Sunday, July 31, 2005

Hoot Mon!

Ettrickbridge, Borders.
about 6 miles from the farm my family left in 1680

Off to Scotland for two weeks.

First to Glasgow for 6 days at
the World Science Fiction Convention.
Then 4 days at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
And on the way back, thanks to airline hubs,
3 days in Amsterdam.

I'm sure you all share my pain.

I will try to blog the Hugo Awards Ceremony on Saturday.

I will have many photos and stories on return.

Strip Search

from Kolchak:

The Web may be the cutting edge of mass media, but there are times when it definitely has a retro look. I like the way that the Web has sparked new interest in seemingly lost diversions, such as journaling and comic strips.

Some established strips have their own sites, while others can be found on sites operated by the syndicates that own them. In a few cases, strips that I thought were defunct proved to be still active. If you go to, you can read a recent Flash Gordon Sunday strip, written and drawn by Jim Keefe. Only one strip is available to casual visitors, though, and that strip comes from the first week of the previous month.

Along with the strips that can also be found in newspapers, there are comic strips that are available only on the Web.

Not surprisingly, the Internet gives the creators ofthese strips more freedom in subject matter and formats than they would have, if they were aiming for a spot on a family-friendly comics page. Some creators are using this freedom to model their strips after the classic Sunday strips of the 1930s, and ‘40s, providing more story and more detailed art than you can find in a modern strip, where two or three panels each week are designed to be jettisoned.

Because these strips are labors of love, they are updated according to varying schedules, although these schedules can sometimes turn into Whenever I Get a Chance.

Here are a few original webstrips that you might want to check out; if you want to recommend a strip, just let us know:

  • Fans of the original Dick Van Dyke show--and fans in general-- will appreciate the set-up of Greystone Inn , written and drawn by Brad J. Guigar. This series is about the backstage antics at a comic strip called (you guessed it) Greystone Inn. In this world, though, strips are produced like television shows, with actors, directors and writers. The star of Greystone Inn-- both versions, in fact--is a rowdy gargoyle named Argus. When the strip was launched in 2000, Mel Cooley--Richard Deacon’s character from The Dick Van Dyke Show-- was the producer but he soon left to take over Blondie. ARGUS: Good Lord, man! What is she--70? 80 years old? COOLEY: And she’s still got it!
    This arrangement gives Guigar the freedom to mix and match elements from pop culture, such as introducing a zombified Nancy and having one of his regulars team up with Godzilla for a stand-up comedy act.
    Access to the web site is free. As of late July, there is no archive of older strips, but paperback collections of Greystone Inn are on sale.
  • For another sort of workplace comedy, take a look at Midnight Macabre, another free site. The main character in this strip is a stand-up comic who has been hired to host horror movies at a very eccentric UHF station. Midnight Macabre is written and drawn by R.K. Milholland.
  • Supernatural Crime features
    both strips and text stories, set in the dark and dangerous city of Port Nocturne. Fighting the forces of evil though are pulp-style stalwarts like the mysterious woman known only as the Blonde and the dark avenger called Brother Grim. Other pulp archetypes who live in Port Nocturne are hard-boiled detective Red Nales; gentleman adventurer Dean Paladyn (also known as the Peregrine) and Rod Riley, a police detective with a yellow overcoat and a jaw line that will look familiar to those of you who remember Dick Tracy. The stories set in the world of Port Nocturne come from Christopher Mills and Ron Fortier, comic book veterans with a taste for old-school pulp action. The art is provided by other veterans: Joe Staton, Del Barral and Dario Carrasco. (Along with the adventures in Port Nocturne, the archives include unrelated stories--both graphic and text--by Mills, with art by Darren Goodheart and Fred Harper.) Access to everything in Supernatural Crime is free.
  • Another pulp icon is invoked at Tom Floyd’s Captain Spectre and the Lightning Legion. Thisstrip follows young Jim Moore as he discovers that Captain Spectre, a Doc Savage-like figure appearing on radio and in magazines, is, in fact, real. In addition to the strips, Floyd has created some clever extras, including a poster advertising Captain Spectre’s radio show and a downloadable membership card (So you too can join the Lightning Legion!) The only thing missing is a decoder ring.
  • Ted Slampyak’s Jazz Age also has a pulp feel to it, but there’s quite a bit of humor too, mostly coming from the interaction between the main characters, straight-laced Professor Clifton Jennings and the perpetually rumpled “Ace” Mifflin. Jennings and Mifflin are agents of a secret society that fight various supernatural menaces around the world. Along with being entertaining stories, Slampyak has done considerable research on Boston in the late 1920s and early ‘30s, where his heroes are based, and it shows in the artwork.
    Jazz Age recently moved to the Graphic Smash website, which hosts a number of strips. At Graphic Smash, the current installment of each strip can be viewed for free, but access to the archives requires a $2.95/month subscription.
  • Speaking of humor Realm of Atland, written and drawn by Nate Piekos, is a funny fantasy adventure strip--the main character is a barbarian called Barry the Brave-- which boasts world-building that some serious fantasy authors would envy. Full access here is also free.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Poem of the Day

I Saw the News Today by Loyal F Ramsey

On the screen the words read
A FATHER BEAT his 3 year old SON to DEATH because he THOUGHT he might be GAY.
I'm still trying to grasp these words.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.

