Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins (1944-2007)

Thorn in Bush's side

We will miss you, Ms. Molly.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Poem of the Day

Dover Beach by Mathew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Connotation Of Infinity by e e cummings

a connotation of infinity
sharpens the temporal splendor of this night

when souls which have forgot frivolity
in lowliness,noting the fatal flight
of worlds whereto this earth’s a hurled dream

down eager avenues of lifelessness

consider for how much themselves shall gleam,
in the poised radiance of perpetualness.
When what’s in velvet beyond doomed thought

is like a woman amorous to be known;
and man,whose here is alway worse than naught,
feels the tremendous yonder for his own—

on such a night the sea through her blind miles

of crumbling silence seriously smiles

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Poem of the Day

In Mars, What Avatar? by Don Marquis

“In Vishnu-land, what avatar?”

Perchance the dying gods of Earth
Are destined to another birth,
And worn-out creeds regain their worth
In the kindly air of other stars—
What lords of life and light hold sway
In the myriad worlds of the Milky Way?
What avatars in Mars

What Aphrodites from the seas
That lap the plunging Pleiades
Arise to spread afar
The dream that was the soul of Greece?
In Mars, what avatar?

Which hundred moons are wan with love
For dull Endymions?
Which hundred moons hang tranced above
Audacious Ajalons?

What Holy Grail lures errants pale
Through the wastes of yonder star?
What fables sway the Milky Way?
In Mars, what avatar?

When morning skims with crimson wings
Across the meres of Mercury,
What dreaming Memnon wakes and sings
Of miracles on Mercury?
What Christs, what avatars,
Claim Mars?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Poem of the Day

 The Dead Man Walking by Thomas Hardy

They hail me as one living,
But don’t they know
That I have died of late years,
Untombed although?

I am but a shape that stands here,
A pulseless mould,
A pale past picture, screening
Ashes gone cold.

Not at a minute’s warning,
Not in a loud hour,
For me ceased Time’s enchantments
In hall and bower.

There was no tragic transit,
No catch of breath,
When silent seasons inched me
On to this death …

—A Troubadour-youth I rambled
With Life for lyre,
The beats of being raging
In me like fire.

But when I practised eyeing
The goal of men,
It iced me, and I perished
A little then.

When passed my friend, my kinsfolk,
Through the Last Door,
And left me standing bleakly,
I died yet more;

And when my Love’s heart kindled
In hate of me,
Wherefore I knew not, died I
One more degree.

And if when I died fully
I cannot say,
And changed into the corpse-thing
I am to-day,

Yet is it that, though whiling
The time somehow
In walking, talking, smiling,
I live not now.


There she goes... : The McNaught comet is seen early morning from Pucon, Calafquen Lake sector, Chile. (AFP/David Lillo)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Poem of the Day

New Dreams For Old by Cale Young Rice

Is there no voice in the world to come crying,
“New dreams for old!
New for old!”?
Many have long in my heart been lying,
Faded, weary, and cold.
All of them, all, would I give for a new one.
(Is there no seeker
Of dreams that were?)
Nor would I ask if the new were a true one:
Only for new dreams!
New for old!

For I am here, half way of my journey,
Here with the old!
All so old!
And the best heart with death is at tourney,
If naught new it is told.
Will there no voice, then, come—or a vision—
Come with the beauty
That ever blows
Out of the lands that are called Elysian?
I must have new dreams!
New for old!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Via Boing Boing

 Sinister Ducks

Sheep Ringtone

Some people definitely have too much time on their hands.....

My Inner European is Dutch

Your Inner European is Dutch!

Open minded and tolerant.
You're up for just about anything.

Well, I do love Amsterdam a whole lot. Though I remain a Scot in my heart and soul.

Poem of the Day

Alone by Edgar Allan Poe

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I loved—I loved alone—
Thou—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by—
From the thunder and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Edgar Allan Poe
(1809 –1849)

Poet, short story writer, editor, critic

Leader of the American Romantic Movement.

