Social Communication Day.
"YouTube is a communications platform open to all, where users, institutions and content producers come together in a global meeting place," said Henrique de Castro, managing director of European sales and media solutions at YouTube.

"We are honoured that the Vatican has chosen to use the site to communicate with people across the world, and delighted that our community will have access to the words of the Pope on some of the most important issues facing the world today."
What is with his face looking all like a beet?

Friday, January 23, 2009

What's This Dead Pakistani Doing on My Couch?

I woke up about half an hour ago, just as I was sitting down to a huge Christmas feast in some fancy big old hotel. It smelled so good, too, and my Mom and I were talking about stove biscuits. I thought she'd made them when I was a kid, but she insisted she had done the kind you hang up in the air. Whatever that means... they get fluffier up there? So, the FFM ought to be pleased I was having a dream about hanging out in a nice place having a pleasant time with my Mom. And there were cookies in the dream- my homemade, several kinds. But, I woke up.

Earlier, I woke up from a dream in which I had figured out how to get the quarters out of a vending machine- one of those old ones that takes your change but doesn't give you credit for it and then won't spit it out for you when you pull down on the "return" lever, and it won't give you your candy item either? Well, I was walking around with eight bucks and some in change, mostly quarters, filling up and weighing down my pants pocket. That was pretty sweet. I figured in the dream that enough people had lost their money in that machine that I might as well take every quarter I could get my hands on and buy some candy and hand it around.

Anyway, on to the real world:

From the BBC:
Underwater ironing, a cow in a car, an alpaca in a pub and the Presidential lookalike.
It's the week's weird and wonderful video stories in Newsbeat's Odd Box -- with Dominic Byrne.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bruce Cockburn. World of Wonders

Thanks, Uncy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Those Dang Chinese...

...always ahead of everyone else:

When rich speculators prosper
while farmers lose their land;
when government officials spend money
on weapons instead of cures;
when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible
while the poor have nowhere to turn-
all this is robbery and chaos.

When on the radio this morning, I heard that one of PRESIDENT Obama's first acts in his new role was to put a stop on all pending federal regulations until his administration has a chance to review them, I swear I got butterflies. Last night I told the FFM that all the parties and excitement yesterday were just that, parties, and it didn't seem real yet, wouldn't until he had got up this morning and put on his suit and gone to work. Wow; it's real.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Day at the Opera

More Bill Cope:
Now for the bad news: The opera, Der Decidermeister, will be presented in its entirety only in the online version of Boise Weekly.

And here's why: As it's only been three weeks since I decided to do this in time for Bush's last day in the White House, the paper was unprepared to present an entire opera on these pages. It's not their fault. Had I warned them well ahead of time—eight years ago, or even six months—that an opera was headed their way, they would have made certain there were an extra 10 pages or so on which it might fit.

Sadly, 10 (or so) spare pages are hard to come by in the current newspaper market—especially in January. You see, advertisers generally take a break in January. They wear themselves to a frazzle during the holidays, advertising away like their survival depended on it, then during January, they kick back and chill. And since it is advertising that determines how many pages a newspaper will contain when it comes out, January is slim pickings for the newspaper biz, even if the economy is tearing along like a brand new brass locomotive. Which it ain't.

But, since online pages are free, there is plenty of room at for my opera. If in last week's column, I got your hopes all up and stuff that this morning, you would be able to dunk your favorite biscotti into your favorite commercially prepared mug of French roast at your favorite retail coffee dispensary, all while enjoying a mellifluous singalong of Der Decidermeister, I apologize. It just didn't work out.