The words don't parse even when I type them myself.

Father: v. tr.
  • To be the male parent.
  • To create
  • To acknowledge responsibility for.
Father: n.
  • A man who begets or raises or nurtures a child.
I cry for this child I did not father and know that it means nothing.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.

Beat: v. tr.
  • To strike repeatedly.
  • To subject to repeated beatings or physical abuse; batter.
  • To punish by hitting or whipping; flog.
  • To strike against repeatedly and with force; pound:.
  • To shape or break by repeated blows;
  • To make by pounding or trampling:
  • To defeat or subdue
Beat: n.
  • A stroke or blow, especially one that serves as a signal.
  • A pulsation
  • A throb.
  • The sound of the human heart
How can this be counted as human?

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.

Son: n.
  • One's male child.
How could one so damage one's own?.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.

Death: n.
  • The termination of life
  • The state of being dead
  • Bloodshed
  • Murder
  • Termination
  • Extinction
  • Execution.
How could the progenitor so quickly become the executioner?

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.

Thought: n.
  • The action of thinking
  • Cogitation
  • Consideration
  • Reasoning
  • Intention
  • Plan
Do you think this father planned to kill?

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.

Gay: adj.
  • Showing or characterized by cheerfulness and lighthearted excitement
  • Bright or lively
Gay: n.
  • A man whose sexual orientation is to men
A man child killed for something he had not a glimmer of understanding.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.
And still I cry for this child, this son, this bright and lively boy that his destroyer fathered.
Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.
I try, but the words on the screen still do not make sense.
Father. Beat. Son. Death.
I refuse to believe that this is human behavior
Father. Son. Death.
And I remain ashamed of being a man.
Father. Death.
I ask myself again, how can the progenitor be the executioner?

Beat. Death.
Beat. Death.
Beat. Death.

A Favorite Place


The Kingdom of Lord Kalvan, His Good Queen Rilla and Her Father, King Ptosphes

An Alternate Earth Central Pennsylvania

Piper's knowledge of these hills is so good that one can read the novel and trace the action on the ground. I have spent many wonderful hours following Lord Kalvan on his adventures through central PA.

Happy Birthday


Blogger, bookseller, curmudgeon, geographer, poet, science fiction fan

  • Penn State Science Fiction Society (1969)
  • Zen Druid Lunatics (1974)
  • Central PA Science Fiction Association (1976)
  • Twice Told Tales Bookshop (1984)
  • Seven Mountains Books (1993)
  • Webster's Bookstore Cafe (1999)
  • Wordstock, A Festival of Language (2001)
  • Committee to Defenestrate the President (2004)
  • Holy Fool Press (2005)
  • Chief Book and Wattle Cosher, CPaSFA Alumni Association
  • Convenor, Spring Creek Slammers poetry group
  • Roommate of HRH, The Lady Xanthippe, Feline Ruler of the Universe

  • Player of ashikos, djembes and other hand percussion
  • Amateur chef and professional eater
  • Lover of all things hop flavored
  • Friend to all dogs
  • Servant to all cats
  • Loyal to friends, Kind to strangers and Unforgiving of idiots

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A Favorite Place


Created by Lewis Carroll
Home of The White Rabbit, The Red Queen and the immortal Mad Hatter

Poem of the Day

Sweet Dancer by William Butler Yeats

THE girl goes dancing there
On the leaf-sown, new-mown, smooth
Grass plot of the garden;
Escaped from bitter youth,
Escaped out of her crowd,
Or out of her black cloud.
Ah, dancer, ah, sweet dancer.!

If strange men come from the house
To lead her away, do not say
That she is happy being crazy;
Lead them gently astray;
Let her finish her dance,
Let her finish her dance.
Ah, dancer, ah, sweet dancer.!

Happy Birthday

Ginger Rogers

One of my secret loves

Beautiful, the picture of grace with a heart of gold and a hearty laugh

Oscar winning actress (Best Actress for Kitty Foyle)

An extremely talented dancer who was often partnered with the legendary Fred Astaire in some of Hollywood’s best musicals, most notably, “Top Hat” (1935), “Roberta” (1935), “Swing Time” (1936), “Follow The Fleet” (1936), “Shall We Dance” (1937) & “Carefree” (1938).

Friday, July 15, 2005

Late Friday Cat Blogging

The Eyes of Xanthippe

Why did the blogger feel like he was constantly under observation by an intellect cold, vast, and indifferent?

Was it just the result of his natural paranoia or was it a mindset deliberately induced by a sinister new DeptHomeSec campaign?

He will never know, but you can find out the shocking truth.

You must see the Eyes of Xanthippe.

Coming soon to a screen near you!

Happy Birthday

( July 15, 1606, .--Oct. 4, 1669, )

Dutch painter, draftsman, and etcher of the 17th century

He was a master of light and shadow whose paintings, drawings, and etchings made him a giant in the history of art.

