Friday, April 21, 2006
You're like a scorpion, my brother,
you live in cowardly darkness
like a scorpion.
You're like a sparrow, my brother,
always in a sparrow's flutter.
You're like a clam, my brother,
closed like a clam, content,
And you're frightening, my brother,
like the mouth of an extinct volcano.
unfortunately, you number millions.
You're like a sheep, my brother:
when the cloaked drover raises his stick,
you quickly join the flock
and run, almost proudly, to the slaughterhouse.
I mean you're strangest creature on earth--
even stranger than the fish
that couldn't see the ocean for the water.
And the oppression in this world
is thanks to you.
And if we're hungry, tired, covered with blood,
and still being crushed like grapes for our wine,
the fault is yours--
I can hardly bring myself to say it,
but most of the fault, my dear brother, is yours.
Trans. by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk (1993)
Reigned as Empress of Russia for more than three decades
The epitome of the "enlightened despot"
(sorry, couldn't resist.)
(1838 – 1914)
Scottish-American environmentalist, naturalist, explorer, writer, inventor, and geologist
The spiritual father of the modern conservation movement.
(1915 – 2001)
Mexican-American actor, painter, and writer.
He is best known for his performance in Zorba the Greek.
He showed us how to live the full catastrophe!
American screenwriter, movie director, and performer
One of the funniest people alive.
UNOSAT is a United Nations initiative that seeks to provide satellite imagery and mapping products to the humanitarian community. To access satellite imagery users need to be part of “an active member organization”- that is, an organization that is part of the U. N. system or one that is working in accordance to U. N. policies.
Some maps are created and made freely available, usually in response to a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis. Recent examples include maps of the area around Mount Merapi, a currently smouldering volcano in Indonesia, piracy around the Horn of Africa and maps of Lorestan Province in Iran, site of a recent earthquake.
Simple Instructions for the Perfect Friday in Pennsylvania
Directory for the Pennyslvania House of Representatives.
Locate your rep, pick up the phone and call him or her.
Tell your Rep to oppose the passage of HB 2381 (The Marriage Protection Amendment) or they will lose your vote forever! Tell them to focus on the real priorities of Pennsylvania, not the hate of a fringe group bent on erasing the seperation of church and state.
Oh...And tell your friends.
Copy and past the link and tell everyone!
The vote is on Monday, April 24th.
Enjoy your Friday!
Bad news for Michael S. Steele, the leading Maryland Republican candidate for Senate in November: The scuttling noise he hears on Election Day could be the sound of tens of thousands of white Republicans crossing over to vote for the Democrat.
In fact, white Republicans nationally are 25 percentage points more likely on average to vote for the Democratic senatorial candidate when the GOP hopeful is black, says economist Ebonya Washington of Yale University in a forthcoming article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. White independents are similarly inclined to vote for the white Democrat when there's a black Republican running, according to her study of congressional and gubernatorial voting patterns between 1982 and 2000, including five Senate races (more)
I admit to thinking that Rendell should be re-elected, entirely on the merits of the job he's been doing, but winning because a bunch of bigots won't vote for an African American sticks in my craw.
There's a great bit of animation with article. Real Sensawonda Stuff.
According to Einstein's math, when two massive black holes merge, all of space jiggles like a bowl of Jell-O as gravitational waves race out from the collision at light speed.
The beauty of this system is that it uses 25 year old technology and works quite well. So much for the myth that says you can't depend on solar power for heating in the NorthEast.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Lionel Leo Hampton
(1908 – 2002)
jazz percussionist and vibraphone virtuoso
The very essence of utterly smooth
and the person whom I most wanted to be when I grew up.
It is also Adolph Hitler's birthday.