But what I can do for the remaining few column inches is give you a taste of what you're in for should you surf on over to our Web site—let me repeat:—and click up the opera. I give you an excerpt, a tease ... an opera trailer, if you will ... in hopes to draw you in.
Curtain rises on George Bush as a young man in his Texas Air Guard uniform, cavorting with a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a tightly rolled 20-dollar bill in the other. He sings (tune of "I'm Just A Girl Who Can't Say No"):
I'm just an aimless rich boy drunk,
skating on Daddy's good name.
At heart I'm nothing but a punk,
playing a fake grown-up game.
George puts on mortar board with tassel dangling in his face.
I pretend I am a Yalie, learning
biz-nuss stuff.
But even my "C" av-er-age is com-
pli-men-t'ry fluff.
I didn't learn a damn thing but how
to tap a keg, you see?
I only got to Yale because I was
a leg-a-cy.
Repeat refrain and trade mortar board for a flight helmet.
I pretend that I'm a pilot, training
for Veet Naaam
But no way I'm really going there,
'cause I'm a gonna scram.
Trades flight helmet for a Texas Rangers baseball cap.
I pretend I am a C-E-O,
but everything I own
goes promptly down the crapper;
I can't count the deals I've blown.

That's all I can give you at present, opera lovers. Now get on over to for the whole thing from start to fini. And remember to switch your cell phones to vibrate.

=== This was meant for Inauguration Day, which it is, but you won't get to it before at least tomorrow because there is way more important stuff going on.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It's the Final Countdown.

I love this, by Bill Cope; I mean, that it actually came from Idaho:

Eight years ago, a person I argued politics with on a regular basis showed me an essay she'd written to express her delight that Bill Clinton—utterly loathsome in her eyes—was being replaced by George Bush, a man she seemed to think represented the best our country had to offer. She titled it "Feels like America Again," and she showed it to me because she had hopes of being a writer and wanted to know what I thought of her effort. Style, tone, clarity, zing level ...

...It was written well, and I told her so. I also told her, if not in so many words, that you can write something well—even remarkably well—and still have your head up your ass. But she ignored that admonition and continued to applaud Bush's every move for as long as I had contact with her, which ended four or five years ago.

I bring it up because, as a lingering result of having read that essay, I have spent these eight years wondering what I would write when Bush finally left the White House. Especially after the full horror of what he has done became increasingly clear, I wanted it to be something extraordinary. But what does one say to sufficiently commemorate the shuffling off of the worst excuse for a human being to squat in the Oval Office in modern times?

I have concluded that one column simply isn't enough. Hence, I have dedicated today's entry along with the next two weeks, ending on the day after Barack Obama's inauguration, to saying a proper farewell to Dubya. That's right ... a three-parter. And get this ... the second installment will be (if the logistics can be arranged with Boise Weekly) an opera. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, an opera. I am wavering between what to call it—either Il Bushliacci, Cosi Fan Georgie, or Der Decidermeister—but I assure you it will have everything a proper opera must have. Except, of course, for an orchestra, staging, singers and music.

Now, if you feel I am giving the man more attention than he deserves, remember that this moment will never come again. Within another month, he will sink back into the mud of mediocrity from which he emerged, leaving nothing but a ruined economy, a devastated federal structure, an endangered biosphere, two failing wars, an ocean of debt and an indeterminable number of corpses behind to remind us he was ever here.

Read the whole thing here:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

African Laxative

Oh, crap!
Compliments of Mike Lockhart, whose "retirement" clearly is more entertaining than work was.
I bet she'll use that TP before she gets up and leaves, too.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Small on Awareness, Big on Excuses

A notion of character, not so much discredited as simply forgotten, once held that people only came into themselves partway through their lives. They woke up, were they lucky enough to have consciousness, in the act of doing something they already knew how to do: feeding themselves with currants. Walking the dog. Knotting up a broken bootlace. Singing antiphonally in the choir. Suddenly: This is I, I am the girl singing this alto line off-key, I am the boy loping after the dog, and I can see myself doing it as, presumably, the dog cannot see itself. How peculiar! I lift on my toes at the end of the dock, to dive into the lake because I am hot, and while isolated like a specimen in the glassy slide of summer, the notions of hot and lake and I converge into a consciousness of consciousness-- in an instant, in between the launch and landing, even before I cannonball into the lake, shattering both my reflection and my old notion of myself.
That's what was once believed. Now, it seems hardly to matter when and how we become ourselves-- or even what we become. Theory chases theory about how we are composed. The only constant: the adjuration of personal responsibility.