Poem of the Day

Knoxville Tennessee by Nikki Giovanni

I always like summer
you can eat fresh corn
From daddy's garden
And okra
And greens
And cabbage
And lots of
And buttermilk
And homemade ice-cream
At the church picnic
And listen to
Gospel music
At the church
And go to the mountains with
Your grandmother
And go barefooted
And be warm
All the time
Not only when you go to bed
And sleep

A Favorite Place

Independence Hall
Philadelphia, PA

My country's birthplace.
Part of the most historic square mile in America

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I Am Profoundly Shaken By This.

from DED space:

Man suspects toddler of being gay and beats him to death

Obviously upset over the gains made by North Carolina and other states in the "sick right-wing monsters" category, Florida now brings us a man who killed his three-year-old son by forcing him to box, repeatedly hitting him in the head, and physically punishing him if he vomited from the torture.

The Tampa father forced his son to box because he thought the boy might be gay.

It comes as no surprise that the Florida Department of Children and Families had already placed the boy in protective custody once, but then had sent him home. The father has been charged with capital murder and the mother has been charged with felony child neglect.

It should be noted that the Tampa police did not question the parents separately until it was too late. What kind of idiot police department, when it suspects child abuse, interviews the parents together? Unfortunately, the incompetent police officers will probably get off without even a wrist slap. As for the Florida Department of Children and Families, which is known for its incompetence--why didn't its staff interview the parents separately? I don't have enough evidence to say for sure that the department was negligent, but it certainly looks that way.

I hope all of the Dobsons and Falwells are happy with the brightly burning flames of the fires they have stoked in America.

comment from --handdrummer-:

I'm still trying to grasp what these words say.

A FATHER BEAT his three year old SON to DEATH because he thought he might be GAY.

The words still don't parse even when I type them myself.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Gay.

I cry for this child and know that it means nothing.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Gay.

How can this be counted as human behaviour?

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Gay.

I am so ashamed of being human.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Gay.

Father. Beat. Son. Death.

Father. Son. Death.

Father. Death.


A Favorite Place

Ben Loyal
Sutherland and Ross, Scotland

My namesake mountain which named in turn my Great-Grandfather Findlay and my Grandfather Spang and then me.

A place of glorious isolation and brilliant color and a true claimant for my soul.

Poem of the Day

A Night-Piece by William Wordsworth

------The sky is overcast
With a continuous cloud of texture close,
Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon,
Which through that veil is indistinctly seen,
A dull, contracted circle, yielding light
So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls,
Chequering the ground--from rock, plant, tree, or tower.
At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam
Startles the pensive traveller while he treads
His lonesome path, with unobserving eye
Bent earthwards; he looks up--the clouds are split
Asunder,--and above his head he sees
The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There, in a black-blue vault she sails along,
Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small
And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives: how fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not!--the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent;--still they roll along
Immeasurably distant; and the vault,
Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds,
Still deepens its unfathomable depth.
At length the Vision closes; and the mind,
Not undisturbed by the delight it feels,
Which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.

Happy Birthday

Woody Guthrie
Singer, Songwriter, Poet,
Chronicler of a Generation

"This Land is your Land, This Land is My Land, From California to the New York island"

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Favorite Place

Alan Seeger Natural Area

A place of serenity about 20 minutes from my house. Original growth hemlocks, 20+ foot high rhododendron and the best preserved black oak forest remaining in Pennsylvania.

A hikers' and seekers' delight.

Poem of the Day

The house was quiet and the world was calm. by
Wallace Stevens

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Happy Birthday

Harrison Ford
(1942- )
Actor, Carpenter, Nice Guy
Creator of Indiana Jones, Richard Kimball, and Bob Falfa

"Dammit, this is just another one of life's useless experiences!"

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Favorite Place

Tom Tudek Memorial Park
My backyard
This fabulous open ground is literally at my backdoor.

Poem of the Day

Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Happy Birthday

Pablo Neruda

In English, his words light up our hearts. In Spanish, they set fire to the page.

Monday, July 11, 2005


from the always brilliant Heretik:


Time Reporter MATT COOPER Sounds Like a Pledge at the Stupid White House Fraternity
in the latest revelations in the VALERIE PLAME affair. Young Matt Cooper wants to make the grade on his journalism class at the Cool College and he has a real just terrif tale to tell about terror and this hot coed married to some kid named WILSON, but Matt Cooper wants to be part of the White House Fraternity first and foremost so he can still go to all the White House Press Briefings frat parties. What a strange initiation and entry we have into how the Animal White House works. NEWSWEEK has more in its latest issue.

"Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation ..." Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, "please don't source this to rove or even WH [White House]" . . . . "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name," Rove told CNN last year . . . . Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"—CIA Director George Tenet—or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip."[NEWSWEEK]

Did the Frat Boy President George Bush know about what the BOY GENIUS Pledge Master Rove was doing? And does he care? Why doesn’t the Frat Boy President care about what happened to that undercover sorority sister Valerie Plame?

SOME MORE NOTES: DOUBLE SUPER SECRET BACKGROUND? Don't source to Rove or even White House? Got a big warning? Matt Miller sounds like he wanted to tell a story, but more than that he did exactly as he was told to do. This is what passes for journalism today. Spoke to Rove for about two minutes? Rove works quite efficiently when he turns someone's life upside down. Rove may have that same feeling himself soon enough. (more)

Poem of the Day

Metric Figure by William Carlos Williams

There is a bird in the poplars!
It is the sun!
The leaves are little yellow fish
swimming in the river.
The bird skims above them,
day is on his wings.
It is he that is making
the great gleam among the poplars!
It is his singing
outshines the noise
of leaves clashing in the wind.