The thought of him burning for eternity in Hell is one of the few reasons I have for wishing there truly was an afterlife.
from Rolling Stone:
One of America's leading historians assesses George W. Bush
From time to time, after hours, I kick back with my colleagues at Princeton to argue idly about which president really was the worst of them all. For years, these perennial debates have largely focused on the same handful of chief executives whom national polls of historians, from across the ideological and political spectrum, routinely cite as the bottom of the presidential barrel. Was the lousiest James Buchanan, who, confronted with Southern secession in 1860, dithered to a degree that, as his most recent biographer has said, probably amounted to disloyalty -- and who handed to his successor, Abraham Lincoln, a nation already torn asunder? Was it Lincoln's successor, Andrew Johnson, who actively sided with former Confederates and undermined Reconstruction? What about the amiably incompetent Warren G. Harding, whose administration was fabulously corrupt? Or, though he has his defenders, Herbert Hoover, who tried some reforms but remained imprisoned in his own outmoded individualist ethic and collapsed under the weight of the stock-market crash of 1929 and the Depression's onset? The younger historians always put in a word for Richard M. Nixon, the only American president forced to resign from office.
Now, though, George W. Bush is in serious contention for the title of worst ever. In early 2004, an informal survey of 415 historians conducted by the nonpartisan History News Network found that eighty-one percent considered the Bush administration a "failure." Among those who called Bush a success, many gave the president high marks only for his ability to mobilize public support and get Congress to go along with what one historian called the administration's "pursuit of disastrous policies." In fact, roughly one in ten of those who called Bush a success was being facetious, rating him only as the best president since Bill Clinton -- a category in which Bush is the only contestant.
The lopsided decision of historians should give everyone pause. Contrary to popular stereotypes, historians are generally a cautious bunch. We assess the past from widely divergent points of view and are deeply concerned about being viewed as fair and accurate by our colleagues. When we make historical judgments, we are acting not as voters or even pundits, but as scholars who must evaluate all the evidence, good, bad or indifferent. Separate surveys, conducted by those perceived as conservatives as well as liberals, show remarkable unanimity about who the best and worst presidents have been. (more)
from Absolute Write Water Cooler:
A list of the 20 agents about which Writer Beware has received the greatest number of advisories/complaints during the past several years.
Flarf Festival April 20-22 at Medicine Show in NYC:
THREE NIGHTS OF FLARF
INAPPROPRIATE EXPLORATION IN 21st CENTURY ART
April 20-22, 2006, Medicine Show, 549 West 52nd Street, NYC.
$8.00 per evening, general admission. $20.00 for 3 evening pass.
For tickets: 212-262-4216 and leave message. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
British musician, actor and comedian
he did his best work during the 1960's in partnership with Peter Cook.
English actor, vocalist and composer
Best known for his role as mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show,
he is currently appearing as King Arthur in the Broadway production of Spamelot
My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.
Some day I'll join him right there,
but now he's gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I'll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.
Ai, I'll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.
No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he'd keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.
Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea's movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean's spray.
Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.
There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don't now and never did lie to each other.
So now he's gone and I buried him,
and that's all there is to it.
Translated, from the Spanish, by Alfred Yankauer
For my beloved Laika, dead now these 13 years. Remember my promise. I'll meet you there when I can.
Najash rionegrina, a snake with legs
The results are pretty grim.
So I think it's time to put my mouth where my money is, I guess. Years ago I foreswore drivng as a contribution to a better environment. In as much as I fulminate regularly about the coming global climate change on this blog and elsewhere, it now looks like I must give up meat as well.
I'll write from time to time on my struggle to become less of a carnivore.
from ABC News:
Eating Red Meat Like Driving an SUV?
Can changing your diet really have much of an impact?
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Evolution Of 'Irreducible Complexity' Explained
Using new techniques for resurrecting ancient genes, scientists have for the first time reconstructed the Darwinian evolution of an apparently "irreducibly complex" molecular system.
Overlying all of this is the sense of being a spectator. It's like watching this sad, slow crumbling of an ancient and beloved landmark building that no one cares to repair. Everyday another piece cracks off and falls to the ground and is swept away to the ashbin by the groundskeeper. The building stoically stands there being buffeted by the forces it cannot see and slowly dissoves away.
But I think I might be coming out of it.
Beware the Jabberwock my friends, It steals slowly and without notice.
And to top it all off, the news out of DC doesn't totally suck bitter lemons for once.
So maybe Miss Dickinson was right. Maybe hope can fly after all.
I'm going to give it a shot, it seems.