We are the next thing the Time Dragon is dreaming, and nothing to be done about it.

We are the fanciful sketch of the wry Lurline, we are droll and ornamental, and no more culpable than a sprig of lavender or a sprig of lightning, and nothing to be done about it.
We are an experiment in situation ethics set by the Unnamed God, which in keeping its identity secret also cloaks the scope of the experiment and our chances of success or failure at it-- an nothing to be done about it.

We are loping sequences of chemical conversions, acting ourselves converted. We are twists of genes acting ourselves twisted, we are wicks of burning neuroses acting ourselves wicked. And nothing to be done about it. And nothing to be done about it.
Introduction to "The Service," part two of Gregory Maguire's Son of A Wich.
There it is. I wish I could say such things as well.

Speaking of not taking personal responsibility- whether or not people are particularly aware- I had a humorous if frustrating conversation with an employee at CitiCorp yesterday. I would urge everyone else out there to do as I am doing, which is to not do business with that giant fumbling corporation ever again. It's run- not managed, clearly- by people who seek only to benefit themselves and don't spare the expense of others in doing so. Let them all burn. Figuratively, of course, as always, in the flames of their self-destruction.

And finally, before I go back to letting my homework kick my arse, I don't get this connection: people build homes- not houses, necessarily, but homes- over the course of years, with familial and community ties, as well as the material possessions they need (clothing, food, a roof over their heads and perhaps some insulation in the walls if in a colder climate) and even want, or that people have given them over time- gifts of sentimental value. Suddenly, along comes a raging fire that destroys everything- thankfully, at least while they are away so they survive physically unscathed; or a hurricane that kicks them out of town, only to return to a soggy mess of practically nothing.

These people stand next to those who take financial risks, knowingly (and if not knowingly, then they are riskier even), with their spare cash, in hopes that they will have a sweet sweet nest egg, or preferably become rich, and then the man to whom they entrusted that money, they learn- too late? maybe...) is a cheater and was cheating them out of their hard-invested cash.

And the connection is..?
Give me a break, NPR.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Son of a Witch; Why Am I Up So Early?

I woke up this morning, way early even though the FFM wasn't even here, but that's a good thing because I fell asleep reading my homework last night... anyway, thinking about aging. I don't know quite how it happened, but I think it started with my realization that I just really don't, apparently, require 8 hours of sleep to feel decent any more, as one change in my own life recently. But that I definitely need TIME to get around in the morning. I used to be able to jump out of bed at 5AM and shower and do little household things and be at work by 6. This week I'm having trouble getting used to the fact again that I have to be in a classroom AT 9AM or I'm being a jerk walking in late and interrupting other people's education, including my own. At first, when I started to become resentful of having to be in a classroom to teach at 8:30, I thought it was a growing natural urge to not do what people want me to do. Now I think really my body doesn't want me to do it, too.

Then I thought about how Greg was in a lot of pain yesterday with rheumatoid arthritis, using a cane to walk, and how I called him "old man" even though he's not that much older than I am, and in fact should be healthier now that he's quit smoking and has kept his weight down, and that you just never know.

And that made me think about how I've put on an extra few pounds over the past several months and would like to lose about 5 of it, but there is no way I'm going to get to the gym to start running again this week. But that's OK because I am aware and have a plan and have started to work on it, being more careful about what- and how much- I eat (except last night at potluck because there was a giant amazing feast laid out before me and colorful Fiestaware plates on which to put it.)