Best known for his tales of the macabre, Poe was one of the early American practitioners of the short story and a progenitor of detective fiction and crime fiction. He is also credited with contributing to the emergent science fiction genre.


from Think Progress:

Yesterday, during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales claimed there is no express right to habeas corpus in the U.S. Constitution.

Gonzales was debating Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) about whether the Supreme Court’s ruling on Guantanamo detainees last year cited the constitutional right to habeas corpus. Gonzales claimed the Court did not cite such a right, then added,

“There is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution.”

Specter pushed back. “Wait a minute. The constitution says you can’t take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion?” Specter told Gonzales, “You may be treading on your interdiction and violating common sense, Mr. Attorney General.” (more)

What mail order law school did this idiot buy his diploma from? Has he never heard of the Magna Carta?

Cheap, safe drug kills most cancers

 from New Scientist:

It sounds almost too good to be true: a cheap and simple drug that kills almost all cancers by switching off their “immortality”. The drug, dichloroacetate (DCA), has already been used for years to treat rare metabolic disorders and so is known to be relatively safe.

It also has no patent, meaning it could be manufactured for a fraction of the cost of newly developed drugs.

Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and his colleagues tested DCA on human cells cultured outside the body and found that it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells, but not healthy cells. Tumours in rats deliberately infected with human cancer also shrank drastically when they were fed DCA-laced water for several weeks. (more)

Poem of the Day

The Mystic by Cale Young Rice

There is a quest that calls me,
In nights when I am lone,
The need to ride where the ways divide
The Known from the Unknown.
I mount what thought is near me
And soon I reach the place,
The tenuous rim where the Seen grows dim
And the Sightless hides its face.

I have ridden the wind,
I have ridden the sea,
I have ridden the moon and stars.
I have set my feet in the stirrup seat
Of a comet coursing Mars.
And everywhere
Thro’ the earth and air
My thought speeds, lightning-shod,
It comes to a place where checking pace
It cries, “Beyond lies God!”

It calls me out of the darkness,
It calls me out of sleep,
“Ride! ride! for you must, to the end of Dust!”
It bids—and on I sweep
To the wide outposts of Being,
Where there is Gulf alone—
And thro’ a Vast that was never passed
I listen for Life’s tone.

I have ridden the wind,
I have ridden the night,
I have ridden the ghosts that flee
From the vaults of death like a chilling breath
Over eternity.
And everywhere
Is the world laid bare—
Ether and star and clod—
Until I wind to its brink and find
But the cry, “Beyond lies God!”

It calls me and ever calls me!
And vainly I reply,
“Fools only ride where the ways divide
What Is from the Whence and Why”!
I’m lifted into the saddle
Of thoughts too strong to tame
And down the deeps and over the steeps
I find—ever the same.

I have ridden the wind,
I have ridden the stars,
I have ridden the force that flies
With far intent thro’ the firmament
And each to each allies.
And everywhere
That a thought may dare
To gallop, mine has trod—
Only to stand at last on the strand
Where just beyond lies God.

Comet McNaught


Comet McNaught is the brightest comet to appear in centuries. 
Only visible in the Southern Hemisphere, this photo gallery compiled by gives us in the North a hint of the beauty.

One more reason I should have immigrated to New Zealand in 2002.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Poem of the Day

 I Wake And Feel The Fell Of Dark, Not Day by Gerard Manley Hopkins

I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hours we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light’s delay.
With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.

I am gall, I am heartburn. God’s most deep decrees
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves, but worse.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Well, this should just about do it....

from MSNBC:

Saudi Arabia believes the Iraqi government is not up to the challenge and has told the United States that it is prepared to move its own forces into Iraq should the violence there degenerate into chaos, a senior U.S. official told NBC News on Tuesday.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal made no effort to mask his skepticism Tuesday about President Bush’s proposal to send 21,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq to stem sectarian fighting.