Happy Birthday

E.B. White

July 11, 1889- October 1, 1985

Creator of my little brother Stuart and of my beloved Charlotte
Poet, editor, humorist, and my favorite essayist
I live for the day that something I write is called a pale imitation of E.B. White. That would be high praise indeed!

"One man's Mede is another man's Persian"

Liberals in Klan robes

comment from --handdrummer--
Chris Clarke, who gets my vote as the most articulate writer in the blogosphere, absolutely nails the underlying absurdity/racism/hypocracy in the prevailing attitude that calls on all Muslims everywhere to grovel in apology after an attack by their religion's versions of Randolph Terry, Tim McVeigh, and Eric Rudolph. Be sure to read the comments as well.

from Chris Clarke at Creek Running North:

The truly heinous thing, of course, is the horrendous loss of life taken by terrorists of any stripe, whether they're backpack-bomb-carrying teenagers or bomber pilots in billion-dollar planes.

But there's a subsidiary annoyance that gnaws at me increasingly: the demand when a bomb goes off - unless it's one of ours - that all Muslims drop whatever they're doing and condemn violence by Islamic extremists.

Are you white? Or male? Raise your hand if you've formally condemned the actions of Eric Rudolph. I know I haven't gotten around to it, and Rudolph's actions disgust me to the point that I'd find it hard to turn down an offer to compact his septum with a coal shovel. I have lived with Becky for 16 years, and she's Asian, and yet I haven't once heard her formally denounce Aum Shinrikyo's 1995 poison gas attack on the Tokyo subway.

We have been granted the courtesy, by society at large, of the assumption that we abhor acts of mass murder.

But mainstream liberals and racist reactionaries alike have no problem demanding ritualistic condemnations and apologies from Muslims when an extremist splinter of that massive, mindbogglingly diverse religion commits mass murder. And I have to say I expect it from the reactionaries. But I'm naive enough to be stunned when people who claim to be liberals trot out arguments that closely parallel demands for black obeisance issued by the likes of the White Citizens Councils.

And when such people - like the truly execrable "Jen," whose rantings are displayed in the first of those links above - are presented with evidence that prominent Muslim clerics have in fact denounced the murders, and floridly, that somehow isn't enough. The Jens of the world want Muslims to fine-tune their public statements painstakingly, carefully watching to see if they are being obsequious enough. "Dance, Muslim monkeys, dance! The purpose of your public life is to satisfy my desires!"(more)

A Favorite Place

The National Aviary, Pittsburgh

Those who know me well might be surprised that I would have anything bird related as a favorite place. I have been intensely phobic of birds ever since an incident at age 4 involving me, a bucket of feed and 30 or so VERY hungry chickens. Let's just say, you shouldn't throw the feed on your feet, OK? Especially when you're not much taller than the hens to begin with. My grandfather heard my cries of terror and rescued me.

So you might expect that my fondness for the Aviary has to do with something other than the fact that much of the exhibit is a free fly zone for the birds kept there. You would be right.

I was quite ill during 8th grade and missed many school days. The authorities, fearing for my education I suppose, determined that I be sent to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh for tests and evaluation. So I was loaded on a bus in Clarion and sent off to my testing at the hospital.

My Father was taking some classes at one of the Pittsburgh universities to qualify for a promotion with the union he worked for. And since the roads in the early 60's left a lot to be desired, he was staying in a rooming house in Pittsburgh rather than making the 3+ hour drive each day. I was not exactly what you would call well travelled at that point in my life and at 8am I arrived in Pittsburgh a total nervous wreck, absolutely convinced my Father didn't know I was coming and that I would be trapped in the bus station.

There I was, far away from home, a semi-hysterical kid, scared out of my mind by the crowds of the city and determined in my belief that the doctors in the hospital were going to find out that I was near death.

Of course my Father was late. By the time he arrived, I was cowering in a corner, barely coherent.

He gently calmed me down and took me to the hospital where I spent the rest of the morning in painful and humiliating testing. After having lunch in the hospital caffeteria, we were rather gruffly told by the doctors that I would live. They gave me a huge bag of meds and sent us off.

My Dad then took me on a tour of Pittsburgh. We went to the Cathedral of Learning. We visited Forbes Field, home of my beloved Pirates. We had dinner in a real diner and then walked across a beautiful bridge to the Northside neighborhood where his rooming house was. He knew I loved science and had purchased tickets for the late show at Buhl Planetarium, just a block or so from where he was staying.

Since we had several hours until the show started and there wasn't really a place for us in the shared room in the rooming house, we walked around a bit. My Dad spotted the Aviary and thought it would be a good place to spend the time. Now I was at that point even more terrified of birds than I am today. I didn't exactly go willingly, but he insisted that I would learn a great deal. And he put a lot of emphasis on learning.

So in we went. The public areas of the aviary were constructed in such a way that you followed a path that ran from the entrance to the exit. It was not a simple matter to reverse your trail. I was mostly ok with the smaller exhibits. The birds were caged and I didn't feel threatened by them. And he was right, the exhibits were interesting and I did learn a great deal. But when we entered the tropical free flight cage, I started to panic. About halfway across the big open space, a parrot flew between my Dad and me and I just froze. I was totally unable to move. I could barely even talk I was so frightened.