And then I had this moment of realization: We extroverts receive our connection to the world mostly through the environment outside ourselves, and that input and feedback is really meaningful in how we establish who we are in the wider milieu. So, it makes a big difference whether someone says, "Well, remember you are getting older so your metabolism is slowing down" (as the FFM did, graciously, when I brought up the extra pounds, or, "Wow, you're getting pretty chubby," similar words I have heard in reference to myself and which are not helpful, frankly.)

I used to think there was something wrong with me that I am so sensitive to and affected by the things people do and say around and to me, but really that's just the way I process the world, and it's fine. Just like you people who pretend shite doesn't bug you because other people's words and actions don't matter- because you're tough and independent. (Maybe you're just introverts, and that's fine, too.)

I've been told I am "too sensitive." I've also been told I am "highly sensitive" and an "ESP" (Extra Sensitive Person; yeah, that's a label you can find in some of those new age self-development books.) While that's a matter of perspective, you can see who says what is going to either turn me off or piss me off, or make me feel like the other person actually understands me. Big difference.

So, why did I just blab all that? I don't know; maybe I didn't get enough sleep after all, and maybe getting up earlier isn't going to suit me, now that I'm older.

Anyway, thanks, FFM, for not being a dick about those few extra pounds I'm carrying, and for all of you out there, I'm letting you know it's still going to drive me nuts that people don't behave the way I, um, would like them to, by being what I consider kinder to each other. I have yet to learn the lesson of disappointment.

On that note, I'll follow this up with a quote from Gregory MaGuire's Son of a Witch tomorrow, that I read to Barry and the FFM this weekend. If you have not read any of this man's books, check them out. I love him! But now, off to school.

Monday, January 12, 2009


We looked at Banksy on fatcap; at the Denver Art Museum Saturday I checked out a book on street art that had amazing images by him and Arofish both. Anti-war. Palestine. It's all I can say about that war today without making it an insufferable rant.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Great Divide

Last night I was reading the latest National Geographic, and I ran across an ad for the Aspen Environment Forum, coming up in March and cohosted by Geographic and the Aspen Institute. Because I am excited to go back to school and pursue this reclamation and restoration ecology thing, I checked out the website, thinking, "It's not too far; I could go."

Right. The lowest price available for attending is $1500, which I could pay as a student. Wait; what I mean is, since I am a student, that is what I would be expected to pay to register. That is way way different from what I "could" pay. As a student. As a member of "the public," who have been invited to participate. Another injustice. Another allusion to the existing divide between those who have the name, the connection or THE MONEY to participate in such opportunities, or to use their knowledge and skills to work for a cause, or to lead in a situation.

So, I wrote a letter and e-mailed it right away, while the indignation was still fresh and the words were flowing to describe the circumstance. Then when I woke up this morning, I thought about the hate mail Richard Dawkins has received, and reads on video, from the Christian Wrong. Of course, my letter was not "hate mail-" just a wake-up call- but I wondered how the person receiving would respond. I wanted to laugh but was afraid Jenny Slippers might be home downstairs and wake up and get irritated because it was about 4:30 in the morning. (If you haven't checked out Dawkins reading his hate mail, do so on Youtube. It's great fun.)

Anyway, so that's my gripe- for today- peeps. Yesterday, Katie asked me what the hell I meant in an e-mail to her about people being responsible for each other; aren't we just supposed to be responsible for ourselves? She needed more detail, so I provided it, and now she gets it. Come on, yeah, of course we are supposed to be responsible for ourselves. That's the point. And in so doing, I figure we ought to keep the old Golden Rule in mind. Remember that? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Why do people forget that, or just blatantly ignore it, and do crap like make a forum that "the public" is supposed to be invited to participate in, exhorbitantly priced so that only the people who have been invited, who have an in, who have cash, can really attend? And then, I wonder, will these people act on their "intellectual discussions," or will they just regurgitate to each other, preach to the choir, then get in their SUVs and drive back to their fancy homes and life as usual? Really. Some of the people who had been invited to speak and who had accepted before being called to the Obama Administration... crap! I'd like to have a conversation with these people. Just because I'm not rich doesn't mean I'm stupid. In fact...