“We agree with the full objectives set by the new plan,” Saud said at a joint news conference in Riyadh with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is traveling in the region selling Bush’s plan. “We are hoping these objectives can be accomplished, but the means are not in our hands. They are in the hands of the Iraqis themselves.”

But he knows so much more than we do...


From Coherent Babble, this LIST with text of all the signing statements the Resident has used to claim authority to ignore and twist the intent of laws passed by Congress. Complete with annotations.

Frightening. And awe inspiring in its abilty to produce  anger.

Poem of the Day

Absence  by Amy Lowell

My cup is empty to-night,
Cold and dry are its sides,
Chilled by the wind from the open window.
Empty and void, it sparkles white in the moonlight.
The room is filled with the strange scent
Of wistaria blossoms.
They sway in the moon’s radiance
And tap against the wall.
But the cup of my heart is still,
And cold, and empty.

When you come, it brims
Red and trembling with blood,
Heart’s blood for your drinking;
To fill your mouth with love
And the bitter-sweet taste of a soul.

Happy Birthday

Shari Lewis
(1933 – 1998)
Ventriloquist, puppeteer, and children's television show host

The programs featured such characters as Hush Puppy, Charlie Horse, Lamb Chop, and Crowie. Lamb Chop, (pictured here) served as a sort of sassy alter-ego for Shari.

Ms. Lewis may have been my earliest crush. Certainly she is one of the reasons I so much wanted to be a puppeteer.


Latest from the Profound Grasp of the Obvious Department

 from The New York Times:

There are worries that Sunni-Shiite tensions in Iraq could start to balkanize the Middle East.

Ya Think?!?

Climate change moves 'Doomsday Clock' closer to midnight

from BBC:

Experts assessing the dangers posed to civilisation have added climate change to the prospect of nuclear annihilation as the greatest threats to humankind.

As a result, the group has moved the minute hand on its famous "Doomsday Clock" two minutes closer to midnight.

The concept timepiece, devised by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, now stands at five minutes to the hour.

The clock was first featured by the magazine 60 years ago, shortly after the US dropped its A-bombs on Japan.

Not since the darkest days of the Cold War has the Bulletin, which covers global security issues, felt the need to place the minute hand so close to midnight. (more)


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Poem of the Day

Eurydice by H.D.

Why did you turn back,
that hell should be reinhabited
of myself thus
swept into nothingness?

Why did you turn?
why did you glance back?

So you have swept me back—
I who could have walked with the live souls
above the earth.
I who could have slept among the live flowers
at last.

so for your arrogance
and your ruthlessness
I am swept back
where dead lichens drip
dead cinders among moss of ash.

What was it that crossed my face
with the light from yours
and your glance?

What was it you saw in my face—
the light of your own face,
the fire of your own presence?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Poem of the Day

Chicago Poems. 1916. Carl Sandburg

At a Window

GIVE me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!

But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.

Martin Luther King's Other Message

from Jesus' General

...I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:
"Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."


The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.

In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.

There is no  need to point out the obvious, is there?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Robert Anton Wilson

from the San Jose Mercury News

Robert Anton Wilson, author of 'Illuminatus' trilogy, dies at 74

CAPITOLA, Calif. - Robert Anton Wilson, co-author of the cult classic "The Illuminatus! Trilogy," a science-fiction series about a secret global society, has died. He was 74.

Wilson died peacefully of natural causes at his home Thursday in Capitola in Santa Cruz County, his daughter Christina Pearson said Saturday.

Post-polio syndrome had severely weakened Wilson's legs, leading to a fall seven months ago that left him bedridden until his death, Pearson said.

Wilson wrote 35 books on subjects such as extrasensory perception, mental telepathy, metaphysics, paranormal experiences, conspiracy theory, sex, drugs and what he called quantum psychology.