It took him a few moments to notice that I was having trouble. When he realized that there was a problem, he told me to close my eyes and that he would see me safely across the room. He then put his hand on my shoulder and led me quietly out of the room, never letting on to anyone else that I was in difficulty. He valued my pride enough to not make me visible.

Once outside the cage, we sat and talked until I calmed down a bit. We then continued on past the smaller cages toward the exit. In one of the last cages, there was a mynah bird named 'Groucho'. We stopped to look at him and I said to my Dad that yes, the feathers above his eyes did look like Groucho's eybrows. And my Father laughed. And the bird laughed back at him in exact mimicry of his laugh. My Dad laughed again. The bird laughed back. My Father started laughing uncontrollably. And the bird joined right in. Neither of them could stop because when they tried, the other would start and they'd be off again.

My Father was not what I would call much of a laughter kind of guy. Oh he smiled a lot and had a gentle sense of humor, but laughing out loud happened seldom for him. He always said that his Dad never laughed and seeing photographs of Granddad Ramsey's dour Scot's countenance, I truly believed it.

So seeing my Dad lost in uncontrolled laughter was a new experience for me. Soon, I was laughing so hard I had to sit down on the bench. The tears started flowing from my eyes and my sides ached at the effort of laughter. A small crowd gathered to watch the show. Soon they were all laughing too. And still my Dad and the bird laughed. After about 10 minutes. my Dad finally was able to stop.

As we were walking away, my Dad said "thanks" to the bird and Groucho said "thanks" back in my Dad's voice. My dad smiled and we left to go to the Planetarium.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Poem of the Day

Deportees (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)
Lyrics by Woody Guthrie
Music by Martin Hoffman

The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting
The oranges are piled in their cresote dumps
They're flying you back to the Mexico border
To pay all your money to wade back again

My father's own father, he wanted that river
They took all the money he made in his life
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees
And they rode the truck till they took down and died

Good-bye to my Juan, good-bye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maris
You won't have a name when you ride the big air-plane
And all they will call you will be deportees.

Some of us are illega, and others not wanted
Our work contract's out and we have to move on
But it's six hundred miles to that Mexican border
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like theives.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts
We died in your valleys and died on your plains
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.


A sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos canyon
Like a fireball of lightning, it shook all our hills
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says they are just deportees.

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except deportees?

©1961 (renewed) & 1963 Ludlow Music Inc., New York,NY (TRO)

Happy Birthday

Arlo Guthrie (1947- )
Singer, Songwriter, Humorist, Humanitarian
"You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant (exceptin' Alice)"

A Favorite Place

Ricketts Glen State Park

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Happy Birthday

Nikola Tesla
Scientist, Inventor, Visionary

Poem of the Day

Over the Sea to Skye by Robert Louis Stevenson

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone,
Say, could that lad be I?
Merry of soul, he sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye

Mull was astern, Rum was on port,
Eigg on the starboard bow.
Glory of youth glowed in his soul,
Where is that glory now?

Give me again all that was there,
Give me the sun that shone.
Give me the eyes, give me the soul,
Give me the lad that's gone.

Billow and breeze, islands and seas,
Mountains of rain and sun;
All that was good, all that was fair,
All that was me is gone.

A Favorite Place

Mallaig, Scotland looking out across the Strait of Sleat to the Isle of Skye

Friday, July 08, 2005

We Have Resolve Too

comment from --handdrummer--

These consecutive posts from one of my favorite blogs make a powerful point. Many thanks to them.

from dharma bums:

Sometimes there are too many things competing for our attention. Should we comment on the London bombings? No. Already there have been many voices--ours would only add to the cacophony. We didn't watch but five minutes of the news last night-- enough to see that it was non-stop human interest -- bloodied bodies emerging from tunnels and buses. Just in case you forgot what horror looks like. In case you forgot that news is not news, but repetitive viewings of carnage and violence. Are you afraid yet? Maybe they could run that video just one more time.
So, we turned on the food channel and watched Emeril make delicious-looking Italian breads. One recipe produced two flat breads: one covered with carmelized onions, baby spinach, gorgonzola, and walnuts; one covered with fresh arugala, thinly sliced bresaola, shaved parmesan, and balsamic vinegar. We could do that. We could plan to make bread and not live in that fear.
What will the cost be for turning our attention from global warming, as the G8 summit is about to do? Why are we not afraid of that, the way we fear terrorists? Why do we not weep when we watch the degradation of our planet, while the world's important men sit somewhere with their chits deciding to whom the advantage belongs? The silent bombs tick away in our water, soil, and air.
The winds are fierce today, strong enough to blow down our lavatera. We staked it up and hope it has the strength to endure the storm that is coming. It does not appear to be afraid.

We have the resolve of renegades, such that we are:
The resolve to not live in fear.
The resolve to question our government.
The resolve to demand truth from the media.
The resolve to defend the environment.
The resolve to bake bread and freeze our garden peas.
The resolve to live our lives with compassion.

The Persistence of Plants

a small poppy

the entire plant is a scant 6 inches tall. elsewhere in our yard, in more favorable locations, there are poppy plants 4 feet tall.

the small, lonesome poppy in the midst of a sea of gravel. the picture shows an area about 6 feet on a side

A Favorite Place

Broadway, the greatest street in the world

Poem of the Day

Moccasin Flowers by Mary Oliver

All my life,
so far,
I have loved
more than one thing,

including the mossy hooves
of dreams, including'
the spongy litter
under the tall trees.