Ah, forget it. Hey, if you can afford to go, do it. Or if you want to donate some cash so I can go, SWEET! I promise I'll bring back the goods.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Ultimate Psychic Battle and Brain Melt

For really intense dudes only

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Whose Conspiracy?

OK, so yesterday I am doing the dishes from the weekend, and suddenly I hear a "crack" in the pan and feel an intense sharp pain in my finger; my Aubergine House mug handle has broken off the cup and stabbed me in the right middle finger and sliced a huge gaping wound with blood and flesh pouring out. Those of you who know me will understand the gravity, as I am sitting at the table now, Wednesday morning, still not having been able to finish washing dishes leftover from the weekend. Tragic. The top of my finger is protuding from two bandaids like a hot cocktail sausage. I don't dare to take the bandages off because last night after Gift Reject Potluck when I did that to try to clean the wound up a little, the dark red liquid that normally resides in my body began spewing out again immediately, and water on the fresh flesh made me scream and feel like fainting.

Am I overreacting here? I'm the one in pain- emotional and physical; let me decide. Really, who doesn't want me to be in Aubergine House in 2012- or 2016 if Mr. Obama makes it two terms? Is it the Japanese people who made the mug? Did my VP candidate, who sent the mug, betray me? Did some Laramie Republican sneak into my house and make a little crack that would easily break as soon as the mug hit the dishwater and contacted my finger? Or some Laramie Democrat, even? (Because Laramie is one of the few places in Wyoming that actually has Democrats for residents, in any number, or who dare to vocalize. For crying out loud; this state produced a worse showing for Obama than even Utah, proportionally.)

So, you see how this issue is overriding my joy at how easy it was, once I got word, to register for classes and sign off on financial matters yesterday afternoon, and how lacking in trauma it was for me to accept the words of Lord Tim MacFlesh Renter when he told me to suck it up and get XP for my laptop because Vista really does indeed suck as far as compatibility with hard drives. (RobRohrTM, I don't know what system you've got set up there, but you are the only person I know who has touted the value of that nasty software, and I doubt Ray Ozzie's plans to reinvigorate Microsoft and redeem the company with those of us who want Bill Gates to go down in flames- not real flames, but the proverbial ones, of course.)

Who knows? Maybe the QLink my sister sent me really is working its charms and making me mellower than usual. Often after the FFM leaves at an ungodly hour in the morning, I stay awake thinking. It's normal; that's a time I generally wake up anyway, whether or not he is getting up to go to work. So, this morning I lay there listening to the wind gather and explode in insanely powerful gusts outside, like massive swells on the ocean breaking and crashing on rocks, and I wondered what forces really are at work producing these insufferably windy winters we've had for a couple years now, and why Israelis and Palestinians won't just get along and live together. (Don't think I'm being naive here; this is a subject I've considered long and hard from several angles, including biblically, historically and politically, unlike people like, say Bush and his team did in Iraq. The bottom line is that there isn't a whole lot of humanity exuding itself over there, huh?) And whether I could remember to contact people at SER about my interdisciplinary PhD idea today, or whether I will even be able to perform in three hard sciences classes at once. But I wasn't worried.

And then I started thinking, like I have been lately, that sometimes when life is rolling along so easily, as it is presently for me, people ought to wonder when the next big trouble will assault them from behind, in the back of the head with a sharp hatchet. Or maybe not.

Here's some cool stuff from Orion mag. It's an article and slide show called "Human/Nature." Sometimes I think Orion goes too far with the sentimentality vs. the action, but occasionally there's a gem in there.

Whattaya think?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Question of the Day

Thanks to the cool peeps I don't even know, who have been reading and commenting. It's what this thing was set to be about.