Wilson's Illuminatus books were the main source for the group mythology of my fannish cohort in the late 70's.

Life was frequently  explained by a reference from the books. 

I know I for one will never look at the number 23 in the same light again.

Thanks for the mindfuck, Mr Wilson.

Friday, January 12, 2007

National Delurking Week

Chris at Creek Running North reminds us that it is National Delurking Week. Time to 'fess up folks. If there is anyone out there, please feel free to identify yourself in as much detail as you would like, then curse  us, praise us or laugh in our bloggish faces if you wish. From the visitor logs, I know we have a few regular visitors. Why not say hello?

Oh, but it was never about the oil.....

from Mother Jones:

Big Oil Wins Iraq's Petroleum Resources

The long discussed plan to hand over most of Iraq’s oil assets to big foreign oil companies is about to happen. When people can't figure out what Bush means when he claims victory in Iraq, this is what he is talking about.

According to the Independent, the companies are looking at terrific profit potentials. "The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalized in 1972."

The plan envisions production sharing agreements among the oil companies and the Iraqi government. Such agreements are unusual in the Mideast. The production sharing agreements would run for 30 years with companies taking an initial 75 percent of all profits to cover costs and then 20 percent of all profits. According to the Independent that’s twice the industry average.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

Retirement Gift for El Chimpo?

via the Houston Chronicle:

Flying banana may reach new artistic heights

Artist wants to float 1,000-foot balloon over Texas

The French gave us the Statute of Liberty, Mexico sort of gave us Texas and now Canada wants to give us a giant helium-filled yellow banana.

More specifically, Montreal artist Cesar Saez hopes to send a 1,000-foot long banana dirigible into the southern sky next year to make giant loops over the Lone Star State.

"I want to bring some humor to the Texas sky," said Saez, 38, well known in Quebec for his public works of art.

"It's an artistic statement and a spectacle. One thing I love is the issue of truth or hoax, and I love the ambiguity," said the Argentina-born artist. (more)


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Great News

 From Rep. John Murtha's Blog:

I will be recommending to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense that we begin extensive hearings starting on January 17, 2007 that will address accountability, military readiness, intelligence oversight and the activities of private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We will be demanding substantive answers to questions that have gone unanswered for far too long.

The war in Iraq and its effect on our military and our nation's future remains the most crucial issue facing the new Congress. I will be recommending an aggressive pursuit of action that will allow us to reduce our military presence in Iraq at the soonest practicable date.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Saddam's Dog executed


from Our source, Inside the mind of a Geordie Monkey comes this retraction. Obviously, we retract the story as well.

Saddam Dog Faked
by The Trained Monkey on Thu 04 Jan 2007 08:11 GMT | Permanent Link
I posted a story about Saddam Dog being Executed last week,

I have now found that the story is FAKE.......the picture has been faked 

The photo is found on DOGS DESERVE BETTER website which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to freeing the chained dog, and bringing our ‘best friend’ into the home and family.

warning distressing pictures
the orginal picture is on

the orginal picture is here


They killed his dog.

His DOG?


from Inside the Mind of a Geordie Monkey

Saddam's Dog executed

Shortly after the execution of the dictator Saddam Hussein, his dog Blondi followed the same fate to the gallows. Contrary to Saddam, Blondi’s execution was broadcast live in full length. Some minor complications arose, which dragged out the death struggle to unbearable lengths. Animal activist group PETA has filed a formal complaint to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

warning the link is rather unpleasant. Despite extensive monitoring of iraqi media by the likes of the bbc, they seem to have ignored it.


Pat Robertson Disputed

from the comments at Eschaton:

Great - now my dog is talking in tongues and skooching a pentagram on the floor with her ass. I think the devil is getting ready to rebut Pat.