In spring
the moccasin flowers
reach for the crackling
lick of the sun

and burn down. Sometimes,
in the shadows,
I see the hazy eyes,
the lamb-lips

of oblivion,
its deep drowse,
and I can imagine a new nothing
in the universe,

the matted leaves splitting
open, revealing
the black planks
of the stairs.

But all my life--sofar--
I have loved best
how the flowers rise
and open, how

the pink lungs of their bodies
enter the fore of the world
and stand there shining
and willing--the one

thing they can do before
they shuffle forward
into the floor of darkness, they
become the trees.


from agitprop:

Uh, Have We Crossed It Yet Dick?

The following excerpt was taken from the comments section at Today in Iraq. It was left by an anonymous comment-dropper:


Cabal of oldsters who won’t listen to outside advice? Check.
No understanding of ethnicities of the many locals? Check.
Imposing country boundaries drawn in Europe, not by the locals? Check.
Unshakable faith in our superior technology? Check.
France secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
Russia secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
China secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
SecDef pushing a conflict the JCS never wanted? Check.
Fear we’ll look bad if we back down now? Check.
Corrupt Texan in the WH? Check.
Land war in Asia? Check.
Right unhappy with outcome of previous war? Check.
Enemy easily moves in/out of neighboring countries? Check.
Soldiers about to be dosed with *our own* chemicals? Check.
Friendly fire problem ignored instead of solved? Check.
Anti-Americanism up sharply in Europe? Check.
B-52 bombers? Check.
Helicopters that clog up on the local dust? Check.
In-fighting among the branches of the military? Check.
Locals that cheer us by day, hate us by night? Check.
Local experts ignored? Check.
Local politicians ignored? Check.
Locals used to conflicts lasting longer than the USA has been a country? Check.
Against advice, Prez won’t raise taxes to pay for war? Check.
Blue water navy ships operating in brown water? Check.
Use of nukes hinted at if things don’t go our way? Check.
Unpopular war? Check.

Vietnam 2, you are cleared to taxi.

. . .

I urge you to read the entire post on which this comment was left. It is a brilliant yet gruesome wrap-up of the events in Iraq during the past two years. Excellent work by Yankee Doodle, Friendly Fire and Matt from Today in Iraq.

Comments from --handdrummer --
Ahh, hell, when will I admit the truth that once again we're losing a war because those of us on the left don't ever clap hard enough for Tinkerbell?

Mr. Sensitivity Strikes Again

from Media Matters for America via DED space:

During Fox News' coverage of the July 7 London bombings, Washington managing editor Brit Hume told host Shepard Smith that his "first thought," when he "heard there had been this attack" and saw the low futures market, was "Hmmm, time to buy." Smith had asked Hume to comment on the lack of a negative U.S. stock market reaction to the London attacks.

From Fox News' July 7 breaking news coverage between 1 and 2 p.m. ET:

SMITH: Some of the things you might expect to happen, for instance, a drop in the stock market and some degree of uncertainty across this country -- none of that really seen today, and I wonder if the timing of it -- that it happened in the middle of the night and we were able to get a sense of the grander scheme of things -- wasn't helpful in all this.

HUME: Well, maybe. The other thing is, of course, people have -- you know, the market was down. It was down yesterday, and you know, you may have had some bargain-hunting going on. I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, "Hmmm, time to buy." Others may have thought that as well. But you never know about the markets. But obviously, if the markets had behaved badly, that would obviously add to people's sense of alarm about it. But there has been a lot of reassurance coming, particularly in the way that -- partly in the way the Brits handled all this, but also in the way that officials here handled it. There seems to be no great fear that something like that is going to happen here, although there's no indication that we here had any advance warning.

Comment from -- havana gila--
Once an ass always an ass. Unbelievable. And Faux News expects us to trust everything that comes out of his warbling piehole.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


And so begins the blowback from our stupidity in Iraq.

Commentary from the blogosphere about the latest cowardly attack in London.:

from Billmon:
The cold blooded murder of Londoners is no more horrifying than the murder or New Yorkers or Madrilenos -- or Baghdadis. But today's target still has a special hold over my emotions. If your mother tongue is English, and you loved stories as much as I did as a child, then London is the city of your imagination, of Mary Poppins and David Copperfield, of London-bridge-is-falling-down and the prince and the pauper. And if you've been there, and visited the places you dreamed about as a boy, and ridden the tube to Picadilly Circus, and climbed the stairs of the Tower of London, and strolled through Hyde Park in the morning fog, then what happened today hurts more than maybe it should, logically. (more)
from Agitprop:

A Moment of Silence

For our friends across the pond . . .


London Thoughts

It's hard to say too much about the London bombings I guess. I have just a few quick thoughts:

1. There is a lot of evil in this world. To talk of these terrorists as anything but horrible horrible people is just offbase. To kill innocent civilians in their home countries is totally unacceptable and just insane. And then of course there's all the innocents that the US and Britain have killed in Iraq. I hear Bush talking this morning about the killing of innocents and I think, are you talking about London or yourself?(more)

from LiveJournal London:

London Incidents July 7, 2005

a rumor control live feed

from CBC News:

Toll rises to 37 dead, 700 injured in London blasts

London police are now confirming that at least 37 people were killed and 700 injured in a series of explosions that ripped through the city's transit system within minutes Thursday morning.