I got exciting- because it had been years- but disturbing- because she'd suffered some serious trauma, e-mail from a former neighbor, Freddy, and I'm wondering, do we subconsciously manifest our expectations?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Popeye vs. Israel's Torment on the Gaza Strip

Popeye wins.

Popeye the Sailor copyright free 70 years after Elzie Segar's death
From The Times
December 30, 2008
Adam Sherwin
“I yam what I yam,” declared Popeye. And just what that is is likely to become less clear as the copyright expires on the character who generates about £1.5 billion in annual sales.
From January 1, the iconic sailor falls into the public domain in Britain under an EU law that restricts the rights of authors to 70 years after their death. Elzie Segar, the Illinois artist who created Popeye, his love interest Olive Oyl and nemesis Bluto, died in 1938.
The Popeye industry stretches from books, toys and action figures to computer games, a fast-food chain and the inevitable canned spinach.
The copyright expiry means that, from Thursday, anyone can print and sell Popeye posters, T-shirts and even create new comic strips, without the need for authorisation or to make royalty payments. Popeye became a Depression-era hero soon after he first appeared in the 1929 comic strip, Thimble Theatre. Segar drew Popeye as a “working-class Joe” who suffered torment from Bluto — sometimes known as Brutus — until he “can't stands it no more”. Wolfing down spinach turned Popeye into a pumped-up everyman hero, making the case for good over evil.
Popeye the Sailor made his screen debut in 1933. According to a poll of cinema managers, he was more popular than Mickey Mouse by the end of the Thirties.
During wartime, the Popeye tattoo was etched on thousands of soldiers and sailors, who aligned themselves with his good-hearted belligerence.
The question of whether any enterprising food company can now attach Popeye's famous face to their spinach cans will have to be tested in court.
While the copyright is about to expire inside the EU, the character is protected in the US until 2024. US law protects a work for 95 years after its initial copyright.
The Popeye trademark, a separate entity to Segar's authorial copyright, is owned by King Features, a subsidiary of the Hearst Corporation — the US entertainment giant — which is expected to protect its brand aggressively.
Mark Owen, an intellectual property specialist at the law firm Harbottle & Lewis, said: “The Segar drawings are out of copyright, so anyone could put those on T-shirts, posters and cards and create a thriving business. If you sold a Popeye toy or Popeye spinach can, you could be infringing the trademark.”
Mr Owen added: “Popeye is one of the first of the famous 20th-century cartoon characters to fall out of copyright. Betty Boop and ultimately Mickey Mouse will follow.”
Segar's premature death, aged 43, means that Popeye is an early test case for cartoon characters. The earliest Mickey Mouse cartoons will not fall into the US public domain until at least 2023 after the Disney corporation successfully lobbied Congress for a copyright extension.

Friday, January 2, 2009

What the Hell, Mr. McConnell?

Was Mr. Bush standing over all you Republicans with a live cattle prod when you signed onto giving away hundreds of billions of us taxpayers' money (in theory)- and years of debt left to our next generations- to a bunch of crooked bankers and other big business people to do with as they wish- with no accountability to those of us who are footing the bill? And now you want to balk because King George will no longer be in a position to wield an enormously disproportionate amount of power over the citizenry?

You do not represent the majority of your constituents, and you don't give two shites about the common good. You should be ashamed.

Republicans threaten to delay stimulus
By Andrew Ward in Washington
“We should have a simple test: will the yet-unwritten, reportedly trillion-dollar spending bill really create jobs and grow the economy – or will it simply create more government spending, more bureaucrats and deeper deficits?” said Mr McConnell.

As Senate minority leader, Mr McConnell will become the most powerful Republican in Washington after President George W. Bush leaves office, at a time when the party is struggling to agree a new direction.

Many Republicans are eager to reassert the party’s fiscal conservative principles, which were tarnished by the Bush administration’s heavy deficit spending even before recent bail-outs for the financial and car sectors.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Time Lapse Videos

Pretty Sweet:

One Year in 40 Seconds

The Sky in Motion