General Zod


Avedon gets it exactly right.

 from Sideshow:

Digby warns that the Stepford Press is going all-out to tell each other how important it is that Nancy Pelosi rein in the partisanship in Washington. Every time a pundit says something like this, a little bell should go off in your head that says, "I must ask this person immediately how Pelosi is supposed to stop the Republicans from being so viciously partisan."
It wouldn't hurt to start reminding people that "what is partisan" and "what is good for the country" are two different issues, and it is the latter that matters. If the Republicans oppose programs that are good for the country, the Democrats have no choice but to appear "partisan" - because this isn't about being a Democrat, it's about being an American.

She has it right. We CANNOT fall for the BS that disagreeing with The Chimp and his gang of thieves is somehow partisan and expecting us to do everything he wants is not. As I've said before, we need to grab these neocon pukes where the sun don't shine and kick them hard and long. Kick them until they think twice about taking this country to war for profit. To think long and hard before sending our young people to die in some hellhole so the vice president's friends could get a bigger golden parachute. And to think  forever before allowing a sociopathic loser to resolve his issues with his Daddy by playing toy soldiers with real lives.

Never Again.


Garrison Keillor in Salon:
Here we have a slacker son of a powerful patrician father who resolves unconscious Oedipal issues through inappropriate acting-out in foreign countries. Hello? All the king's task forces can gather together the shards of the policy, number them, arrange them, but it never made sense when it was whole and so it makes even less sense now.

American boys in armored jackets and night scopes patrolling the streets of Baghdad are not going to pacify this country, any more than they will convert it to Methodism. They are there to die so that a man in the White House doesn't have to admit that he, George W. Bush, the decider, the one in the cowboy boots, made grievous mistakes. He approved a series of steps that he himself had not the experience or acumen or simple curiosity to question and which had been dumbed down for his benefit, and then he doggedly stuck by them until his approval ratings sank into the swamp.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.

from Bloomberg:

Exxon Mobil's Biggest Oil Spill? Look in Brooklyn, Not Alaska

By Matthew Leising

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- The biggest oil spill Exxon Mobil Corp. has to answer for isn't the cargo that gushed from the Exxon Valdez tanker into Alaska's Prince William Sound. It's the fuel soaked into the ground beneath a working class section of Brooklyn, New York.

The pressure is rising on Exxon Mobil to expand its cleanup of oil that seeped into the soil over many decades in the Greenpoint neighborhood. The New York State attorney general's office is threatening legal action, and two suits in the past year seek billions of dollars for alleged damage to property values and possible health risks. (more)

It's easy to post record profits when other people are paying the real price for the way you do business.

Scum.  Not even worthy to breathe the same air as the rest of us.



What he said......

from MSNBC via Crooks & Liars:

Keith Olbermann  spits in The Chimp's smirk ridden face, removes his pointy little head and hands it back to him. 

A bravura performance that speaks truth to power the way all of us, the media included,  should be doing all the time.

Watch it.

Pass it forward.

Draw strength from it, the time  for direct action may be coming soon .

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My God, What Have We Done?

 from the New York Times:  

A listing, with photos, of the 3000 plus American service personel who have died so far in Iraq.

Do your duty. Call up the dead from your state. Memorize their faces. Salute them for their sacrifice. Do not forget them in the coming years.

From Pennsylvania:

144 lives, 141 men, 3 women. 
Ages 19 to 51. 
Mainly Army. Some Marines. A few Navy.

Mostly they come from small dead or dying ex-industrial burghs scattered all over the state. Strangely, none are from the rich suburbs of Philly or Pittsburgh.

Many of these brave and wonderful people were probably looking for the way out of poverty so gloriously promised by the lying ass recruiters. They didn't live long enough to find those promises turning to ash in their mouths.

And for what in the end? So that a psychopathic narcisistic loser could show the world that his dick was bigger than his Daddy's?

Sadly, there are not many websites large enough to post the pictures of the half a million Iraqis who have died as a result of our "Liberation. 

Not that anyone would make the effort to do so in any case.

It is to weep.