The remnants of a bus that exploded near Tavistock Square, central London, Thursday, July 7. (AP photo).

Scores of people suffered serious or critical injuries such as burns, severed limbs, chest and head injuries from the three explosions that rocked the subway network.

Police said at least two people died from a fourth explosion on a packed double-decker bus. (more)

from Blogfonte:

An attack on one of us is an attack on us all.
Well, goddamnit. Sorry, London.

from Your Village:

Bush Uses London Bombing As Soapbox

In response to the horrible events in London this morning, Bush decided to wax ideological again:
They have such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks. The war on terrorism is on!

I was most impressed with the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve.

We will find them and bring them to justice. And at the same time we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate.
It makes me truly nauseous that US President Bush is using the London bombing as his self-supported soapbox to spew out his own political agenda. His narcissism at comparing the resolve of the world as "strong" as his rather than speaking for himself really underscores the political expediency in filling the swamp with terrorists. Bush is squandering this golden opportunity to unite with the world and is again drawing the line in sand.

From a political standpoint, especially at the G8 summit, this is political ingenuity at its best. From a moral and social standpoint, this is emotional manipulation for political gain at its very worst.



Kos says that the London bombings demonstrate the flaw in the so-called 'flypaper' strategy:

Bush's latest rationale for maintaining the course in Iraq adventure has been the "flypaper strategy" -- it's better to fight the terrorists over there than at home. Nevermind that the Iraqis never asked to have their country turned into a dangerous den of terrorism, insurgency, violence and death. For war supporters looking for an excuse, any excuse, to justify the continued disastrous American presence in Iraq, the flypaper rationale was as good as any.

Except that it's not working. The war isn't making the West any safer. In fact, it's creating a whole new class of terrorists. Today it was London. Next time it could easily be the United States. And waging the war in Iraq, rather than make us safer, is further motivating Islamic terrorists to strike at the West.

...There are consequences to the mess in Iraq. And today, we're seeing one of them. Unfortunately, it won't be the last.

Mike the Mad Biologist makes a similar point:
Last night, I was talking to someone who said, "When people say that Bush is doing a good job against terrorism, I want to hear specifically what he's actually done. What has he done other than give speeches?"

The London bombings make one realize just how morally degenerate the attitude of "fighting them over there, so they're not over here" really is. And if you think I'm being inappropriate by bringing up politics and policy, just wait until the Republicans sink their teeth into this. Turd Blossom will do anything at this point...
Is it inappropriate to bring up 'politics'? Maybe, but it also might be necessary. We are still suffering from the reluctance of Democrats (and the media) to ask hard questions in the wake of 9/11, thus allowing the Right to 'frame' the event - and the response to it - for all time. Basically, Dems foolishly assumed that their goodwill would be matched from the other side of the aisle, that the GOP wouldn't politicize 9/11 if they didn't. Wrong.

Of course, the impact of the London bombings won't be as severe as that of the attack on the WTC. So we don't need to go crazy worrying about the political fallout. But unfortunately, the Right has created an atmosphere where we cannot simply put politics aside.

UPDATE: See what I mean?

A Favorite Place

Cathedral Grove in Cook Forest State Park in western PA is about 10 miles from the farm I grew up on. It is a place of majesty and wonder. A most holy place.

Poem of the Day

A Theory Of Prosody by Philip Levine

When Nellie, my old pussy
cat, was still in her prime,
she would sit behind me
as I wrote, and when the line
got too long she'd reach
one sudden black foreleg down
and paw at the moving hand,
the offensive one. The first
time she drew blood I learned
it was poetic to end
a line anywhere to keep her
quiet. After all, many morn-
ings she'd gotten to the chair
long before I was even up.
Those nights I couldn't sleep
she'd come and sit in my lap
to calm me. So I figured
I owed her the short cat line.
She's dead now almost nine years,
and before that there was one
during which she faked attention
and I faked obedience.
Isn't that what it's about--
pretending there's an alert cat
who leaves nothing to chance.

“Suspended Animation”

from Kolchak:

It could’ve been a funeral, but it felt like a reunion instead.

For the last few months the James A. Michener Art Museum in suburban Philadelphia has been featuring “That’s All Folks,” an exhibit of original art used in Warner Brothers cartoons.

Between the belief that computer-generated imagery (CGI) is going to supplant traditional animation and the tendency to make cartoons simply to promote toys, I wasn’t sure how much interest Bugs Bunny and company would generate. The last attempt to highlight Bugs, Daffy Duck and the others -- Looney Tunes:Back In Action-- was better than many critics made itout to be, but it didn’t make any real impact at the box office.

As it turns out, there was nothing to be concerned about. There was interest in the exhibit, and that interest was in the best place possible. The exhibit itself consisted of over 160 pieces, including such drool-producing items as background paintings from “Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century” and a model sheet from “Coal Black and the Sebben Dwarfs,” a notorious cartoon that it is rarely seen today, because of its extreme use of racial stereotypes.

Most of the interest though seemed to be centered on a television running the cartoons produced from these components. Both children and adults were laughing at the antics of Bugs and his posse.

What keeps the Warner Brothers cartoons fresh? According to Eric Goldberg, one reason is the well-defined personalities of the characters. Goldberg, who was the animation director for “Back In Action” and animator for the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, made these comments at a panel discussion called “The Legacy of Warner Bros. Cartoons” at the museum.

Bugs and Daffy have been developed through roughly 30 years of stories, Goldberg said, but even characters who appeared only a few times are memorable. He noted that the Tasmanian Devil appears in only five theatrical cartoons. In addition, Goldberg said, Bugs and Daffy are archetypal characters. Bugs is the Trickster, with the ability to extricate himself from tough situations through fast-talking and crossdressing. Daffy is Everyman, with his ambitions constantly frustrated.

Warner Brothers cartoons are hard to find on television these days, and when you do, they’re usually edited, to one degree or another. However, the Looney Tunes Golden Collection contains the original versions of nearly all the toons that are considered classic. There are two volumes in the series, on DVD.When I went to the exhibit, and put together this article, I started thinking about my favorite Looney Tunes. Finding the titles I wanted was a little harder than I expected.

Toons were remade and bits were recycled, so the first time I encountered a story may not have been the first time it appeared. Still, here are a few of my choices which, by happy coincidence, are on the “Golden Collection” sets:

  • Duck Amuck” -- Warner Brothers characters regularly talk directly to the audience and acknowledge that they’re in a “picture.” “Duck Amuck,” however, takes that idea to the limit, as Daffy runs, sorry...of an animator who gives him a new shape--and a new reality--every few seconds. This one is almost a perfect match of main character and subject. Director Chuck Jones re-made this cartoon as “Rabbit Rampage,” with Bugs in the starring role, but it’s simply not as funny.

  • Hair-Raising Hare”-- An Evil Scientist lures Bugs to his castle, with the intention of feeding the rabbit to his monster. The monster--who looks like a orange haystack with arms and tennis shoes--chases Bugs around the castle, but all he gets for his trouble is a nice manicure. This cartoon is one of the best examples of Bugs as fast-talking scam artist, throwing trick after trick at the monster without a pause. There’s no cross-dressing per se in “Hair-Raising Hare,” but Bugs does assume an effeminate persona while giving the monster his manicure. (“I bet you monsters lead such interesting lives.”)

  • Porky In Wackyland”-- Even the notoriously fluid laws of cartoon physics go out the window in this one, as Porky searches for the elusive Do-Do Bird. This cartoon is filled with visual non-sequiturs, like a rabbit sitting on a swing that’s attached to his own ears. “Wackyland” provides an example of how the Warner Brothers animators reused ideas. It was produced in black-and-white, but a color version, called “Dough for the Do-Do” was produced roughly 10 years later. The title card on one of these toons had a drawing of Dali-esque melting watches, hanging on a clothesline, but I haven’t been able to determine which one used it, or if both did.

  • Rabbit of Seville, The” -- This is one of two Warner Brothers cartoons inspired by famous operas. “What’s Opera, Doc?,” the other one in this pair, is probably better regarded by critics, but I’m going to put “The Rabbit of Seville” on this list because I think it’s funnier, and the animators seem less impressed by the fact that they’re using operatic music.

  • Rabbit Seasoning”-- There are lots of cartoons that feature Elmer Fudd hunting Bugs Bunny, but only three in which Bugs and Daffy try to manipulate Elmer intoshooting the other one. (Hardcore fans sometimes refer to these cartoons as the Hunters Trilogy. Yes, really.) This one includes a funny cross-dressing sequence, and a piece of verbal humor that deserves to be ranked with classic comedy routines like Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First.” (It’s the bit that starts with the question “Do you want to shoot me now, or wait ‘til you get home?”). “Rabbit Seasoning” was written by Michael Maltese and directed by Jones.

And here’s a favorite that apparently didn’t make it into the Golden Collection:
  • Falling Hare”-- Bugs Bunny encounters the Gremlin, in this World War II offering,directed by Bob Clampett (who went on to create Beany & Cecil). Bugs and the Gremlin perform some real mayhem on each other, but this is still a good example a wartime cartoon, with lightning-fast pacing.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Favorite Place

Tussey Mountain looking across Nittany Valley toward Bald Eagle Ridge
(Update: Thanks for the spelling correction, Mitch.)

Poem of the Day

here's to opening and upward, to leaf and to sap
and to your(in my arms flowering so new)
self whose eyes smell of the sound of rain

and here's to silent certainly mountains;and to
a disappearing poet of always,snow
and to morning;and to morning's beautiful friend
twilight(and a first dream called ocean)and

let must or if be damned with whomever's afraid
down with ought with because with every brain
which thinks it thinks,nor dares to feel(but up
with joy;and up with laughing and drunkenness)

here's to one undiscoverable guess
of whose mad skill each world of blood is made
(whose fatal songs are moving in the moon

ee cummings

happy 70th birthday!

Posted by Picasa

may you keep speaking about practicing loving kindness for many more years to come...

"our prime purpose in this life is to help others. and if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."

""my religion is very simple. my religion is kindness."

"love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. without them humanity cannot survive."

"today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life."


from skippy the bush kangaroo

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